Don’t worry; I am not Nostradamus or Glenn Beck. I am not predicting the Federal Government will shut down because of a budget crisis (although I would not be surprised if it did), but I am predicting that mail carrying “required information” will not reach the South Carolina Second Injury Fund (SIF) after June 30, 2011. With the enactment of § 42-7-320 of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act in the 2007 Amendments, the legislature created the Sun-Set provisions for the SIF. One of those provisions § 42-7-320 (B)(2) provides:
An employer, self-insurer or insurance carrier must submit all required information for consideration of accepting a claim to the Second Injury Fund by June 30, 2011. Failure to submit all required information to the fund by June 30, 2011, so that the claim can be accepted, compromised or denied shall bar an employer, self-insurer or insurance carrier from recovery from the fund. (emphasis added).
What does this mean practically speaking? If you had a qualifying injury (one that meets the Act’s requirements and occurred on or before June 30, 2008) and you were able to submit a notice for the claim before the December 31, 2010 deadline, then you must provide all your supporting evidence for your claim by June 30, 2011. The SIF will need your medical records, pleadings, affidavits, medical questionnaires’, deposition transcripts and anything else you will need for consideration to support your claim. The SIF has verified that it will not accept any documents after June 30, 2011.
Without knowing how the Courts will interpret a challenge to this section, we recommend you submit your claims by the June 30th deadline, just to be safe. Send out your medical questionnaires, request your hearing transcripts, and send out those medical subpoenas immediately. With roughly 10 weeks remaining, time is of the essence. Your action (or inaction) now can make the difference in an accepted claim or a denied claim after July 1. Don’t be caught trying to argue to the Courts that the information you tried to send was post-marked by the June 30, 2011. The SIF interprets § 42-7-320 (B)(2) to mean the information must be received by June 30. Consider sending your records and material through some verification of receipt; certified mail, tracking or confirm receipt by telephone call or fax. You might also want to verify with the SIF what information it already has on file to make sure your previously sent material reached the fund.
No…the world won’t stop turning on July 1, 2011, but your world might come crashing down if you forget to get your SIF “required information” in by June 30, 2011.