Premium deductions from installer's paycheck secures coverage
Case name: Langdale v. Harris Carpets, No. 4853 (S.C. Ct. App. 07/20/11).
Ruling: The South Carolina Court of Appeals held that an installer was entitled to coverage under his employer's workers' compensation policy.
What it means:
In South Carolina, if an employer withdraws workers' compensation premiums from a worker's paycheck, the employer must cover the worker's work-related injuries.
A flooring installer working as an independent contractor for a carpet business injured his left leg while carrying tiles down a flight of stairs. The installer had worked full time for the business for two years. He paid 10 percent of his earnings to the business to secure workers' compensation insurance. The business contracted with a company to provide human resources services and to provide the business's workers with workers' compensation coverage. The installer sought workers' compensation. Both the business and the company refused to provide coverage for his injuries. The South Carolina Court of Appeals held that the business and the company were required to cover the installer's workers' compensation.
The court found that the business acted as an agent for the company when it withheld premiums from the installer's paycheck. The business performed duties on behalf of the company when it deducted money from its employees and contractors to pay the company. The company acted on behalf of the business when it provided workers' compensation insurance to the business's workers.
There was conflicting evidence as to whether the manager of the business informed the company that the installer was covered under its workers' compensation policy. The court concluded that the business advised the company that he was to be covered. Since the business was insured by the company at the time of the accident, the company had to provide coverage for the installer's accident. The court noted that the installer refused to sign a waiver declining workers' compensation coverage because he wanted to be covered under the business's policy. The installer relied upon the representation that he was covered.
The court found that he was entitled to temporary total disability benefits. The installer was not released to return to work and he regularly saw his surgeon. The installer said he was still in pain and had work limitations, including bending his knee and squatting.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 15, 2011
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