What does workers’ comp cover in South Carolina?
If you’re curious about what workers’ comp covers in South Carolina, you’re reading the right article.
First, you should know that workers’ comp works differently than many other insurance products. It doesn’t have “limits” in the same way that many other coverages do. Instead, all decisions about coverages are decided by the State of South Carolina and enshrined in state law. That means there really aren’t any decisions to make when you purchase a policy (and every workers’ comp insurer is, essentially, selling the same product).
Basically, everything you’re about to read is information for your reference. You won’t be able to change these coverages when you purchase a policy.
Got it? Fantastic. Let’s see what workers’ comp covers.
What does South Carolina workers’ comp cover?
The short version: workers’ comp will pay out for medical expenses, lost wages, and death benefits for an injury or illness that is job-related. If the injury is serious, workers’ comp also covers ongoing medical treatment and job retraining.
How much will your insurance company pay out? The amount is technically unlimited. For example, a worker who becomes paraplegic, quadriplegic, or who suffers from permanent brain damage as a result of a workplace injury might receive benefit payments for a lifetime. And, if the injury meets the criteria laid out by law, the insurer is required to pay those benefits.
Let’s look at this a little closer.
When a team member is injured on the job, workers’ comp steps in to make sure they have the resources they need to be treated. For example, if you own a construction business and one of your employees cuts their arm with a sharp blade, workers’ comp would pay for the cost of treatment and for any necessary rehabilitation. Workers’ comp can also kick in for repetitive use injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Basically, if an employee has a medical problem that is clearly related to their job, workers’ comp will pay for their medical expenses.
Of course, there are some gray areas. For example, South Carolina law specifies that stress, mental injuries, and heart attacks aren’t covered unless there is very clear evidence that they are work-related. Also, if one worker intentionally injured another worker or if the injury was caused by intoxication, workers’ comp won’t apply. (Read South Carolina’s official language on what is and isn’t covered here.)
In South Carolina, workers’ comp will pay out wage benefits if an employee has a temporary or total disability from an accident on the job. The amount and duration of the benefit changes based on the injury, but, in general, workers’ comp will pay an injured employee about 2/3rds of their pre-injury weekly wage while that employee is recovering (or for the rest of the employee’s life, if the injury is very serious).
If the worst happens, workers’ comp can provide a burial allowance of up to $12,000. Surviving dependents may also be eligible for ongoing wage-replacement benefits.