South Carolina Court of Appeals Reverses State Worker’s Compensation Finding

anderson SC auto crash lawyer
Five Die in Fiery South Carolina Car Accident
April 21, 2016
Anderson SC workers' comp attorney
Construction Workers in South Carolina Are at Risk for Serious Workplace Injuries
May 30, 2016
Show all
anderson south carolina workers compensation attorney

workers comp lawyer in anderson sc

A recent decision handed down by the state’s Court of Appeals found that the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Commission erred when it required a claimant prove a change of condition by objective medical evidence. Objective medical evidence is documentation from tests such as, but not limited to, MRIs, x-rays, blood work, electrocardiograms (EKGs), and psychological examinations. The court found that, upon looking closely at the hearing transcript and order, the commission relied exclusively on MRI findings that failed to show claimant Paula Russell’s condition had worsened despite unanimous testimony from two physicians stating her medical condition had worsened.


The court reversed and remanded the case back to the commission. This means the appellate court ruled in the individual’s favor, and the commission must re-examine the claim with the court’s reasoning in mind.


What the Ruling Means


In the aftermath of the Russell case, it is reasonable to conclude that now an individual may prove a change of condition simply on subjective evidence when it is supported by uncontroverted medical evidence. In other words, the insurance company will carry the burden of challenging the evidence. In South Carolina, the recent Russell decision will likely not affect future worker’s compensation cases that are in litigation because state law requires the individual to show a change of condition by a preponderance of the evidence.


All in all, the take away from Russell is that if a medical professional finds the individual’s subjective complaints – in other words, self-reported complaints – enough to render an opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that a change in the medical condition has occurred, unless the insurance company provides evidence otherwise, the individual’s evidence is enough to establish the change. If several contradictory medical opinions are offered, it is then in the discretion of the commission to decide which opinion should be given greater weight.


Worker’s Compensation Help


Workers’ compensation law is complicated, as the law varies depending on the state in which the claimant resides. Likewise, the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim is tedious and can be both exhausting and frustrating for an injured or sick worker to attempt to navigate through. If you or someone you know has suffered a work-related injury or illness and needs to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, contact an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney with whom you can discuss your case right away. The skilled and aggressive attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven M Krause PA understand the law and can inform you of your legal rights – including whether or not you are entitled to benefits.


We help people like you every day.