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Workers’ Compensation Claims: Not Just For Manual Labor

Many people, incorrectly, attribute workers’ compensation claims only to those in dangerous, labor-intensive, manual labor-type occupations. However, the vast majority of employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of the relative level of danger involved in that particular job description. In fact, according to the “rule of thumb” the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission provides, “any employer who regularly employs four or more workers full-time or part-time is required to have workers’ compensation insurance.”

Office Jobs Have Hidden Dangers

Any job has the possibility of dangerous conditions, whether it be spilled liquids, things that can be tripped over, or things that can fall down. Construction employee injuries are often more “cut-and-dry” so to speak, in that it is often clear when someone is working in their official capacity and when they are not. With office jobs, there may be a question of whether something was a “hazard or special condition peculiar to [the employee’s] employment,” as was the concern of a recent South Carolina office worker’s claim.

This recent local case demonstrates the complexities of workers’ compensation law. The woman claiming benefits tripped over a rug at her place of employment, and alleged that she was entitled to benefits for pain in her neck, shoulder, and side that she attributed to the fall. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission initially denied the injured worker benefits, dismissing her argument that since she was at work when the incident occurred she should necessarily be entitled to such benefits.

The Commission initially denied her claim, and the South Carolina Court of Appeals agreed with the Commission. However, on final appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court, the Court ultimately determined that the woman was, indeed, entitled to benefits. The general standard for workers’ compensation claims is that a person is entitled to claims if they were injured during the scope of their employment, that is, they were doing something under the direction of their supervisor or within their typical daily duties at the time they were injured. The South Carolina Supreme Court noted that the lower court and Commission decisions failed to focus on this standard, but rather erroneously questioned whether tripping on the rug was something “peculiar” to that line of work, which, of course, it is not.  Applying the general standard, the Court came upon the rightful conclusion that since she was injured at work, during the scope of her employment, she should be entitled to benefits.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Of course, receiving workers’ compensation benefits is not quite that simple. There are strict reporting laws that have non-negotiable timelines that must be followed to receive compensation under South Carolina law. Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side that is familiar with the ins and outs of the application process can greatly improve your chances of having your application accepted and your benefits dispersed quickly. If you or anyone you know has been injured in a work-related accident, regardless of your line of work, contact the Solomon Law Group’s convenient Columbia, South Carolina office to learn more about your legal rights as an employee.

 

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