On June 25, 2007, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford signed workers’ compensation reform legislation into law. The new law:
- Terminates the Second Injury Fund;
- Allows insurers and employers to challenge a presumption of total and permanent disability when a worker suffers a 50% or more disability to his or her back;
- Permits claim adjusters to speak to claimants’ doctors;
- When physical trauma is absent, it requires workers to prove with a preponderance of evidence that mental injury and stress are caused by their jobs;
- Eliminates one level of appeal;
- Requires that repetitive trauma claims be supported by medical evidence;
- Increases penalties for fraud.
Most provisions of the new laws took effect on 7/1/2007 and apply to all employers in the state.The last date the Second Injury Fund can accept qualifying claims is 7/1/2008, and the Fund will be completely terminated by 7/1/2013.