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Talk is cheap, fines are not. So please call us… Please.

Robert Gruber

Some of you may have noticed that the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission seems to have changed some of its procedures recently.  For example, when filing Form 18s, the Workers’ Compensation Commission currently allows a 10 day grace period on either side of the due date. If you have a Form 18 due on July 22, 2015, you may file that Form 18 either after July 12, 2015 or before August 1, 2015. But, if you file it on July 10, 2015, for example, it will be deemed not timely filed and you will be assessed a $200.00 fine. This “grace period” used to be 14 days, and I cannot find any reference in the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation statute or the Regulation addressing any grace period at all. But, if you fall outside of this grace period, you will be fined.

Likewise, it used to be relatively easy to change a date of loss. A claimant files a claim alleging one date, the parties do a little bit of discovery and figure out it was actually a different date, the claimant used to be able to file an amended claim form or an amended Form 50 and the date of loss was changed without the need to change the workers’ compensation claim number. This too is no longer the case as the Commission now requires the parties to do one of two things.  The parties can file a Motion for the Commission to approve a Consent Order changing the date of loss.  The Commission will consider the Motion and sign the Order if it approves.  This method, of course, requires a $25.00 motion filing fee.  The other new way of changing a date of loss is for the carrier to file a Form 19 denying the claim with the erroneous date of loss after which the claimant must file a new claim letter or Form 50 alleging the new and correct date of accident. Once the F19 and new F50 are filed, the Commission will assign a new workers’ compensation claim number and the employer/carrier must file a new Form 12A and must establish the appropriate schedule for the filing of subsequent forms.  I could write a separate blog on the enormous troubles which can ensue if you have an incorrect date of loss on a claim, but I will refrain and simply submit that you really need to get the date of loss corrected as soon as you realize there is a problem.

Our failure to follow these rules can of course result in the imposition of significant fines. I have provided just two examples of how these rules have changed recently, and I am sure that there are others. Please call us if you have any questions about the filing for Forms or any other matter involving compliance with Commission Regulations. Talk is cheap and a telephone call to us is free if it involves a claim that we are not actually handling. We are always happy to help you save money and keep your files in order.