SC Supreme Court Decision Protects SC’s Injured Workers

The Post and Courier reported that the South Carolina Supreme Court recently held in favor of injured workers in a landmark workers’ compensation case.

The injured worker in this case, 49-year-old Alli James, suffered a back injury after she fell down the stairs while working at Anne’s Dress Shop in downtown Charleston in 2002. She was rendered permanently disabled.

The Court ruled that the Workers’ Compensation Commission has the authority to choose the method of accounting used when calculating workers’ compensation benefits.

Prior to this decision, some insurance companies were proponents of a method that would lead to more generous Social Security payments but result in a smaller workers compensation award.

Jody McKnight, who represented James, called this a landmark case advising the Post and Courier that the former method was not only unfair, but that it was legally inappropriate to use a federal right that someone has as a bargaining chip to force them to accept less than the state rights and remedies that our Legislature has afforded them.

The method of calculating damages chosen could ultimately enable the injured worker to receive a greater amount in disability benefits through Social Security. In this particular case, it meant hundred of dollars more in disability benefits for the injured worker.

This case was rare because it was one of the few times in history where the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed itself, following an earlier decision on the matter.

The Strom Law Firm, LLC understands the impact that a work-related injury or death has upon you and your loved ones. Contact one of the workers comp attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.