3 Columbia nuclear plant workers suffer burn injuries

At least three workers from the Westinghouse nuclear plant in Columbia were recently hospitalized due to burn injuries they sustained in an accident, a September 25 article from The State reported.

According to reports, the incident happened at 4:30 a.m. when a wash tank burst and steam was released that resulted in three injuries. The injured workers, whose names were withheld, were brought to a local hospital then transferred to a burn center in Augusta. Though an internal investigation was conducted after the incident, Westinghouse spokeswoman Jessica Barfield stated that it was caused by “a mechanical issue”. Ms. Barfield also confirmed that the incident did not compromise the public and/or the environment.

Workers who suffer burn injuries in their workplace unfortunately struggle to support the financial needs of their families. However, if this happens to you in Columbia, the lawyers of Goings Law Firm, LLC may possibly help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you need while recovering. Find out how we may work for you today by calling (803) 350-9230.


Defense Base Act – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

defense-base-act

What is the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act (DBA) is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).  This Act provides disability compensation and medical benefits to employees and death benefits to eligible survivors of employees of U.S. government contractors who perform work overseas.  The DBA incorporates the provisions of the LHWCA, with few exceptions.

What is Covered under the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act applies to the following situations:

  • Work for private employers on U.S. military bases or on any lands used by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the United States;
  • Work on public work contracts with any U.S. government agency;
  • Work on contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Assistance Act;
  • Work for American employers providing welfare or similar services outside the United States for the benefit of the Armed Services, e.g. the United Service Organizations (USO).

If any one of the above criteria is met, all employees engaged in such employment, regardless of nationality (including U.S. citizens and residents, host country nationals (local hires), and third country nationals (individuals hired from another country to work in the host country), are covered under the Act.

What Type of Benefits are Allowed under the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act provides disability and medical benefits to covered employees injured in the course of employment and death benefits to eligible survivors of employees killed in the course of employment. Compensation for total disability is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings, up to a current maximum rate per week. Compensation is also payable for partial loss of earnings.
Death benefits are paid at the rate of one-half of the employee’s average weekly earnings to a surviving spouse or one child, or two-thirds of average weekly earnings for two or more eligible survivors up to the current maximum rate of per week. The Defense Base Act also incorporates the LHWCA’s provision for payment of reasonable funeral expenses not exceeding $3,000.00.

Permanent total disability and death benefits may be payable for life, and are subject to annual cost of living adjustments. The LHWCA minimum benefits rate, however, does not apply to DBA claims.

The injured employee is also entitled to medical treatment by a physician of his/her choice, as the injury may require.

What Insurance Companies Provide Defense Base Act Coverage?

The OWCP is responsible for the authorization of insurance carriers and self-insurance of employers. Over one hundred insurance carriers have been authorized to write Defense Base Act coverage.  However, the three following major insurance carriers provide most of the Defense Base Act insurance coverage: ACE USA Companies, American International Group (AIG) Companies, and CNA.

What if the Government Contractor-Employer Fails to Obtain Insurance Coverage for Government Contractors?

If an employer fails to secure payment of compensation, an injured employee, or his/her survivors in case of death, may elect to sue the employer for tort damages on account of such injury or death. In such action the defendant may not plead as a defense that the injury was caused by the negligence of a fellow servant, or that the employee assumed the risk of his employment, or that the injury was due to the contributory negligence of the employee.

In addition, an employer who fails to secure the payment of compensation when required shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. If the employer is a corporation, the president, secretary, and treasurer shall also be severally liable for such fine and imprisonment. These three corporate officers shall also be personally liable, jointly and severally with the corporation, for any compensation or other benefit payable under the Act with respect to the injury or death of any of its employees.

Have you been injured while working as a Government Contractor Overseas?

If you have been injured while employed as a government contractor overseas for the U.S. Government, you may be entitled to compensation and benefits under the Defense Base Act.  Contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today at (803) 350-9230 to represent you in your Defense Base Act claim.


Injured on the Job- Out of Work or Need “Light Duty”

Are you on Light Duty or Out of Work because of a Job Injury?

When a worker suffers an injury on the job, the consequences they may have to deal with can be overwhelming. Even relatively minor injuries can leave workers unable to return to their job for a substantial period of time, causing them to lose income they likely need to deal with medical bills and other costs relating to their injury. Fortunately, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system is designed to provide an injured employee with necessary medical treatment, disability payments, and monetary settlements to compensate for any physical impairment or disability.

If you have been injured on the job and your doctor has assigned you to restricted or light duty, then the employer is obligated to find a job for you within those restrictions set by your treating physician assigned by the workers compensation carrier. If the employer does not have a job available, then he can create one. If the employer cannot create a position, then your employer will have to pay temporary total disability. If the physician assigned by the carrier to treat your work injury does not provide the work restrictions that you need, you may need an evaluation by another physician or a second opinion.

What does Temporary Total Disability mean?

When your treating physician places you on light or restricted duty, and your employer can’t find or create a job for your within the parameters of the restrictions, then you are entitled to temporary and total disability, often called “TTD”. Generally, these are weekly payment for your time out of work and usually amount to two-thirds of your gross average weekly wage before the injury. The TTD checks are also tax-free. The weekly payments continue until you are able to return to work.

For Help dealing with doctors, employers, and understanding temporary total disability, contact a South Carolina Workers Compensation attorney at the Goings Law Firm, LLC, today!

If you have been injured on the job, it is best to hire an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your workers compensation claim is properly filed and that you get the medical treatment and compensation that you deserve. A lawyer from the Goings Law Firm, LLC, can help you fight to get the workers’ compensation benefits you need. If your employer is from South Carolina or you were injured in South Carolina on the job, contact us today by calling (803) 350-9230 so that we can help you navigate the claim and hearing process.


Maximum Medical Improvement and Disability Impairment Ratings in S.C. Workers Compensation

Often times an injured worker will have questions about maximum medical improvement (MMI), impairment ratings, and its effect on your disability award under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation. Depending on the severity of your injury, the doctor will make a determination of maximum medical improvement and determine if you are permanently impaired and to what extent. These determinations can be very important to the evaluation of your workers’ compensation claim. This article is designed to help you understand what Maximum Medical Improvement means, what is an Impairment rating, and how it can impact your disability award.

What does Maximum Medical Improvement Mean?

Maximum medical improvement, or “MMI”, has an important meaning in South Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws.  The term “maximum medical improvement” means an injured worker has reached such a plateau that, in the physician’s opinion, no further medical care or treatment will lessen the period of impairment.  Maximum medical improvement is a factual determination by the Commission. However, the fact an injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement does not preclude a finding the claimant still may require additional medical care or treatment.  If additional medical care or treatment would tend to lessen the period of disability, then the employer maybe required to provide any treatment that would at least maintain the injured worker’s degree of physical impairment after an injured worker has reached MMI.

Maximum medical improvement is a distinctly different concept from “disability” under the Workers’ Compensation laws in South Carolina.  Once the physicians and/or the Commission agree the injured worker has reached MMI, the next step is to determine if and to what degree there is any permanent disability.  The date of maximum medical improvement signals the end of entitlement to temporary total benefits.  Post-MMI benefits may then be awarded either as a permanent total or partial disability, or as a percentage of impairment to a scheduled member.

What is an Impairment Rating, and how does it affect my Disability Award?

After reaching MMI, the treating physician will look at the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.  This is sometimes referred to as the “AMA Guides.”  In determining your impairment rating, the doctor will review the tables and charts that related to type of injury based your current level of medical improvement. The physician will assign an impairment rating based upon the procedure performed (surgery, injections, physical therapy, etc.) and will also consider other factors like work restrictions, decreases in range of motions and ongoing pain.  Sometimes the treating physician hired by the insurance company may not provide an injured worker with a fair impairment rating.  In those situations, this Columbia Workers’ Compensation attorney may have a third-party specialist evaluate the severity of your injury and provide an opinion on an impairment rating through an independent medical examination (IME). Getting a second opinion from a doctor who can advocate for you may significantly improve the final amount of compensation you receive from South Carolina workers’ compensation claim.

It is important to understand that the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission is not bound by the physician’s impairment rating in determining the percentage of your disability award.  The physician’s impairment rating is just one of many factors used to determine disability, but a physician’s impairment rating happens to be an important factor.  Other factors that are considered in determining disability can be the injured worker’s age, education, prior work history, work restrictions, and need for future medical treatment. As a result, a “disability award” will often be a higher percentage than the initial impairment rating and may include future care such as continuing prescription medication or other procedures.  Any “prosthetic devices” implanted, such as plates, screws, rods, artificial disks or joints, are covered for the lifetime of the injured employee.

Contact A Columbia, South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you have any questions about reaching maximum medical improvement, your impairment rating, and its effect on your disability award under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws, please contact this Columbia Workers Compensation law firm today at (803) 350-9230 or click here to fill out an online case evaluation form.  The correct determination of MMI and your impairment rating is very important to obtaining the compensation you are entitled to under the law. There is no obligation or charge to see if we can help you with your workers’ compensation claim.


South Carolina Workers’ Compensation – Repetitive Trauma & Stress Injuries

By: Robert F. Goings

Repetitive Trauma Injuries Under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation

Does Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina cover a repetitive trauma injury? This is a frequently asked question because many employers or insurance companies will try to deny your workers compensation claim if it arises from repetitive trauma or repetitive stress. The common excuse is that injury was not caused on the job.

Repetitive trauma occurs over a period time. The injury is not caused by a single, specific event, but happens gradually as the result of repetitive motion, strain, pressure on a particular body part.

Repetitive trauma injuries can be covered under South Carolina Workers Compensation pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-172. Under South Carolina law, “Repetitive trauma injury” means an injury that is gradual in onset and caused by the cumulative effects of repetitive traumatic events. An injury is not considered a compensable repetitive trauma injury unless the Workers Compensation Commissioner makes a specific finding of fact by a preponderance of the evidence of a causal connection that is established by medical evidence between the repetitive activities that occurred while the employee was engaged in the regular duties of his employment and the injury. In order to meet this standard, “medical evidence” must be presented by expert opinion or testimony stated to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, documents, records, or other material that is offered by a licensed and qualified medical physician. This means that a qualified physician must state that the injuries were caused by the job duties.

Common Workplace Repetitive Trauma and Stress Claims

The number of workers suffering from a repetitive stress injury or disorder (RSD) is increasing mostly because of the increased use of computers in the workplace. Repetitive trauma now accounts for about 60% of all job-related injuries, and one in eight American workers has been diagnosed with an RSD at one time or another.

The most common form of repetitive trauma injury is carpel tunnel syndrome. Carpel tunnel syndrome can be caused by any job hazard, such as typing on the computer, repetitive use of tools such as hammers or screwdrivers.  Carpel tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent and debilitating pain in your arms, wrists, and hands. Repetitive trauma can cause leg, neck and back injuries depending on the job duties. Without proper treatment, repetitive trauma can become irreversible and permanent.

The types of work-related activities that lend themselves to repetitive stress injuries include: Administrative and secretarial work, assembly line work, polishing, sanding, and painting, pipe setting, hammering, sawing and cutting, writing, driving, stocking shelves and packing, climbing, bending, massaging, playing musical instruments, or working in construction or as a mechanic.

Deadlines to File a Repetitive Trauma Claim for Workers’ Compensation

In order to properly file a claim for injuries arising for repetitive trauma, notice of the injury or condition must be given by the employee within 90 days of the date the employee discovered, or could have discovered by exercising reasonable diligence, that his condition is compensable, unless reasonable excuse is made to the satisfaction of the commission for not giving timely notice, and the commission is satisfied that the employer has not been unduly prejudiced thereby.

Compensation is barred unless a claim is filed with the commission within 2 years after the employee knew or should have known that his injury is compensable but no more than seven years after the last date of injurious exposure, regardless of whether the employee was aware that his repetitive trauma injury was the result of his employment.

Because of this strict standard, it is very important to act diligently in contacting a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney and reporting your injuries as soon as they begin.

Contact a Columbia Workers’ Compensation Attorney if you Are Suffering From A Repetitive Trauma Injury

If you are experiencing repetitive trauma or injuries from work, let us help you get the medical treatment and benefits that you deserve. Without the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, a repetitive trauma claim can be difficult to prove. Call this Columbia Workers’ Compensation law firm today at (803) 350-9230, or click here to fill out an online case evaluation form. There is no obligation or charge to see if we can help.


Was your SC Workers Compensation Claim Denied?

If your South Carolina Workers Compensation claim was denied, we encourage you to speak with a Columbia Workers Compensation Attorney as soon as possible. More than likely you will be required to request a hearing before the South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission in Columbia. We have been successful on many occasions having the Commission determine that the claim was wrongfully denied. Here are a few of common reasons that may be argued to deny your claim:

Common Reasons of Employers and Insurance Companies to Deny your Workers Compensation Claim:

  • Missed deadlines — Your claim could be denied if you fail to notify your employer within 90 days of a workplace accident. You also have a short time period to file a claim. In certain cases, it may not be clear exactly when an injury develops, such as repetitive stress injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome) or chronic illnesses (continuous exposure to hazardous chemicals or asbestos-related diseases). Also, many employer may claim an injured worker is barred from benefits if they don’t report a work injury “within 24 hours” or some other period of time. If your employer claims you missed the deadline but you believe that there were special circumstances or that you actually did let your employer know on time, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney for help in proving your claim.
  • Improper Behavior or Failing to Follow Rules — Your employer may try to claim that you were negligent or did something wrong and that you should not receive workers comp benefits as a result. South Carolina workers compensation is a “no fault” system. It is a rare situation, where an employee is disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation benefits as a result of his or her own actions. Unless you intentionally hurt yourself or were intoxicated at work and the employer can prove that your intoxication was the cause of your work injury, you should not be disqualified based on your own actions, even if you were careless.
  • “Off-the-job” injuries – In some cases, your employer might claim that your injury was not work-related and that you should not receive benefits as a result. If you were in the course and scope of your employment at the time of the work-related injury, then your claim may have been improperly denied. Under South Carolina workers’ comp laws, the definition of “work-related” injury is generally very broad, even if the injury happens outside of normal working hours or away from your normal job site.
  • Not An Employee — Workers’ compensation benefits only applies to employees. Some employers will improperly classify workers as “independent contractors” or “subcontractors” instead of employees in order to avoid paying workers compensation benefits. Under the law, the determination of whether you were an employee focuses on the right to exercise control, how you were paid, furnishing of tools and equipment, and the right to fire. If you can prove facts sufficient to show that you were really an employee, then you could receive workers’ compensation benefits for your workplace injury.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions — Employers sometimes deny claims based on the fact that you had a pre-existing condition when your work injury occurred. This is especially true in many back and neck injuries where individual often have natural degenerative changes. However, you can still receive benefits if your workplace accident aggravated or worsened your condition. Proving the extent of your work injuries and your right to benefits is complicated in these situations, so you should consult with a lawyer for help.
  • Job Injury Not Correctly Reported — Your employer might argue that the injury did not happen as described. The employer and the insurance company will often assert that you are exaggerating your injury and will attempt to argue that your injury is not as severe as claimed. In many case, the employer tries to use the opinion of a doctor of its choosing to show that you are not entitled to receive the benefits, and in those circumstances, you may have the right to ask for an independent medical examination.
  • For No Good Reason At All It has been our experience that your workers compensation claim may be denied by the employer for no good reason at all, other than to demoralize you as an employee and to make you feel bad about pursuing your legal rights.
  • Your Employment Application  — Employers may argue that your claim should be denied because you did not correctly answer or fully disclose information on your pre-employment work application, such as your work history, prior injuries, or physical work restrictions.

Contact a Columbia Workers Compensation Attorney If your Claim was Denied.

If your workers compensation claim was denied, call this experienced Columbia Workers Compensation law firm today at (803) 350-9230 to speak with Attorney Robert F. Goings, or click here to fill out an online case evaluation form. There is no obligation or charge to see if we can help.


South Carolina Workers’ Compensation- Hiring a Lawyer?

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

If you have workers compensation claim, you’ve wondered if you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney. This is a frequently asked question. This article is designed to help you understand when you should hire an attorney for your workers compensation claim.

First, you are not required to hire a lawyer. But, we strongly recommend you find a qualified injury attorney to represent you for your South Carolina workers compensation claim.  The workers compensation laws are complex and full of pitfalls. To Quote Abraham Lincoln: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”  We believe President Lincoln had it right.

The workers’ compensation hearing and appeals process is complicated, as you will have strict deadlines to follow and you will have to provide persuasive evidence in the manner required by the single commissioner, the commission panel or the state courts. The rules of procedure at each of these stages of appeal will vary, as will as the arguments that must be made and the types of evidence that must be presented.

Additionally, in South Carolina the employer and the insurance company will have their attorney to defend any workers compensation hearing.  The lawyer for the employer or insurance company is not your attorney, and does not represent your best interests.  The job of the insurance company’s attorney may be to deny your claim, provide minimal treatment, or to settle your case as cheap as possible.  Only a workers compensation attorney for the injured worker can: (a) advocate to have your claim approved; (b) ensure all the necessary medical treatment is being provided; and (b) work to secure you the most compensation as possible for your injuries.

When to Hire a Lawyer for your S.C. Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The best advice is to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after the injury.  You will need a South Carolina lawyer if the injury occurred in South Carolina, if your job is located in South Carolina, or if you were hired in this state.  You only have a short deadline to report your injury and to file a claim.  An experienced workers compensation attorney will make sure the claim is filed correctly.

If you do not hire an attorney immediately after the injury, we recommend hiring a Columbia workers’ compensation lawyer if you suffered any one of these type injuries: 

  • Back or Neck Injuries
  • Brain Injuries
  • Knee Injuries
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Hernia
  • Repetitive Stress Injuries
  • Injuries involving pre-existing conditions
  • Occupational Diseases (ex. chemical exposure)
  • Impairment or loss of use to any body part
  • You have a loss of earnings
  • Death Benefits

 We also recommend hiring a Columbia workers’ compensation lawyer if any one of the following occurs:

  • Your claim is denied
  • A recorded or written statement is requested
  • You are given work restrictions
  • You are not able to meet your work restrictions
  • The requested medical care is not approved
  • The medical care is delayed or slow to be approved by the adjuster
  • You are not allowed to consult with a medical specialist (ex. surgeon, or pain management)
  • Your doctor or medical provider is not on your side
  • Your weekly disability checks are late or not approved
  • Your weekly disability check amount is incorrect or too low
  • You are denied treatment other body parts (ex. your back begins to hurt after leg injury)
  • A hearing is requested
  • You are contacted by the insurance company’s lawyer
  • The adjuster will not call you back
  • You worry that you might lose your job

Why Hire Us for your South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The Goings Law Firm, LLC is focused on results.  We are located in Columbia, several blocks from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Because of this, we routinely represent clients throughout the State of South Carolina.

We recognize that our reputation is earned by providing excellent service to one client at a time.  Most of our clients are earned by referrals from former or existing clients, the best compliment any lawyer can receive.  To read about what just a few clients have said about Robert F. Goings and Goings Law Firm, LLC, click here.

We are honest and dedicated to providing personalized attention to your injury claim.  Many other law firms may have “high volume” practices that devote great time and resources to advertising or making unreasonable promises. At the Goings Law Firm, LLC we devote our efforts to representing you.  We know you by your name, not by a number assigned to your case like some other firms.  Your case will not be given a “file number” and your claim will not be assigned to a paralegal or legal staff.  Robert F. Goings will personally handle your claim from start to finish.  We have the resources and experience to take your claim to the highest court in South Carolina, if necessary.  Before you hire a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney, please consider these 5 qualities that your attorney should possess.

We invite you to call this Columbia Workers’ Compensation law firm today at (803) 350-9230, or click here to fill out an online case evaluation form. There is no obligation or charge to see if we can help.


Proving Workers Compensation Brain Injury Cases

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By: Robert F. Goings

Workers Compensation Brain Injury Cases in South Carolina

A Workers Compensation claim involving a brain injury can be one of the most challenging to prove under the S.C. Workers Compensation laws.  A brain injury can occur from a serious accident, a blunt force striking the head, or from occupational harms such as the exposure to dangerous chemicals.  Under workers compensation, an employee is typically entitled up to 500 weeks of benefits.

However, South Carolina law provides that an injured employee can receive lifetime indemnity and medical benefits if he is totally disabled from paraplegia, quadriplegia or “physical brain damage.”  S.C. Code § 42-9-10(C).  The Workers Compensation laws determine that “physical brain damage” is among the most serious impairments within the statutory exception to the 500 week cap on benefits as an indication that the legislature was contemplating brain damage so severe that the person could not subsequently return to suitable gainful employment.

In 2013, the South Carolina Supreme Court held issued two significant cases involving the legal requirements to receive lifetime benefits from a physical brain injury: Sparks v. Palmetto Hardwood and Crisp v. SouthCo.  The Supreme Court concluded that “physical brain damage” as used in § 42-9-10(C) is physical brain damage that is both “permanent” and “severe.”  The severity of the permanent brain damage is the lynchpin of the analysis.  Most often, medical and occupational experts must be retained to provide sufficient evidence to prove the brain injury is “permanent” and “severe.”  Inherent in the requirement that the damage to the brain be severe is the requirement that the worker is unable to return to suitable gainful employment.

Contact a Columbia South Carolina Workers Compensation Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has experienced a brain injury that was caused on the job, contact a Columbia, South Carolina Workers Compensation Attorney today.  We are here to help you with your workers compensation claim.


SC Workers Compensation – How to Calculate your Compensation Rate and Average Weekly Wage?

By: Robert F. Goings

Workers’ Compensation – Calculating your Compensation Rate and Average Weekly Wage

I am often asked by injured employees, “How is my compensation rate calculated?”  The calculation of your compensation rate can have a significant impact on the total award of compensation that you may be entitled to receive under the law for an on-the-job injury.

The compensation rate for a workers’ compensation claim is calculated based on your average weekly wage.  So, in order to answer this question, you first must ask another question, “How is my average weekly wage calculated?”  Here is how…

In South Carolina, the compensation rate is 66 2/3% of the average weekly wage subject to the maximum and minimum compensation rates in effect on the date of injury. The compensation rate is set as of the date of injury and is not affected by later changes in the allowed maximum or by inflation.  The benefits that you receive are not taxable.

Form 20 is used to calculate an employee’s average weekly wage. The Form 20 is typically completed by the employer’s human resources or payroll department and forwarded to the insurance adjuster for approval.  A Form 20 can be found on the SC WCC website here, http://www.wcc.sc.gov/welcomeandoverview/forms/Pages/default.aspx

So what does Average Weekly Wage mean?  Average Weekly Wage, or 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.  Average weekly wage is generally calculated by combining 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.

But how do you calculate AWW if you were employed for a short period of time or if the traditional method of calculating Average Weekly Wage is impractical?  In those circumstances, South Carolina workers’ compensation laws allow evidence of similar wages of 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 significant increase in salary or significant raise), other methods may be employed to determine what the injured employee would be earning were it not for the injury.  The South Carolina statute that governs the calculation of your AWW is S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-40, which can be found at http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t42c001.php.  The overall intent of this provision is to ensure fair and just results for both the employer and the employee, designed compensate you for what you were earning if the injury did not occur.

Okay, but I have multiple jobs?

How do I calculate my average weekly wage and my compensation rate if I have more than one job?
What if the insurance carrier refuses to allow my wages from another employer?

Good news!  Generally in South Carolina, if an employee works multiple jobs, the employee’s total wages from all employers may be combined to compute his average weekly wage under worker’s compensation law. The employee has the burden of proving wages earned from jobs other than the one where the accident occurred, for purposes of calculating average weekly wage.  A good case that discusses this law is Steele v. Self Serve, Inc. 335 S.C. 323, 516 S.E.2d 674 (S.C. App. 1999), which can be found at http://law.justia.com/cases/south-carolina/court-of-appeals/1999/2980.html

If you believe that your compensation rate has been improperly calculated, or that you are being short-changed as a result of how your employer or the insurance company is calculating your compensation rate, please call today for a free consultation from an experienced Columbia Workers Compensation attorney.