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GLOSSARY OF SC WORKER'S COMPENSATION TERMS

Below is a list of commonly used terms in the South Carolina Worker's Compensation claims process. If you have a question about a workers compenstaion term that is not listed here, please contact us, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Accident:
an unlooked for event which is not expected, designed or intentionally caused by the person who suffered the injury. An accident may result in an injury that is sudden or gradual in nature.

Average Weekly Wage: The average weekly wage is based on the injured workers' average gross wages for a week. Average weekly wage is based on gross amount before taxes or deductions. It includes overtime, bonuses and any other benefits received. Your Average Weekly Wage is calculated by taking the total amount you earned during the last fifty-two weeks and dividing this amount of money by the number of weeks you actually worked.

Carrier: The carrier is the person, company or fund that insures the employer. The carrier may refer to the adjustor, the worker's comp insurance company for the employer, or the personal authorized to handle worker's compensation claims, if the employer is self-insured.

Commission: In South Carolina, all worker's compensation claims are handled through the South Carolina Worker's Compensation Commission. The term Commission refers to the entity that handles all administrative and judicial aspects of worker's compensation in South Carolina. The "commission" is analogous to the "court" in civil actions. 

Disability: Incapacity, due to the work injury, to earn the wages which the employee was earning at the time he was injured. Disability means inability to earn the same wages in the job the worker was performing when he was injured, or in any other employment. 

Employee: A person engaged in an employment, including aliens and minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, performing work in the course of the trade, business, profession or occupation of his employer. Employee, in reference to an injured employee or when the employee is dead, also includes his legal representative, dependents and other persons to whom compensation may be payable.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee: For purposes of South Carolina Worker's Compensation, whether or not an employee is actually an independent contractor, is determined based on the right and authority to control and direct the particular work or undertaking of the worker. The Commission looks at four factors to determine whether control existed: 1. Evidence of the right to control the work performed; 2. The method of payment; 3. The furnishing of equipment; 4. The right to fire. If the Commission determines that there was not adequate control of the worker, he is an independent contractor.

Employer: The State of South Carolina an all political subdivision of the state, all public corporations, every person carrying on any employment, and the legal representative of a deceased employer.
Injury: Injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment. Injury for purposes of worker's compensation does not include a disease, except when it results naturally and unavoidable from the accident and except diseases that are compensable under the Worker's Compensation law.

Impairment: An impairment rating is a measure of the amount of function you have lost from the part of your body injured or loss of function of your body as a whole, as a result of the work injury. Doctors give "impairment" ratings. The impairment rating is one of the factors used to determine the overall disability rating, for purposes of settling a worker's compensation claim.

Compensation Rate: The compensation rate is two thirds (2/3) of the Average Weekly Wage. The compensation rate used to determine disability benefits dues to the injured worker while he is unable to work.
Shelly Leeke
South Carolina Injury Lawyer

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