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South Carolina workers’ compensation law

South Carolina law requires every business with four or more employees to purchase workers' compensation insurance.

Who needs workers’ comp insurance in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, a business with four employees or more is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. That includes full- and part-time employees.

Subcontractors also need to be covered under a general contractor’s policy unless they have their own coverage. In many cases, a general contractor requires subcontractors to carry their own workers’ compensation insurance because that allows the general contractor to remain free from liability if someone is injured.

An independent contractor is anyone who’s working under contract with specific terms, uses their own equipment, establishes their own rates and payment schedule, and manages how and when they work.

Sole proprietors, partners, or members of an LLC are not required to carry coverage for themselves, but they have the option to include themselves. A corporate officer is included in a business’s coverage but is allowed to be excluded if he or she chooses to do so.

What is the average cost of workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina?

Estimated employer costs for workers’ compensation in South Carolina are $1.72 per $100 in covered payroll, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance [PDF]. The Department of Consumer and Business Services for South Carolina says it has the 14th highest average in the nation for workers’ compensation rates.

Like many other states, South Carolina relies on the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for its class codes.

Each employer’s cost for workers’ compensation coverage is based on workers’ compensation class codes, which depend on the work duties performed by their employees. Your workers’ compensation insurance company will determine your cost based on how many employees perform different jobs at your company and their exposure to risk.

Workers’ compensation in South Carolina is regulated by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC).

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What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp insurance in South Carolina?

If an employee becomes hurt on the job and the employer didn’t have the required workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina, the state could take the business assets to cover the cost of a claim.

Workers’ compensation death benefits in South Carolina

If a South Carolina employee dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, death benefits can be awarded to surviving dependents.

Death benefits can include weekly compensation and funds to pay for funeral and burial expenses. In general, survivors can receive two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage for 500 weeks from the date of the injury, in addition to burial expenses up to $2,500.

There are some exceptions to this basic formula. For example, if the deceased worker received workers’ compensation insurance benefits prior to his or her death, it might reduce the amount of benefits available to surviving dependents.

Surviving dependents could include:

  • Spouse
  • Minor child
  • Adult child who is mentally or physically incapable of being self-supporting
  • Adult child who is a full-time student and is less than 23 years old

Individuals in other kinds of relationships to the deceased worker like stepchildren, illegitimate children, and others, might be able to receive benefits if they were dependent upon the deceased.

Workers’ comp settlements in South Carolina

South Carolina offers two types of workers’ compensation settlements:

An agreement and final release, which is also called a “clincher” agreement. This is a full and final release of liability for the employer and its insurance company. It’s usually a lump sum but could also be paid as a structured settlement. In that situation, the employee would receive a guaranteed monthly payout for a fixed period, like an annuity. It’s a legally binding agreement that must be approved by the commissioner, and if the employee’s condition worsens or needs additional treatment, there can be no further claims.

A Form 16A settlement. This type of settlement is for a worker who’s permanently disabled. It pays a specific weekly benefit amount based on the average weekly wage prior to the injury.

Unlike a clincher agreement, a Form 16A would allow the worker to request additional compensation within a year of the last payment if the injury worsens, and it would also cover specific continuing medical expenses.

Workers’ compensation statute of limitations in South Carolina

It’s the employee’s responsibility to notify the employer of an injury as soon as possible, but it must be within 90 days of the injury. The injured employee must file a claim within two years with the WCC.

If the employee fails to notify either the employer or the WCC on time, they forfeit their right to make a claim.

Compare workers’ comp quotes with Insureon

Start a free online application today to compare workers’ compensation insurance quotes for your small business from leading U.S. carriers. Insureon’s licensed agents specialize in insurance for numerous South Carolina businesses.

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