Does South Carolina Have “No-Fault” Workers’ Compensation?

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South Carolina’s workers’ compensation is a no-fault system because injured employees do not have to prove employer negligence to receive compensation. If the worker is injured in the course of employment, they may receive benefits without having to show that employer negligence caused their injury.

To speak to a workers’ comp lawyer in Greenville, SC, contact us to learn more about the no-fault system.

No-Fault Laws and Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Many jobs are inherently dangerous. Even if the employer and employee take reasonable precautions – or even every possible precaution – injuries can still happen. Does blame matter when it comes to workers’ compensation?

South Carolina has no-fault workers’ compensation. You don’t have to prove that the injury was the employer’s fault. Also, you don’t have to defend that the accident wasn’t your fault. All you must show is that you are injured in the course of your employment.

How is no-fault workers’ comp different than a personal injury claim?

In most personal injury claims, legal liability is based on negligence. To receive compensation in a personal injury case, you must prove that the party you want to pay compensation has legal fault.

Usually, the basis for the claim is that the defendant acted with a lack of reasonable care for the circumstances.

A workers’ comp case is different in that it is no fault. You must show that you’re hurt in the course of employment, but you don’t have to show that your employer did anything wrong to cause the injury.

Similarly, your employer can’t defend against a workers’ comp claim by accusing you of fault.

Can You Be Disqualified From Workers’ Compensation for Sharing Fault?

Even though workers’ compensation is no fault in South Carolina, there are some ways that you can be disqualified from receiving benefits. Any of the following may jeopardize your right to benefits:

  • Intoxication
  • Willful intention of the employee to cause injury
  • Horseplay, roughhousing
  • Fraud

See S.C. Code § 42-9-60 (prohibiting benefits when the injury is the result of employee intoxication or wilful injury, with the employer having the burden of proof) and Allsep v. Daniel Constr. Co., 216 S.C. 268, 273 (1950); Floyd v. City of Charleston, 287 S.C. 474 (Ct. App. 1986) (distinguishing that non-participating victims and bystanders may receive compensation when workers are involved in horseplay, but aggressors or instigators are prohibited from receiving workers’ compensation when an injury is the result of horseplay).

Are Employers Liable for Injuries Even If the Employees Are at Fault?

In South Carolina, the employer may be liable for injuries, even if the employees are at fault if the injury arises out of and in the course of employment. The workers’ own negligence or the fault of a coworker doesn’t impact benefits payable for injury.

See Osteen v. Greenville County School District, 333 S.C. 43, 49 (1998) (stating that workers’ compensation pays for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment. Arising out of employment means a causal connection between the work performed, working conditions, and the resulting injury).

Why is workers’ compensation no fault?

  • An employer is often in control of the evidence about what happened. It wouldn’t be fair to require the employee to prove negligence if the evidence is under their adversaries’ control.
  • Workers do what their employers ask them to do. It’s only fair that when workers follow the direction of their employers, they’re compensated when something goes wrong.
  • Requiring workers to prove fault would make the compensation process a lot longer. When you’re hurt, you need your compensation now.

I was injured at work – my employer says it was my fault! Can I still get benefits?

Your employer may tell you that an injury on the job is your own fault, so you can’t receive benefits.

Don’t give up – talk to a lawyer!

While there are some disqualifying grounds related to misconduct, like intoxication and intentional harm, the no-fault system protects employees. You may receive compensation without having to prove your employer’s negligence and without having to defend against accusations of your own negligence.

Talk to an attorney

At Bobby Jones Law, we help people get the workers’ compensation benefits they have earned. We invite you to contact us to talk about your case and get help from a lawyer today. Call or message us now.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers
  • Named to Super Lawyers 2017–2024
  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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