SC Worker’s Compensation Answers: I thought I was entitled to pay while I was out of work?

“I thought I was entitled to pay while I was out of work?”

Answer:  It’s the 7/14 Rule

Every day we get asked… “I thought I was entitled to pay while I was out of work?”  Our response is always the same  “It’s an easy rule and I have no idea why the insurance carrier hasn’t paid you.”  The reality is the Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina provides a very clear rule of law…injured workers are entitled to 2/3 of their gross pay (temporary total disability [TTD] benefits) while out of work from a work injury.  I call it the 7/14 rule.  South Carolina Coda Ann. 42-9-200 provides that once an injured worker has been out of work 7 days (does not have to be consecutive) they are entitled to start receiving 2/3 of their average weekly wages (gross).  Starting the 8th day that worker is entitled to start receiving compensation from the insurance carrier.

If the injured worker is out of work the 8th through the 14th day they will receive benefits for each of those days.  If the injured worker has not gotten better by the 15th day the insurance carrier has to go back and provide payment for those first 7 days that were not paid.

For the first 150 days from the reporting of the accident by the employee to the employer Weekly benefits will need to continue until the treating physician has released them to go back to work full duty (no restrictions) or they have been released to some type of light duty and the employer can accommodate those restrictions.  If you have not been released or your employer cannot accommodate then the carrier has to continue to provide the payment of “timely benefits.”

The second 150 days is a crucial and often misunderstood or just blatantly ignored rule by insurance carriers as well.  After 150 days has run on your claim and if you have not returned to work, the insurance carrier cannot turn stop off your benefits, even if they offer light duty or get their doctor to release you full duty (SC Code Ann. 42-9-260).  Stoppage of your weekly benefits can only come by way of a signed Order by the Commissioner. As with the failure to start benefits we see often the same mistakes made by insurance carriers who fail to keep benefits running as required by the law.

Do you have Questions about Not Getting Paid by Workers Compensation for an On the Job Injury?

Let us help you navigate through and around some of the insurance carrier obstacles preventing you from receiving the full benefit of the law. If you need answers as to why you are not getting paid by the insurance carrier if you have been injured on the job, please contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today and ask to speak with Workers Compensation Attorney Christian Boesl.  The call is free to see if we can help you–  workers compensation claims are tricky and you may need to hire an experienced lawyer in South Carolina to protect your legal rights.


HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

An experienced trucking accident attorney must be consulted following a collision that results in serious injuries.  Negligent and reckless truck drivers are a threat on South Carolina’s highway, particularly on the Interstates.  Large trucks commonly haul heavy loads, the drivers are distracted, and the trucking companies force its drivers to complete demanding trips across the United States.  The most common causes of trucking collisions are the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Using the Phone While Driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Lack of driver training
  • Unsecured cargo
  • Improper maintenance
  • Improper trailer connection
  • Speeding
  • Overloaded cargo
  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Failure to maintain proper distance

While distraction and fatigue top the list, there is a growing pattern of truck drivers operating their vehicle under the influence of drugs, especially drugs to assist in keeping drivers awake on the road such as methamphetaimes.

What to Do If You Were Involved in a Collision with a Truck or Commercial Vehicle?

Large medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning potential, surgeries, disability, permanent impairment—- this can be the reality following a trucking accident that involves a large commercial vehicle.  In order to recover for your injuries, the law requires proof that the truck driver was negligent or careless in the operation and that a reasonable person would not have caused the collision.  The negligence can also be rooted in improper maintenance, inadequate training, or a failure to monitor drug use, or failure to comply with customary safety standards.  It is important that you contact an experience trucking accident attorney if you were involved in a collision with a truck or a large commercial vehicle.

The Goings Law Firm is dedicated to improving the safety of South Carolina’s highways and ensuring that victims of trucking accidents are reasonably compensated for their injuries.  If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by the a 18 wheeler, large truck, or a commercial vehicle, you need to contact the Goings Law Firm today at 803-350-9230 for a free and confidential consultation.  Attorney Robert Goings was voted the best in Columbia– the 2017 “Top Personal Injury Attorney” in Columbia, South Carolina by the Columbia Business Monthly.    Let us put our experience to work for you today!


South Carolina Motorcyclists Ride at Great Risk

Most motorcyclists will agree that, from deteriorated road conditions to distracted automobile drivers, riding a motorcycle is as dangerous as it has ever been. For many of the riders unfortunate enough to be seriously injured in an accident, a careless or distracted automobile driver has been at fault. Some riders are forced to go as far as to swerve or kick a car’s side to avoid a collision, with many riders citing cell phone use as the driver’s cause of inattention. The roads in South Carolina are may even be some of the most dangerous for motorcyclists. According to a recent article from The Post and Courier, the average annual fatality rate for riders in South Carolina is second to only Mississippi.  Last year’s 135 motorcyclist deaths was the highest death rate in the palmetto state in a century, showing a frightening trend after the 2015 fatality rate rose to the highest level since 2007.

States with mandatory helmet laws show fatality rates 20 to 40 percent lower than elsewhere, but in South Carolina, only those 21 and younger fall under any state mandated helmet rule. Efforts to pass additional helmet laws in South Carolina have failed, but nearly three-quarters of motorcyclist deaths on South Carolina roads involve helmetless riders.

Some riders believe that untrained or reckless motorcyclists are the cause of the high fatality rate, as these riders are more prone to actions which create more risk of an accident such as weaving in and out of traffic and high-speed wheelies. According to some, it is the untrained riders with one to two years’ riding experience who take the most risk, as these riders are less cautious than both new and seasoned riders.  In South Carolina, the law doesn’t require any training and only asks for a limited amount of proof of motorcycle riding ability to obtain a motorcycle license. In fact, the only test required to obtain a motorcycle license is taken on a closed course and only requires the rider to maneuver the bike at speeds well below typical roadway speeds (approximately 15 m.p.h.in the test) to pass. Whether it is making the decision to wear a helmet or taking a class to sharpen your motorcycle riding skills, there are steps that any rider can take to make the roads a less dangerous place for themselves and avoid the injuries, financial burden, and the chance of death that come with a motorcycle accident.

With accidents on the rise, more and more people are unfortunately injured and suffer from motor vehicle accidents involving motorcycles, even where the motorcyclist had no fault in the accident. The attorneys at Goings Law Firm, LLC understand the dangers motorcyclists face. Riders have a right to safety on the road, and those who create unsafe conditions should be held legally and financially responsible for their actions. For more information or to speak one of our qualified and compassionate Columbia personal injury attorneys, please contact us at (803) 350-9230 today.


Welcome Back Mallory Haber!

Mallory Haber

The Goings Law Firm is excited to have Mallory Haber back with the firm. Mallory helped with the start of the Goings Law Firm in 2011! We are so lucky to have her back!!
Mallory attended the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2005. Upon graduation, Mallory began working as a legal assistant at a firm in Columbia. Upon obtaining her paralegal certification, Mallory began working at the Goings Law Firm. Mallory then moved down to Charleston and worked as a paralegal at a firm on Daniel Island. Mallory returned to Columbia and the Goings Law Firm this Fall and couldn’t be more excited. In her free time, Mallory loves watching all Gamecock sports, and hanging out with her husband and dog.

Goings Law Firm wins big for an injured worker at the SC Court of Appeals – Stacey Sellers v. Tech Service

On August 9, 2017, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed an Order of the Workers Compensation Commission in the matter of Sellers v. Tech Service, Inc., Op. No. 5508 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 9, 2017) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 30 at 14).  The Court of Appeals found that the injured worker, Stacey Sellers, was an employee under the Act, and not an “independent contractor” as claimed by his employer.

On November 8, 2013, Stacey Sellers fell off a ladder while performing HVAC work during the construction of a single-family home located in the Market Commons subdivision in Horry County.  Claimant injured his lower extremities, his back, and his neck as a result of the fall.  Claimant alleged that he was a long time employee of two HVAC companies, Tech Services of Myrtle Beach, LLC and/or Tech Services, Inc., and that he was working in the course and scope of his employment with one or both Tech Services entities at the time of the accident.  The Employer claimed that Mr. Sellers was an independent contractor because he obtained his own workers’ compensation insurance, was provided a Form 1099, and worked for himself on other projects.

The Court of Appeals thoroughly analyzed the facts based on the 4 factor test to determine whether an injured worker qualifies as an employee in South Carolina. “Under settled law, the determination of whether a claimant is an employee or independent contractor focuses on the issue of control, specifically whether the purported employer had the right to control the claimant in the performance of his work.”  Shatto v. McLeod Reg’l Med. Ctr., 406 S.C. 470, 475, 753 S.E.2d 416, 419 (S.C. 2013) (citations omitted).  “Under the controlling common law rubric of the right of control, the Court examines four factors which serve as a means of analyzing the work relationship as a whole: (1) direct evidence of the right or exercise of control; (2) furnishing of equipment; (3) method of payment; (4) right to fire.”  Id. (citations omitted).  As Shatto requires, these factors should be applied “in an evenhanded manner in determining whether the questioned relationship is one of employment or independent contractor.”  Id. 

In applying these factors, the Court of Appeals held that the greater weight of the evidence supports the finding of an employment relationship between Mr. Sellers and Tech Service at the time of the accident.  The Court noted there was overwhelming evidence in the record illustrating Tech Service had the right to exercise control over the details of Mr. Seller’s work. The record in this case is devoid of an independent contractor agreement. Tech Service furnished equipment for Mr. Sellers to use while on the job.  At the time of the injury, Mr. Sellers was wearing a Tech Service uniform and had Tech Service business cards.  He told service contracts for Tech Services and purchased supplies on Tech Service accounts with HVAC suppliers.  Mr. Sellers received the majority of his income from Tech Service. In addition, the court found evidence illustrating Tech Service supervised, inspected and monitored the quality of Respondent’s work product supporting the finding that Tech Service had the right to terminate its working relationship with Respondent without liability.  The totality of the evidence favored an employer/employee relationship over an independent contractor relationship.

If you have any questions about whether you are considered an “employee” or an “independent contractor”, please give us a call so that we can help.  Unfortunately, employers and their workers compensation carriers will do anything to deny paying for benefits, even so far as to claim the you are not an employee under the law.   This is a big win for injured workers!

The Full Opinion from the South Carolina Court of Appeal can be found here: http://www.sccourts.org/opinions/HTMLFiles/COA/5508.pdf


Statistics show that South Carolina is one of the most dangerous states to ride a motorcycle

In South Carolina, motorcyclists are in more danger than in almost any other state in the Southeast, statistics show. The state’s 2015 fatality rate was its highest since 2007, and the 135 motorcyclists who died on South Carolina roads last year were the most this century.  The cause has been attributed to poorly maintained road, potholes and pea gravel, inexperienced riders and distracted drivers.  South Carolina law also allows riders to obtain motorcycle licenses with no training and minimum evidence of road proficiency.

Among nine Southeast states, South Carolina’s average annual fatality rate from 2011 to 2015 is approximately 10 deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles.  The annual fatality rate is second worse, only to Mississippi, which has the least number of registered motorcycles in the region.  The road skills test in South Carolina is taken on a closed course where requires riders to perform turns, stops and weaves.  In fact, the most of the exercises of the Department of Motor Vehicles involve speeds of approximately 15 m.p.h.

The Goings Law Firm, LLC wants to remind South Carolina motorcycle drivers to be safe and vigilant on the roads.  Watch out for other drivers who may not be operating their vehicle as carefully as you.  The personal injury lawyers at the Goings Law Firm know all too well the life-altering injuries that can occur when drivers are not driving carefully

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, trucking accident, or motorcycle collision, please call us at (803) 350-9230 to see if we can help.  Our personal injury attorneys may be able to assist you with the applicable legal process and help you obtain the compensation you need.


Goings Law Firm has added another great Attorney – Christian Boesl

Robert Goings and Christian Boesl at the 2016 Compleat Lawyer Ceremony

The Goings Law Firm, LLC is pleased to announce that Columbia Workers Compensation attorney, Christian Boesl has joined the firm as Of Counsel.  Christian will be managing the expanding workers’ compensation practice at the Goings Law Firm, LLC.  We are blessed to have him as a valuable member of the team.  More to come about Christian Boesl!


Robert Goings named 2017 “Top Attorney for Personal Injury Litigation” for the Legal Elite of the Midlands by Columbia Business Monthly

Bobby Goings in Columbia Business Monthly

The entire team at Goings Law Firm is proud to announce that managing partner and founder Robert Goings was named the “Top Attorney for Personal Injury Litigation” for the 2017 edition of the Legal Elite of the Midlands by Columbia Business Monthly.

The article includes an interview with attorney Goings and discusses his passion for music, the arts, his family, and how these formative influences shaped his development into one of the state’s leading trial attorneys. The piece also discusses his desire to “tell a story, connect with the jury, and to be authentic, truthful, and compassionate in the courtroom as he represents his client to the best of his ability”.  To read the article in its entirety in the digital version of Columbia Business Monthly, click here.

 


Dangerous Intersections in Columbia and Richland Counties Show a Concerning Trend

Any driver will tell you that intersections are one of the most dangerous places to drive, especially during periods of heavy traffic at peak hours of the day. As people rush to get home, many drivers take more risks and drive recklessly and negligently, causing accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. This reality is no different for Columbia and Richland Counties, so accidents at some of our busiest intersections continue to worry law enforcement and concerned citizens alike. According to a recent article from The State, which reported on some of the most dangerous intersections in these counties, the intersection of Broad River Road and I-20 had the most accidents in the area last year: 142 in 2016. Of course, this intersection is not the only dangerous one in the city. Several others, including what the locals call “Malfunction Junction,” continue to cause problems as thousands of commuters travel through these areas each day.

Intersections certainly have inherent dangers, but drivers and their reckless behaviors are the main causes of these accidents. Distracted practices while driving, such as using a cellphone, following other cars too closely, and failing to stay in your lane during turns all contribute to the high accident rate in these areas. Additionally, speeding, illegal U-turns, and running red lights further contribute to accidents at intersections. Drivers should be particularly cautious at busy intersections and practice additional care when driving in periods marked by heavy traffic. Other drivers are often unpredictable, and their reckless behavior is the main factor in the occurrence of accidents. Remember to be attentive, share the road, and take steps to keep yourself and other drivers safe to avoid the resulting injuries and financial stress caused by accidents.

Contact Us

With accidents on the rise, more and more people are unfortunately injured and made to suffer the consequences of accidents, even if it was not their fault. The attorneys at Goings Law Firm, LLC drive these same dangerous intersections. As drivers, we have a right to safety on the road, and those who create unsafe conditions should be held legally and financially responsible for their actions. For more information or to speak one of our qualified and compassionate Columbia personal injury attorneys, please contact us at (803) 350-9230 today.


Goings Law secures $750,000 settlement for slip-and-fall injury on courthouse steps

Columbia trial attorney Robert Goings successfully secured a $750,000 verdict on behalf of a law clerk who was injured when he fell on an excessively slippery staircase inside the U.S. Bankruptcy Court building in downtown Columbia. The individual, a law clerk for a federal bankruptcy judge, suffered a herniated disk and accrued $40,000 in medical bills, as well as additional and lasting pain from the injury.

Crockett Facilities Service, the Maryland-based company responsible for maintaining the courthouse, ultimately admitted responsibility, especially when it was revealed that the company had removed slip-resistant strips from the stairs and had polished the staircase immediately before the accident. Attorney Goings following the settlement had this statement: ““In any case, we are very pleased with the outcome. Most falls are preventable, and in this case, all Crockett had to do was buy a strip that only cost $1 or $2. It’s a mistake that cost them $750,000.”

For more information on this settlement, read The State article, and if you have been injured in an accident, make sure to contact The Goings Law Firm for the right representation for your claim. There is a reason why people turn to Robert Goings in their time of need, so contact us to find out why.


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