How to get maximum workers’ compensation benefits if you get injured at work
Volvo was founded in Sweden in 1927. Since the beginning, the company has emphasized its dedication to vehicle safety and durable construction. Today, Volvo manufactures cars in Sweden, Belgium, China, Malaysia, India and, most recently, the United States.
What does Volvo do at its South Carolina facility?
In 2018, Volvo opened its new plant in Ridgeville, Berkeley County, South Carolina. It can produce 150,000 cars annually. Close to the Port of Charleston, it ships new vehicles around the world.
Presently, the Ridgeville plant employs more than 1,500 workers. The facility includes a body shop, paint shop, final assembly section, vehicle processing center and office building.
Common workplace injuries and illnesses experienced by auto manufacturing employees
With that variety of manufacturing functions, Volvo must devote substantial resources to establish a variety of safety protocols and ensure they are diligently applied. Unfortunately, worker injuries still occur far too frequently at manufacturing jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national incidence of nonfatal accidents and occupational illnesses in the manufacturing industry in 2021 was 3.3 cases per 100 full-time workers (or 3.3 percent. By contrast, the national incidence rate for the automobile manufacturing industry was 5.6 percent.
Common injuries in Volvo plants are typical of other heavy industrial operations. They include:
South Carolina workers’ compensation law
Along with all 50 states, South Carolina has a workers’ compensation system that compensates workers who are injured or contract an illness while on the job. The law is stated in South Carolina Code Section 42-1-10 et seq. If you’re injured working at Volvo, you must satisfy the requirements of that law.
The program is administered by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. It’s a no-fault insurance program that awards benefits regardless of whether the employer is at fault. However, an injured employee has the burden to prove other aspects of their claim for benefits.
For example, a claimant must prove that their injury or illness arose out of and in the course of their employment.
The law requires all South Carolina employers with 4 or more employees to provide their injured employees with workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers cover their obligations with insurance.
Learn who’s eligible for workers’ comp benefits in South Carolina and which employers are required to purchase workers’ comp insurance for their employees.
What workers’ comp benefits am I entitled to after an injury at Volvo?
After getting hurt on the job at Volvo, you may be entitled to 3 types of benefits outlined in South Carolina Code § 42-9-5.
- Medical care
- Wages restoration
- Death benefits for your surviving family members
Medical care benefits include expenses for doctor visits, tests, surgeries, rehabilitation therapy, prosthetics and other equipment.
You would be required to seek treatment from a Volvo-approved doctor or other medical professionals. If you do not use an approved professional, you might not be granted medical benefits.
If an injury keeps you from performing your regular job or any substitute job, you may be entitled to a restoration of lost wages. The award will depend on the extent and classification of your injury or illness:
- Permanent total disability (PTD). If your injury prevents you from doing any work, you will receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage before your injury. Payments will be made for up to 500 weeks.
- Permanent partial disability (PPD). If your injury is permanent, but you can work in another capacity, you receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage before your injury. But, the length of time you receive those payments depends on the nature of your injury (e.g., body parts affected) or your doctor’s orders.
- Temporary total disability (TTD). If you are temporarily disabled for more than 7 days, you will receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages for the duration of your disability.
- Temporary partial disability (TPD). If you are temporarily disabled but you can continue to work in a substitute job, you will receive two-thirds of the difference between your old wages and your substitute wages.
If an employee is injured on the job and dies within 6 years as a result of the injury, their dependents may be entitled to the following death benefits:
- Two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage for 500 weeks
- $2,500 for funeral costs
What to do if you’re injured on the job at Volvo
If you are injured on the job as a Volvo employee, you should take the following steps to ensure your Volvo workers’ compensation. Failure to timely follow these steps could compromise your chances of recovering the benefits to which you are entitled.
- Seek medical care. Immediately after an accident, see a doctor selected from a list approved by your employer. They will document your injury, which will help your workers’ comp claim.
- Report your injury. Within 90 days, report your injury to Volvo or your immediate supervisor. This report will be a critical part of the record and can be used as evidence for or against your case. While it is advisable to submit your report early, you would be well served to consult a lawyer before filing it.
- File a claim. File your claim for benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Commission within 2 years of your accident.
- Contact a workers’ comp attorney if your claim is denied.
Read our guide on what to do after a work injury or illness in SC.
Since witness memories fade over time, it is usually advisable to file your claim early. However, some injuries or illnesses (cumulative trauma injuries like carpal tunnel) develop over time so that they are not manifested when, arguably, the 2-year period starts to run. You should keep a log of the time and date when you first notice symptoms.
Were you injured working at BMW? Find out how to receive maximum workers’ comp benefits.
Contact an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney
Personal injury tort cases are complex enough with their medical issues. Some workers’ comp cases entail the additional burden of proving the injury or illness arose out of and in the course of employment.
Volvo’s insurance provider does not like to pay claims. They will take advantage of mistakes or any factual weaknesses in your claim.
Difficult cases require the services of a skilled workers’ comp lawyer and expert testimony of a medical professional with workers’ comp experience. You should consult a lawyer soon after your injury to ensure your chance at compensation.
If you’re injured on the job while working at Volvo, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Chappell, Chappell and Newman. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for injured workers across the state of South Carolina, and we’d love the opportunity to help you, too. We can negotiate with Volvo on your behalf to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for your free consultation.