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Workers' Compensation

Mar 18, 2020

Workers’ Compensation – Credibility – Medical Evidence – Objective Tests – Hearing Loss

  Regardless of the single commissioner’s opinion about the claimant’s “inconsistent performance” at his workers’ compensation hearing, objective medical tests showed that the claimant’s eardrums had been ruptured and that he had suffered profound hearing loss after an explosion at work. In light of the objective medical evidence, the claimant’s lack of credibility was not [&hel[...]

Mar 9, 2020

Workers’ Compensation – Death Benefits – ‘Dependent’ – Girlfriend – Legal Relationship or Affirmative Undertaking

  The decedent’s on again-off again relationship with the plaintiff-girlfriend did not qualify her as a “dependent” under the Workers’ Compensation Act since (1) there was neither a legal relationship nor an affirmative undertaking between them and (2) she cannot show either that she relied on the decedent for the reasonable necessities of life or […]

Jan 9, 2020

Workers’ Compensation – Successive Injuries – 500-Week Limit – Employer’s Credit

Claimant suffered five compensable injuries—two shoulder injuries and three back injuries—while working for the same employer; the fifth injury, a back injury, left him permanently, totally disabled. In this situation, the employer was entitled to a credit for the temporary total disability benefits claimant had already received for his fifth injury but not for the […]

Oct 10, 2019

Workers’ Compensation Work-Related Injuries – Permanency Determination – Motion to Recuse

Where workers’ compensation commissioner threatened claimant with referral for criminal prosecution unless he settled his case, commissioner erred in failing to refuse plaintiff’s motion for recusal. We reverse the decision of the court of appeals and vacate the orders of the commissioner and appellate panel entered against plaintiff. Plaintiff was a former lance corporal with […]

Sep 18, 2019

Workers’ Compensation Miner who smoked not entitled to black lung benefits

Where an administrative judge explained why an expert convincingly opined that a miner who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for 50 years did not suffer from black lung disease, the miner was not entitled to benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. Background Donald R. Bell Sr. worked as a coal miner for […]

Jul 8, 2019

Workers’ Compensation Adequate Notice – Reasonable Excuse – Supervisors’ Presence

Where (1) the claimant lost consciousness and fell to the ground in the presence of his two immediate supervisors, (2) the supervisors knew the claimant was hospitalized that day, and (3) the respondent-employer began an investigation into the claimant’s injury long before the claimant filed his formal notice, substantial evidence in the record does not […]

Jul 1, 2019

Workers’ Compensation – Administrative – Interlocutory Appeal – Unaddressed Claims

The Appellate Panel of the Workers’ Compensation Commission addressed only one of the several injuries alleged by the claimant. The Appellate Panel declined to address injuries asserted in the claimant’s Form 50 (as to which the claimant sought mediation) because they were not properly before the Appellate Panel. The employer’s appeal of this decision is […]

Jul 1, 2019

Workers’ Compensation – Claims – Second Injury – Impairment Ratings

We improvidently granted review of our Court of Appeals’ decision (The appellant-employee settled a workers’ compensation claim with the respondent-employer following a second injury to a body part that had been injured in a previous workplace incident. We are unable to discover any cases similar to the unique posture of this case, but the American […]

Apr 15, 2019

Workers’ Compensation—Prompt Resolution – Unreasonable Delay – Unnecessary Remands

This case involves an alleged change of condition in a workers’ compensation claim. Where the Court of Appeals remanded an appellate panel’s decision back to the Workers’ Compensation Commission based on that panel’s improper review of the single commissioner’s decision, the appellate panel should not have remanded for a de novo hearing before a second […]

Nov 1, 2018

Workers’ Compensation –Exclusivity Provision – Statutory Co-Employees – Co-Employees’ General Employer

Plaintiff’s decedent and defendant Mundy Maintenance’s employees were acting as defendant Eastman Chemical Company’s statutory employees when Mundy’s employees used a torch flame to heat a pipe and when the decedent subsequently performed maintenance on the pipe and it exploded, killing the decedent. However, the fact that Mundy’s employees and the decedent were statutory co-employees [&[...]

Jun 11, 2018

Workers’ Compensation – Death Benefits – Common Law Marriage – Fornication – Illicit Relationship

Although appellant sought workers’ compensation death benefits as the decedent’s common law wife, since there was no evidence of any acts of fornication, the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Appellate Panel erred in finding appellant and the decedent engaged in fornication. We reverse the denial of death benefits for appellant and remand for further proceedings. Day v. […]

Apr 5, 2018

Workers’ Compensation – Timeliness of Notice – Standard of Review – Substantial Evidence

Under well-settled law, the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s determination of whether a claimant gave timely notice under S.C. Code Ann. § 42-15-20 is not a jurisdictional determination and must be reviewed on appeal under the substantial evidence standard. We reverse the Court of Appeals’ application of the de novo standard of review and remand for a […]

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