Workers' Compensation Process in South Carolina
An overview of the workers’ compensation claims process in South Carolina, from first notice of injury to the last stage of appeal. (This chart is for informational purposes only.)
A worker suffers an injury in an accident on the job.
The worker gives notice to employer within 90 days of the accident. The notice should be given to an immediate supervisor, foreman, human resources officer, nurse or other designated agent of the employer. The notice should state the time, place, nature and suspected cause of the accident.
The worker gets medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident occurs. The worker must see the doctor chosen by the employer or its workers’ compensation insurer.
After the employer receives notice of the accident (or otherwise has knowledge of it), the employer reports the injury to the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission. The employer (or its workers’ compensation insurer) must file the report form within 10 days of the accident giving rise to the injury.
If the employer accepts the claim, the employee should receive coverage for all medical care and treatment and wage-replacement benefits. There is a seven-day waiting period.
If the employer fails to report the accident, denies the injury by accident or the worker challenges the amount of benefits received, the worker files a claim with the Commission. A Form 50 must be submitted along with a $25 filing fee. The claim must be filed within two years of the date of the accident (or date of death).
The worker (or his or her attorney) attends mediation with the employer or its workers’ compensation insurer. (If a worker has no attorney, the worker will not be required to undergo mediation unless the Commission orders it.) Mediation must be completed within 60 days (or a within a time period set by the parties). The parties may turn to mediation at any point in the process.
If mediation results in an agreement, also called a settlement, the worker should begin receiving the agreed upon benefits, which may include back benefits.
If no agreement is reached through mediation, a hearing will be held before one of seven Commissioners who rotate among the state’s districts. The hearing usually is held in the county where the work accident occurred. The Commissioner will issue a decision on the claim.
If either party disagrees with the hearing outcome, that party will have 14 days from the date of the Commissioner’s decision to file an appeal that will be heard by a three-member Commission panel. A Form 30 must be submitted along with a $150 filing fee.
If either party wishes to appeal the Commission’s award, the notice of appeal must be filed with the proper court within 30 days. If the injury arose prior to July 1, 1997, the appeal would be filed with the Circuit Court. If it arose after that date, the appeal would be filed with the S.C. Court of Appeals.
The last stage in an appeal lies with the South Carolina Supreme Court.