The Judicial Department is responsible for scheduling, monitoring, and reviewing all informal conferences and contested workers' compensation cases. The department's work is divided between three adjudication processes:
An Informal Conference is scheduled in an admitted case when the employee has been released by the treating physician to return to work. A Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner presides over the conference to review the case and determine if any further benefits are due. The employee or the employer's representative may request an Informal Conference. The employee may request a conference by writing a letter to the Commission; the employer's representative may request a conference on a Form 18.
If the issues are not resolved at the Informal Conference, the case is set before the Jurisdictional Commissioner for a hearing.
The Workers' Compensation Commission conducts hearings to resolve disputes between employees and employers. An employee may request a hearing if the employer does not report the accident, denies the injury occurred by accident or is work-related, or if the employee believes that he or she did not receive all due benefits. To request a hearing, complete Form 50.
Hearings are conducted by one of seven commissioners who rotate between seven regional districts every two months.
Appeals and Mediations
A commissioner’s decision in a case may be appealed by the employer or the claimant to a panel of three commissioners, and then to a panel of six commissioners, also known as the Full Commission. The commissioner whose decision was appealed does not sit on the appellate panel.
Appeals from a decision and order issued by a single commissioner must be filed within 14 days. Appeals from decisions handed down by a panel of three commissioners or by the Full Commission must be filed with the circuit court within 30 days for injuries that occurred prior to July 1, 2007. Decisions of the circuit court may be appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court. Appeals from decisions handed down by a panel of three commissioners or by the Full Commission for injuries that occured after July 1, 2007 must be filed with the Court of Appeals. There is no appeal beyond the state Supreme Court.
To file an appeal, complete Form 30.
In an effort to save parties to a claim time and expense, the Commission offers free mediation. If you are interested in requesting mediation services please contact Judicial Director, Virginia Crocker.
Virginia L. Crocker, Judicial Director