No one goes to work expecting life to change forever. As it should, South Carolina workers’ compensation law provides the most benefits for the worst work injuries. While these benefits do not equal the devastation suffered by the worker or his family, they are vital. Here’s who qualifies and what benefits are available.
Injuries Qualifying for Maximum Benefits
Two basic groups qualify:
- Paralysis. This includes paraplegics (who lose the use of their legs) and quadriplegics (who lose use of their arms and legs). And in a 2006 decision, the South Carolina Court of Appeals ruled paralysis need not be complete, in a case involving a diagnosis of incomplete paraplegia.
- Physical brain damage. This requires proof of severe, permanent, and physical brain damage. Because the brain is so complex and severe traumatic brain injuries can be hard to detect by the untrained eye, these cases can be hard to prove. You’ll need a lawyer who can grasp complex medical concepts, who can thoroughly explain the injury’s impact, and who will consult with your doctors and other medical experts to make a convincing case for benefits.
Guaranteed Benefits for Paralysis and Brain Damage
If the injuries are proven, you get these benefits by law:
- Permanent disability compensation for life. For the rest of your life, you get a weekly check for two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Other workers declared permanently and totally disabled are limited to 500 weeks, but not you. However, you cannot receive a settlement in one huge sum. This protects workers from spending it too fast, giving them a reliable source of income for life.
- Free medical care for life, related to your injury. The workers’ compensation insurance company pays for all medical care related to your paralysis or brain damage. This can, quite literally, mean the difference between life and death.
Potential Benefits for Paralysis and Brain Damage
You might also qualify for benefits to accommodate your special needs, but expect a fight over these. When claimants could properly prove their case for these benefits, courts have ordered the insurance company to pay for:
- Help paying for a handicapped-accessible home. Benefits applied towards a new home and paying the costs for necessary handicapped modifications.
- Help paying for a handicapped-equipped van. Benefits applied to pay for part of a van required to get a paralyzed worker around.
- Professional rehab or therapy. An injured worker is may qualify if this treatment helps maintain mobility and muscle tone, or ease pain.
- Home exercise and therapy equipment. For your best chance at getting this approved, it should be prescribed by a doctor.
- Professional home healthcare. These vital services are rendered when you just can’t get out of your home.
- Nonprofessional home healthcare. This could be compensation for the care you get from your own family members who help you round-the-clock due to your debilitation. The Commission can even order them to be compensated by the insurance company.
You Need an Advocate
If you or a family member has suffered any of these injuries, then you’re probably overwhelmed with the permanent change in your lives and the endless hours of labor it takes to cope with the injuries and get to the next doctor or therapy appointment. You don’t have a full-time job—dealing with these profound injuries takes up all your time. There’s almost no way you can devote time to the demands of an insurance company that makes money by shortchanging benefits.
Because these benefits for the gravest injuries also cost the most, you can’t count on the insurance company making it easy. You need someone who’s experienced in these cases, who’s comfortable with medical complexity, and who knows how to present a convincing case to protect your most precious rights to claim the best livelihood and well-being you can—because you won’t have another chance to do it.
If you or a loved one has been paralyzed or suffered permanent brain damage in a work accident in Spartanburg, Union, Gaffney, Greenville, or anywhere in South Carolina, feel free to contact us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841 for a free meeting on how we can begin to build a case for maximum compensation. You can also start a live chat right where you are, or fill in the convenient Contact Us box from this page.