Workers’ Compensation Law Intended to Benefit the Injured Worker

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In South Carolina, our courts have liberally construed the workers’ compensation statutes to assist the backbone of our businesses – the workers themselves. A recent case in the South Carolina Court of Appeals confirms this principle, stating: “The guiding principle undergirding our workers’ compensation system is that the Act is to be liberally construed in favor of the claimant.” (Beckman v. Sysco, Opinion No. 5205).

In the Beckman case, the employee was injured while loading a hand truck. The employee injured his back, buttocks, legs and right foot and was treated for his injuries.   While the employer claimed that the back was the only injury, the employee was able to show otherwise through his own testimony and the testimony of his physician. The Court of Appeals determined that more than one body part was affected and this was extremely important for the employee. This determination moved him from a single listed body part (i.e. the back) and the limited award he could receive under our laws, to a multiple body part injury which allowed him to recover under the loss of earnings capacity portion of our workers’ compensation laws.

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act can be confusing and sometimes difficult to apply to a particular injury.   If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to temporary payments while you are out of work, medical treatment, and compensation for your permanent injuries. Sometimes, having a reputable attorney who can talk to the health care providers and employers can mean all the difference. Having an attorney that knows and understands the law, and who is willing to go to bat for you, allows you to obtain a fair and reasonable outcome.