work comp questions

How is the amount of Workers' Compensation I will Received Calculated?

Calculating Average Weekly Wage and Time Missed From Work

How Long is the Waiting Period for Temporary Benefits?

Eight (8) Days. Temporary benefits are payable when an employee has been out of work due to a reported work-related injury or occupational disease for eight (8) days, an employer may start temporary disability payments immediately and may continue these payments for up to one hundred fifty days from the date the injury or disease is reported. The day of injury is the first day of incapacity, unless the injured person receives full pay, then the first day of incapacity is the day following. The benefits are not payable during the first seven (7) calendar days after the disability begins, EXCEPT if the disability lasts for more than fourteen (14) days, compensation is allowed for all lost time. S.C. Code Ann. § 42-9-200.

How is Average Weekly Wage (AWW) Calculated?

Average Weekly Wage (AWW) means the earnings of the injured employee in the employment in which he was working at the time of the injury during the period of fifty-two weeks immediately preceding the date of the injury. S.C. Code Ann § 42-1-40.

Average weekly wage is to be calculated by taking the total wages paid for the last four quarters immediately preceding the quarter in which the injury occurred as reported on the Employment Security Commission's Employer Contribution Reports divided by fifty-two or the actual number of weeks for which wages were paid, whichever is less. S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-40.

If the employee has been employed for such a short period of time that it is impractical to compute the average weekly wage, reference may be had to an employee of the same grade and character employed in the same class of employment in the same locality or community. If the foregoing method of calculation would be unfair to the employer or employee due to exceptional reasons (i.e. a particularly rapid increase in salary, such as a 63% increase in wages in less than 12 months), other methods may be employed to determine what the employee would be earning were it not for the injury. S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-40.

In South Carolina, a Form 20 is used to calculate an employee's average weekly wage. The Form 20 is typically completed by the company's personnel department and forwarded to the adjuster. The adjuster reviews the Form 20 to insure it has been completed correctly and forwards it to the Commission.

The Commission calculates the compensation rate by multiplying the average weekly wage from the Form 20 X .6667. So essentially you will receive two thirds (2/3) of your average weekly wage.

How is Workers' Compensation Calculated if I have Two Jobs?

Generally, when an employee works at concurrent jobs, the employee's wages from his multiple jobs may be combined to compute his average weekly wage under worker's compensation law. Steele v. Self Serve, Inc. 335 S.C. 323, 516 S.E.2d 674 (S.C. App. 1999). The Claimant also has the burden of proving wages earned from jobs other than the one where the accident occurred, for purposes of calculating average weekly wage.

How are Death Benefits Compensated?

Death benefits are set out in S.C. Code Ann. §42-9-290. In order to qualify as a compensable death, the employee's death must "result proximately from the accident," and occur "within two years of the accident or while total disability still continues and within six years after the accident." Id. S.C. Code Ann. § 42-9-290 provides burial expenses of up to $2,500 as well as compensation benefits. The section provides two classes of dependents: (1) wholly dependent and (2) partly dependent. "Weekly compensation benefits must be paid to persons wholly dependent in the amount of sixty-six and two thirds of the decedent's average weekly wages (typically compensation rate), but not less than $75 nor more than the average weekly wage in this state for the proceeding fiscal year, for a period of up to 500 weeks from the date of injury."