The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission was created in 1935 in response to the rising number of accidents on the job.
When an employee is injured on the job, the claim would be compensable as long as the employee is determined to be in the course and scope of his employment or performing his or her job duties. Workers’ Compensation coverage pays for the medical treatment related to the injury. State law is intended to relieve employers of liability from lawsuits involving negligence in exchange for becoming responsible for medical costs and lost wages from on-the-job injuries.
The commission is made up of seven commissioners. They are responsible for reviewing and listening to workers’ compensation cases that involve a difference of opinions between the employee and the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier. Their job challenges them to use their high level of knowledge and experience to reach an appropriate and fair decision in every case, which can be challenging, as the laws governing workers’ compensation are often complex.
The commissioners apply facts of the case to law and apply rules equitably in single and full commission hearings. A single commission hearing is a meeting to discuss disputes of any questionable matters regarding a claim or for determination of permanency awards. A full commission hearing is held to appeal a single commissioner’s ruling.
Single commissioner hearings are held in the commissioner’s assigned territory. Full commission hearings take place in Columbia at the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Commissioners are responsible for reviewing the testimony and supporting documentation of both parties when making their decision on the case.
Commissioners are expected to make timely rulings on the cases they have just heard. In cases involving serious injuries or illness, employees’ ability to get the necessary medical treatment without delay can be important in their chances of having a good recovery.
In addition to hearings, a commissioner may also be involved in the handling of an informal conference with an employee to determine the permanency of an injury, or scarring and disfigurement, that requires an in-person viewing. Hearings and informal conferences are mostly held in the jurisdiction in which the injury occurred.
For more information, visit the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission website.