A benefit provided by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system is out of work pay when an individual is unable to work due to their work injury. This benefit is known as Temporary Total Disability benefits or TTD. You become entitled to this benefit while treating for your work injury when your doctor either writes you out of work completely or more commonly, places restrictions on you that your employer cannot accommodate. Many times an injured worker needs to consider hiring an experienced workers compensation attorney because because the insurance company has not started their checks, is threatening to cut off their checks, or has cut off their checks. This creates a tremendous burden on the worker because, even though the checks have stopped, the bills have not. Sometimes, an insurance company will use other tactics to try and limit your benefits, by paying you less each week than the law says you are entitled. So what are you entitled to receive each week?
How is The Pay Owed Calculated?
Generally, an injured worker is entitled to 2/3 of their Average Weekly wage from the year prior to the accident. For example, let’s say you were injured on July 1, 2014. The insurance company is required to submit what is known as a South Carolina Form 20 to the Workers Compensation Commission that documents your wages before taxes from July 31, 2013 to July 31, 2014. These gross wages are divided by 52 weeks, and your Average Weekly Wage is determined. Your Compensation Rate is the amount you should receive each week from the insurance company and is 2/3 of your Average Weekly Wage.
If you have not been working for your employer for a full year, the insurance company has other ways they can use to determine your compensation rate. They can base your compensation rate on time actually worked, on the wages of a similar employee, or some alternative method that results in a fair weekly amount. The problem for you, the injured worker, is that the insurance company has an interest in paying you less each week as your compensation rate affects the value of the claim.
An experienced workers compensation attorney is able to thoroughly evaluate the Compensation Rate that the insurance company says you deserve, ensure that you are getting the correct amount each week, and, if not, fight to have your weekly benefits increased to the proper amount. Generally, this is done by looking at your wage records provided by your employer, your financial records, and sometimes going to court. Many times, an injured worker is not only entitled an increased weekly benefit amount, they could also be entitled to reimbursement for underpayment of benefits for the weeks they were receiving less than the proper amount.
Sometimes you will need to be represented by an experienced attorney in hearings before an administrative Law Judge and further to the Appellate Courts, that’s why it’s important to seek advice from a qualified attorney.
Here are some important tips to remember if you are injured at work:
- Tell your employer right away.
- Get medical help immediately.
- Be sure an incident report is written and that it states exactly how you were injured and which body parts were injured.
- Keep track of expenses associated with your injury and the number of days you are unable to work.
- NEVER discuss your case on social media websites, such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter.