Worker’s Compensation – the pain of suffering

Worker’s Compensation in South Carolina is a no-fault system except in very limited circumstances. A person must be able to prove that an accident happened on the job and caused injury. The worker is then entitled to medical treatment, paid for by the employer through a worker’s compensation insurance carrier, temporary total or temporary partial benefits of 2/3 the worker’s average weekly wage, and an award of money if their is permanent injury.

Many times clients ask about compensation for pain and suffering. Unfortunately, there is none. Worker’s Compensation is basically a trade-off. A worker does not have to prove the injury was caused by the employer or otheer employees, but benefits are limited. There is no compensation for pain and suffering caused by an injury.

However, pain is an important consideration. Persistent pain is an indication of permanent injury. Permanent injury is measured by doctors who determine an impairment rating, and then a Worker’s Compensation Commissioner can consider that rating and other factors in deciding the disability rating, how the injury has affected the worker’s ability to earn wages and function normally. Pain, measured as objectively as possible through tests and exercises and the like, helps indicate the severity of any permanent injury. A worker is not paid for pain and suffering, but pain that decreases the ability of one to earn wages is considered by the doctor and the Commissioner.

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