South Carolina workers’ compensation insurance
Workers' compensation insurance covers the cost of work-related injuries. It's required for all South Carolina businesses that have four or more employees.
Who needs workers’ comp in South Carolina?
Each state has different workers’ compensation laws, and in South Carolina, workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for all employers with four or more employees. This includes full-time employees, part-time employees, and family members who work for the business (unpaid or paid).
Subcontractors also need to be covered under a general contractor’s workers' comp policy unless they have their own coverage. In many cases, a general contractor requires subcontractors to carry their own workers’ compensation insurance because that allows the general contractor to remain free from liability if someone is injured.
A corporate officer is included in a company's workers comp coverage but can choose to be excluded.
Do South Carolina business owners need to carry workers’ compensation?
According to state law, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and members of limited liability companies (LLCs) are not required to carry workers' compensation for themselves. However, we strongly encourage you to buy workers’ comp insurance, even though it's only required for employees.
Your personal health insurance company might deny a claim if the injury is related to your job. That would leave you paying medical bills out of pocket, which could be even harder if you're out of work while recovering.
Workers' compensation coverage would pay your medical bills, and also supply partial wages for the time you lost while unable to work.
How much does workers' compensation coverage cost in South Carolina?
How does workers' comp work in South Carolina?
South Carolina workers’ compensation laws are regulated by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). This policy covers medical bills related to on-the-job injuries and occupational diseases. It also provides lost wage compensation equal to two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage while the employee is unable to work.
Workers' compensation benefits for injured workers in South Carolina include:
- Medical benefits to cover treatment of the injury
- Temporary disability and permanent disability benefits
- Partial disability and total disability benefits
- Compensation for disfigurement
- Reimbursement for medical travel expenses
For example, if an IT tech or software developer is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome due to keyboard overuse, your workers' comp policy would pay for their medical treatment, including long-term medication and physical therapy.
Or, if an employee at your IT consulting firm trips in the office stairwell and suffers a concussion, then your workers' comp policy would pay for their ambulance ride and emergency room visit.
To receive compensation for medical expenses, employees must visit a health provider approved by their employer or its insurer.
Most workers' comp policies include employer's liability insurance, which helps cover legal expenses if an employee blames their employer for an injury. However, the exclusive remedy provision in most workers' comp policies prohibits an employee from suing their employer once they accept workers' comp benefits.
How to buy workers' compensation coverage in South Carolina
Employers have a few options when it comes to purchasing a workers' comp policy in South Carolina:
- You can buy workers' comp from a private insurer: With TechInsurance's easy online application, you can compare quotes from top-rated insurance companies
- You can buy a policy from the state fund: South Carolina runs a competitive state fund called the South Carolina State Accident Fund
- You can apply for self-insurance: Employers must file an application with the state's Self-Insurance Division. This is usually an option for larger businesses
How are workers' compensation rates determined in South Carolina?
Each employer’s cost for workers’ compensation coverage is based on workers’ compensation class codes, which depend on the work duties performed by their employees. Your workers’ compensation insurance company will determine your cost based on how many employees perform different jobs at your company and their exposure to risk, along with other factors.
Similar to several other states, South Carolina relies on the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for its class codes.
What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp in South Carolina?
According to South Carolina workers' comp laws, if an employee becomes hurt on the job and the employer didn’t have the required workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina, the state could take the business assets to cover the cost of a claim.
Workers’ compensation settlements in South Carolina
South Carolina offers two types of workers’ compensation settlements:
- An agreement and final release, or "clincher" agreement: This is a full and final release of liability for the employer and its insurance carrier.
It’s usually a lump sum but could also be paid as a structured settlement. In that situation, the employee would receive a guaranteed monthly payout for a fixed period, like an annuity. It’s a legally binding agreement that must be approved by the commissioner, and if the employee’s condition worsens or needs additional treatment, there can be no further claims.
- A Form 16A settlement: This is for a worker who’s permanently disabled. It pays a specific weekly benefit amount based on the average weekly wage prior to the injury.
Unlike a clincher agreement, a Form 16A would allow the worker to request additional compensation within a year of the last payment if the injury worsens, and it would also cover specific continuing medical expenses.
Workers’ compensation statute of limitations in South Carolina
Injured employees must file a workers' compensation claim within two years with the WCC. It’s the employee’s responsibility to notify the employer of an injury as soon as possible, but it must be within 90 days of the injury.
If the employee fails to notify either the employer or the WCC on time, they forfeit their right to a workers' comp claim.
Get free quotes and compare policies with TechInsurance
If you are ready to explore workers’ compensation coverage options for your South Carolina business, TechInsurance can help small business owners compare business insurance policy quotes with one easy online application. Start an application today to find the right insurance coverage at the most affordable price for your business.