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South Carolina Workers' Compensation Laws

South Carolina is a haven for beach lovers worldwide. From Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head, visitors and resident alike flock to the picturesque waterfront. But as a local, you know that this state has much more going for it than fair weather recreational activities, including a budding aerospace and transportation industry. If you are injured at work in the Palmetto State, South Carolina workers' compensation laws require your employer to carry coverage to protect you both.

The table and explanations below detail important aspects of South Carolina workers' comp laws.

Statute Section

§ 42-1-10, et seq.

Filing Time Limits

  • Notice to employer: As soon thereafter as possible, up to 90 days (§42-15-20)
  • 2 years to file a claim (§42-15-4)

Benefit Time Limits

§ 42-9-200

  • Waiting Period: 7 days
  • Retroactive after: 14 days

Choice of Doctor

Mental Injury Coverage


Most employers of four or more employees are required to carry workers' comp insurance. Some employees are exempt from this requirement, including agricultural and railroad workers. Most occupational diseases are compensable. However, South Carolina law specifically prohibits coverage of stress, mental injuries, heart attacks, strokes, embolisms, or aneurisms unaccompanied by physical injury where they result from any typical work interaction. For example, mental injuries resulting from disciplinary actions or work evaluations generally are not compensable.


South Carolina offers compensation for necessary medical treatment, indemnity benefits for wages lost due to time away from work, compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement, and vocational rehabilitation. Employers are only required to cover medical treatment administered by the doctor your employer elects, except in case of an emergency. Wage replacement compensation depends on the extent and duration of your disability, but it is based on 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wages, subject to the state-imposed limit (100 percent of the State's average weekly wage).

Finally, vocational rehabilitation is available for employees who, due to disability, are unable to return to their prior occupation.

Dispute Resolution

If your claim is denied in whole or in part, you may file an application for a hearing before the workers' compensation commission 14 days after you report your injury to your employer. At the hearing, you or your attorney will have the opportunity to argue your position. You may offer witnesses to testify, for instance, you may ask your physician to testify to the extent of your disability. Or you may submit exhibits, such as your wage stubs, to evidence your average weekly wages.

If you also disagree with the decision of the hearing commissioner, you or your attorney may appeal that decision. A panel of commissioners will consider your appeal. That decision may also be appealed, this time to a Court of Common Pleas and the State Appellate Courts.

Get Professional Help With Your South Carolina Workers' Comp Claim

Workplace injuries can result in financial hardships -- but your employer is required to carry workers' compensation insurance to protect you both and give you the resources you need to recover. But the no-fault system can be confusing, and some employees mistakenly believe employers must be at fault for employees to recover. If you were injured at work, consider speaking with a South Carolina injury attorney.

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