What is the purpose of Workers’ Compensation?

Mitchell Byrd, Attorney, Carolina Law Group, Greenville, SC
Mitchell K. Byrd, Jr. | Attorney

What is the purpose of workers’ compensation, and who is workers’ compensation insurance for? Workers’ comp provides critical protection for workers here in South Carolina and across the country. Read on to find out what it is, why it exists, and what you should do if your workers’ comp claim is denied in SC.  

Workers’ Compensation in General

Workers’ compensation, often referred to as workers’ comp, is a program that guarantees compensation to workers who are injured or become ill on the job. Depending on the illness or injury, this compensation can cover medical care and prescription drugs, as well as compensation for temporary or permanent disability. It also pays out benefits to the dependents of workers who die on the job.

Each state is in charge of its own workers’ comp program, and the federal government has its own workers’ compensation program for federal employees, meaning that workers’ comp laws vary. (That’s why it’s important to work with a workers’ compensation attorney with experience handling workers’ comp cases in your state.) Though it’s a state-run program, employers are individually responsible to either maintain workers’ compensation insurance to cover them in the event of a claim or, if allowed by state law, self-insure.

What Is the Purpose of Workers’ Compensation?

The purpose of workers’ comp is to ensure that injured and ill workers receive compensation for job-related injuries and illnesses in a timely manner without needing to bring a lawsuit against their employer.

An important aspect of workers’ comp is that it’s a no-fault program. As long as an employee can show their injury occurred during the course of work, or that their illness developed directly as a result of their workplace conditions, they are covered under workers’ comp. They are guaranteed compensation, as determined by law, no matter whose fault it was.

What this means in practical terms is that workers’ comp eliminates the need for costly, time-consuming, and contentious lawsuits. Employees don’t have to sue their employer in order to get compensation – and, in fact, they are barred from doing so in most cases – but can instead rely on the workers’ comp program to provide compensation in a timely manner after an injury or illness. Compare this to typical personal injury lawsuits, where the outcome isn’t guaranteed and the process can take months or even years before the issue is fully resolved. Before workers’ comp became more widespread in the US in the early 1900s, an injured worker’s only recourse was suing their employer, which often didn’t end up in the worker’s favor.

Plus, laws prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who bring workers’ comp claims. (This doesn’t mean they never do, however. If you believe your employer is treating you unfairly because you filed a workers’ comp claim, speak to a lawyer immediately.) This provides additional protection to employees.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation Laws in SC

Workers’ compensation in South Carolina is overseen by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission and is covered in Title 42 of South Carolina Code. These laws clearly define who is covered, what is covered, the amount of compensation available to employees, how long it’s available, and much more.

For instance, SC law sets the rate of compensation for lost wages at 66 2/3% of the injured or ill worker’s average weekly wage, with a maximum allowable rate that changes every year. For 2021, that rate is $903.40 per week. Additional compensation is also given to workers who have sustained disabilities at rates determined by statute. The loss of an index finger, for instance, is compensated at the rate by 66 2/3% of the worker’s average weekly wage for a period of 40 weeks.

Not all workers are covered under workers’ compensation in South Carolina. Certain employers aren’t required to maintain workers’ comp, and certain employees – namely independent contractors – may not be covered. Some injuries and illnesses may not be covered, either. You can read more about the exceptions to workers’ comp coverage in South Carolina here.

If Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Denied, The Carolina Law Group Can Help

Despite the very predictable, regulated nature of workers’ comp in South Carolina, sometimes rightful claims are denied and workers don’t receive the benefits they expect or are entitled to. This can happen for a variety of reasons, from missing the deadline to inform the employer of your injury within 90 days to failure of the employer to file a claim on behalf of the injured worker.

However, a denied workers’ comp claim isn’t the end of the road. The SC Workers’ Comp Commission allows you to file a claim yourself if one wasn’t filed by your employer on your behalf. You can also schedule a hearing to settle disputes between you and your employer.

If your workers’ comp claim has been denied, speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney like the attorneys at The Carolina Law Group.

Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer In South Carolina

There are many good reasons to work with an experienced worker’s comp attorney. Whether your workers’ comp claim has been denied, or you’ve recently been injured and haven’t started the process yet, or you simply want some guidance, contact the workers’ comp lawyers at The Carolina Law Group today. While this may be the first time you’ve ever had to deal with a workers’ comp matter, they have many years of experience navigating the system and can help make sure you get the compensation that’s rightfully yours, as determined by law. Call one of the numbers below to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney to discuss your issue.

The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience including: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).

Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorney’s. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.

Greenville Office
icon-phone 864.312.4444
910 E Washington St
Greenville, SC 29601
Greer Office
icon-phone 864.757.5555
210 W. Poinsett St.
Greer, SC 29650
Spartanburg Office
icon-phone 864.312.4444
1190 Asheville Hwy
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Columbia Office
icon-phone 803.881.1110
824 Meeting St
West Columbia, SC 29619


Mitchell Byrd received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wofford College in 2000. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2004, where he served on the American Bar Association Real Property, Probate, and Trust Journal. He was also an active member of the University of South Carolina Moot Court Bar. Since being sworn into the South Carolina Bar in 2004, Mr. Byrd has focused on litigation, within the criminal justice system as an economics crime prosecutor for the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office and also within the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system.

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