While most people are under the impression that workers’ compensation must be offered by employers, this is not actually the case. South Carolina is one of the 11 states that does not mandate workers’ compensation for every worker in the state. You may be wondering if your job is one where workers’ compensation does not have to be offered, and what your recourse is if something unforeseen happens.
Who Must Offer Workers’ Compensation?
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) states that employers who employ four or more workers, full or part time are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. This applies to almost all employers, but there are exceptions. They include:
- Agricultural workers
- Real estate agents paid in a specific manner
- Employers who had a total annual payroll of $3,000 or less (regardless of the number of workers employed)
If none of these exceptions apply to your business, you must provide coverage, but even if you fall under an exception, you are permitted to purchase it if you wish.
These regulations do hinge upon the definition of employee. In South Carolina, that definition is set out in Title 42-1-130 of the South Carolina Code. In part, it states that an employee is “engaged in an employment under any appointment, contract of hire, or apprenticeship, expressed or implied, oral or written.” In other words, the definition is fairly broad, so if you are uncertain as to whether your employees qualify as such, it is better to err on the side of caution.
What To Do If You Have No Workers’ Compensation?
If your job does not entitle you to workers’ compensation, you do have recourse if you are injured. South Carolina does also have an uninsured employers’ fund, which can be applied to in place of an employer. The process for obtaining benefits can be complex, especially if your employer has willfully ignored their obligation to obtain workers’ compensation insurance instead of being excepted from having to have it, but ultimately you have a good chance to receive appropriate benefits.
South Carolina also law permits personal injury claims brought against your employer in some instances. Normally, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, which bars workers from filing tort claims against their employers unless they can show actual malice (as opposed to mere accident). However, if you do not have workers’ compensation insurance, a personal injury claim may be your best remedy, depending on the situation. Suing one’s employer usually occurs when an employee believes they have been the victim of actions that were reckless or intentional in nature. However, they are also permissible in some instances when an employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance either because of neglect or because they are covered by an exception.
Contact A Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Regardless of your personal situation, if you have been injured at work, it is best to bring in a professional to help smooth out the process of being appropriately compensated. The North Charleston workers’ compensation attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse are experienced and knowledgeable in this field, and we are happy to do all we can to get you what you need. Contact us today for a free consultation.