As we’ve said earlier, most workers’ comp settlements are based on a single injury to a single body part, called “scheduled loss.” Basically, most major body parts have a “price tag” value in comp, and settlements are based on the disability caused by your injury—which can be very tricky to determine.
But what if you’re seriously hurt at work, and more than one body part is affected? Believe it or not, the law actually makes sense here. You can qualify for more benefits under South Carolina's "Two-Injury Rule." That includes total disability- which isn't what you think in workers' comp- or wage loss benefits. But because these benefits can be extensive—meaning “expensive for the insurance company”—you should expect the insurance people will fight you over every penny.
How You Qualify For Extra Relief Under The Two-Injury Rule
You can qualify for more benefits if you suffer:
- Multiple scheduled injuries, like breaking an arm and a leg, or
- An injury that impairs another body part.
Simple ain’t easy. Qualifying is pretty simple if you broke both legs. But even then, you need a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to protect your right to maximum income benefits and medical care. Most important, you need a professional to fight against the insurance company short-changing you in the long run.
But other injuries aren’t so simple. Consider a neck injury you suffer at work. Treatment for that might require spinal fusion surgery; unfortunately, the spinal surgery leaves your arms weak. You can bet the insurance company will claim you hurt only your neck. Think they''ll give you the benefit of the doubt because you've been a long-term, loyal employee? Read how hard a 27-year employee had to fight to get benefits.
Think they'll see it's plain as day you've sustained multiple injuries? Sometimes the more injuries you suffer just gives the insurance company more to fight about.
The moral of the story is, to give yourself any shot at recovering for damage to your arms, you’ll need a professional to take on the insurance company to prove your case.
And remember—just because you qualify for the benefits, doesn’t mean you will get them. This is about maximizing your physical and financial recovery from severe injuries that might forever impact your work and your life. The peace of mind attained by having an experienced lawyer on your side is priceless.
Benefits You Can Receive If You Are Hurt in Multiple Places
Additional benefits come in three separate categories:
- Additional money benefits from multiple scheduled injuries. You estimate the disability for each body part based on the doctor’s impairment ratings, then estimate its total impact on you. Again, it's complicated.
- Wage loss benefits. If you can prove your injuries will prevent you from earning the same income you did before, you can qualify for potentially substantial benefits: money to replace some of this lost income plus continuing, free medical care related to your injuries. Be warned, these benefits are hard to get. You’ll need expert testimony from a vocational evaluator to prove you can’t earn the same amount of money.
- Total and permanent disability. Workers’ comp law is strange—earning “total and permanent disability” benefits does not mean you're physically helpless. These are the most extensive benefits available under workers’ comp. They include the maximum possible permanent disability compensation and free medical treatment for life related to your injuries.
The Worse The Workers Comp Injury, The More Help You Need
Let’s face it: it’s just easier for insurance companies to make more money by forcing cheap settlements on severely wounded employees who don’t know any better. Don’t risk being taken advantage of. If you’ve been severely hurt at work, you need a workers’ compensation lawyer to look at your case just as much as you need a qualified doctor to care for your injuries.
If you have questions about your case, you can take advantage of the free information we have on our website or feel free to start an email or live chat right where you are. We will answer your questions without any obligation to hire us. You can meet us for free and we won’t strong-arm you either. Even if we can’t help or we’re not right for each other, we will work to guide you in the right direction for medical and financial security as best the law provides. You can also download our book The Hurt Worker's Toolkit to get valuable information to help you.