[ COLUMBIA, S.C. April 26, 2011] – By July 1, 2011, mail carrying “required information” may not reach the South Carolina Second Injury Fund (SIF). With the enactment of § 42-7-320, an employer, self-insurer or insurance carrier must have submitted all required information for consideration of accepting a claim to the Second Injury Fund. According to § 42-7-320(B)(2), failure to submit all required information to the fund by June 30, 2011, shall bar an employer, self-insurer or insurance carrier from recovery from the fund.
The SIF functions within the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system. Its mission is to protect employers from the higher cost of insurance that can occur when an injury combines with a prior disability that results in substantially increased medical or disability costs.
What does this mean practically speaking? If an employer had a qualifying injury (one that meets the Act’s requirements and occurred on or before June 30, 2008) and was able to submit a notice for the claim before the December 31, 2010 deadline, then the employer must provide all supporting evidence for the claim by June 30, 2011. The SIF will need medical records, pleadings, affidavits, medical questionnaires’, deposition transcripts and anything else needed for consideration to support the claim. The SIF has verified that it will not accept any documents after June 30, 2011.
The SIF interprets § 42-7-320 (B)(2) to mean the information must be received by June 30. Without knowing how the Courts will interpret a challenge to this section, Collins & Lacy recommends submitting all required information in support of the claim by the June 30, 2011 deadline, just to be safe. Action (or inaction) now can make the difference in an accepted claim or a denied claim after July 1, 2011. So, send out medical questionnaires, request hearing transcripts and medical subpoenas immediately. With roughly 10 weeks remaining, time is of the essence. Consider sending your records and material through some verification of receipt; certified mail, tracking or confirm receipt by telephone call or fax. It is also suggested to verify with the SIF what information it already has on file to make sure previously sent material reached the Fund.
Christian Boesl is a shareholder and chair of the Employment Law Practice Group for Collins & Lacy. His practice focus includes both employment law and workers’ compensation law. For more information, contact him at (803) 256-2660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.