A Guide to Calculating Workers’ Comp in South Carolina

A Guide to Calculating Workers’ Comp in South Carolina

After sustaining a work-related injury, figuring out how much your workers compensation claim may be worth is probably one of your main concerns. However, there is no definite way of assigning a dollar amount to your workers’ comp claim without analyzing the unique factors used to determine how much you will be paid. It is even more puzzling that just because someone else suffered a similar injury as yours does not mean your case is calculated with the same value as any other. Learn how workers’ comp claims are calculated in South Carolina and see how an attorney can help you ensure you are paid fairly.


In South Carolina, workers’ compensation is calculated based on several factors, starting with the employee’s average weekly wage. This amount is determined by the employee’s wages over the last four quarters before the injury occurred, excluding the quarter when the worker got hurt. That will help determine your temporary total disability benefits, sometimes called your “comp rate,” meaning the amount of each weekly check you may receive if you miss eight or more work days due to your injury.

Employees are entitled to receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage as temporary total disability compensation for their injuries. For example, suppose you have been making an average weekly wage of $600 before your injury. You may receive two-thirds of that amount, or $400, as a weekly workers’ compensation check.

The maximum amount of compensation an employee can receive every week is set by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. This amount is based on the state’s average weekly wage, which the Commission determines yearly. As of 2022, the maximum weekly compensation rate is capped at $1035.78. This maximum amount can change from year to year, so it is always wise to check for the most updated rate.


Another factor used to calculate workers’ compensation payments is called impairment. Impairment is the reduction in the employee’s ability to perform their job due to a work-related injury or illness. Medical impairment measures the extent to which your strength and mobility have been permanently affected by your injury. From there, your medical impairment is measured against your workers’ comp disability rating, which measures how your injury has affected your ability to do your job and enjoy life in general.

This is important because not every medical impairment necessarily means a worker’s essential job functions will be deeply affected. For example, if you have a broken arm and have been given a 25% medical impairment rating, you may be dealing with a significantly higher work disability if, for example, you are a construction worker who relies on your arms and hands to operate machinery as opposed to an office worker who spends the day answering phone calls.

Another important term to understand in the context of workers’ comp claims is Maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is defined as the point when a workers’ comp doctor determines that the employee’s condition is not expected to improve any further, meaning an injured employee has recovered as much as possible and that any further treatment is unlikely to result in significant improvement.

If you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement, your workers’ comp doctor may re-assess your situation and determine if you can be released back to your normal work duties (which would likely end your workers’ comp payments) or if you should be considered for permanent partial or total disability benefits if your injury has resulted in a permanent partial or total disability that prevents you from continuing to do the type of work you were doing before you got hurt.


South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws have a unique component referred to as the scheduled loss law. This happens to be another crucial factor in determining how much you may receive in workers’ compensation payments. The scheduled loss law establishes the value for each of the body parts that are most commonly injured at work, along with a maximum time limit measured in weeks. This helps determine the percentage of loss of use of an affected body part.

For example, the maximum value for the total loss of an arm is 200 weeks (if your injury resulted in the complete loss of your arm or its functions), whereas the loss of a leg is 195 weeks. If you have only partially lost the function of a body part (such as due to a 20% disability on your shoulder), the percentage of loss is used as a component to calculate our permanent disability compensation when applicable. Workers who sustained serious injuries may be entitled to additional benefits, such as total disability, compensation for wage loss, and additional compensation for injuries that affected more than one body part.


Every workers’ comp case is as unique as the workers filing for them, so it may be confusing to try to understand exactly how much you will be receiving for your case. In addition, it is not uncommon for workers to be paid less than what they deserve due to an error, oversight, or even bad faith on the part of the insurance company.

At the Eller Frye Law Firm, our attorneys assist injured workers in Greenville, South Carolina, to file for workers’ comp and receive every dollar that they are entitled to. If you have questions about your workers’ comp claim, reach out to our firm at (864) 686-4827.


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