Mediation: A Mandatory (and Often Better) Way to Resolve Certain Workers’ Comp. Claims
Posted on Apr 16, 2018 by
Cynthia C. Dooley
South Carolina now mandates the use of mediation as a way to help resolve certain workers’ compensation claims. These are defined in 67-1802 of the state Workers’ Compensation Commission Regulations, but generally, they are cases that would be litigation-intensive and highly contested – e.g., occupational disease, contested death and mental injury claims.
The goal of promoting timely and cost-effective resolutions largely is being achieved. Practically speaking, there are several aspects of mediation that make it a good alternative to a hearing before a commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The Traditional Hearing Route
Historically, most workers’ compensation cases have been decided by one of the state’s seven commissioners. While the commissioners are experienced and more than able to render fair decisions, time factors often limit the ability of attorneys and claimants to fully explain their respective positions. In 2017, the Commission had 10,458 cases docketed for a hearing. A normal case is scheduled to last from one to two hours. Once docketed, on average the case may take at least three months to actually be heard. After the hearing, commissioners often must review reams of evidence before a ruling is made. Although the ruling is binding on the parties, there is always the potential for appeal, thus extending the process and increasing costs. The hearing also submits all issues to the interpretation of one person. By contrast, mediations often last for an entire day giving the parties time to fully explore and present their respective positions. continue reading
With Moped Law Under Scrutiny, South Carolina Businesses Get a Wake-Up Call
Posted on Mar 07, 2017 by
William (Billy) Horvath
Businesses that sell or rent mopeds and employees who rely on the two-wheeled transportation for work dodged a bullet last year when a proposed South Carolina law on moped restrictions didn't make its way through the state Legislature. Nevertheless, the proposal's goals should serve as a wake-up call for South Carolina businesses to take appropriate action to protect their employees, assets, and the community.
Last year, the South Carolina Legislature considered Bill H3440 that would have made substantial changes to South Carolina moped law but it ultimately failed to pass. Similar moped regulations have been proposed again this year. continue reading
Prevent Workers’ Comp Claims By Understanding How To Manage Risks
Posted on Feb 23, 2017 by
Tiffni D. Shealy
Accidents will happen – about 23,000 times a day in U.S. workplaces, on average, according to one study.
Workers’ compensation insurance pays for occupational injury and illness claims, and that typically protects businesses from defending against personal injury claims brought by employees. In South Carolina, which has a “no-fault” system, it doesn’t matter who is to blame for the workplace injury for a valid claim to be paid.
Although workers’ comp insurance covers an injured employee’s medical expenses and disability pay, the hidden costs for businesses are significant. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration calculates that lost productivity, higher insurance premiums and other indirect costs can total up to four times the cost of the workers’ comp claim itself.
With costs related to occupational injuries and deaths adding up to $192 billion annually, a plan to manage those risks is essential for every business.
First and foremost, employers must develop a culture of safety. OSHA says workplaces that establish safety and health management systems can reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent.
Changing an organization’s culture is not often easy, so leadership is critical to achieve buy-in from employees throughout the organization. Whether it’s a small business or large corporation, the message that safety is a primary concern must come from the top down.
A risk management plan can minimize workers’ comp costs in three ways: limiting opportunities for risk by controlling who comes through your door, identifying and fixing problems before something happens and managing additional risks once an accident occurs. continue reading
Turner Padget Lawyer Helps Obtain Favorable Opinion for Defense Bar
Posted on Jul 20, 2015 by
TURNER PADGET LITIGATION TEAM
South Carolina recently became the latest jurisdiction to prohibit the assignment of legal malpractice claims between adversaries in litigation, joining the majority of jurisdictions that have considered the issue. continue reading