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
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
Key Legal Issues for Entrepreneurs
Posted on Aug 13, 2015 by
Julie Jeffords Moose
If you're thinking of starting a business, you likely are focused on how to sell the product or service you plan to offer. But don't neglect to set up a legal framework that will protect your business and allow it to thrive. In our litigious society, a working knowledge of business law and a relationship with a law firm has to be part of your entrepreneurial toolkit.
Here are six areas where we recommend that first-time entrepreneurs protect themselves by getting good legal counsel at the outset to reduce the possibility of problems down the road. continue reading
The Perils of Social Media for Hiring Managers
Posted on Jun 03, 2015 by
Reginald W. Belcher
Hiring managers increasingly are checking out job applicants on social media, and it’s easy to see why: The Internet holds a trove of personal information on most of us, and it doesn’t take much time or skill to mine this data.
But, you do so at your peril, I always tell employers.
A lot of what you come across in Internet searches about a job applicant will make my job as an employment litigator harder if I’m defending you in a discrimination lawsuit. The problem is that there are certain things that you should never ask in a job interview, and yet you can’t help but stumble across these areas in a search of social media.
Remember, every click of your keyboard is subject to discovery in litigation. Once you’ve seen something, you can’t turn back the page. continue reading