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Sponsors: Reps. Duckworth, Yow and Henegan
Document Path: l:\council\bills\agm\19041wab17.docx
Introduced in the House on January 10, 2017
Currently residing in the House Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry
Summary: Injury and personal injury definitions
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12/15/2016 House Prefiled 12/15/2016 House Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry 1/10/2017 House Introduced and read first time (House Journal-page 169) 1/10/2017 House Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry (House Journal-page 169) 2/8/2017 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Henegan
View the latest legislative information at the website
VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
TO AMEND SECTION 42-1-160, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE DEFINITIONS OF "INJURY" AND "PERSONAL INJURY" IN WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW, SO AS TO REVISE THE DEFINITIONS TO MODIFY THE REQUIREMENTS FOR FIREFIGHTERS SEEKING WORKERS' COMPENSATION FOR PERSONAL INJURY CAUSED BY POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER ARISING FROM HIS DIRECT INVOLVEMENT IN A SIGNIFICANT TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 42-1-160 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 42-1-160. (A) 'Injury' and 'personal injury' mean only injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment and shall not include a disease in any form, except when it results naturally and unavoidably from the accident and except such diseases as are compensable under the provisions of Chapter 11 of this title. In construing this section, an accident arising out of and in the course of employment includes employment of an employee of a municipality outside the corporate limits of the municipality when the employment was ordered by a duly authorized employee of the municipality.
(B)(1) Stress, mental injuries, and mental illness arising out of and in the course of employment unaccompanied by physical injury and resulting in mental illness or injury are not considered a personal injury unless the employee establishes, by a preponderance of the evidence:
1a) that the employee's employment conditions causing the stress, mental injury, or mental illness were extraordinary and unusual in comparison to the normal conditions of the particular employment; and
2b) the medical causation between the stress, mental injury, or mental illness, and the stressful employment conditions by medical evidence.
(2) The provisions of this item do not apply, however, if the employee is employed as a firefighter and if the impairment causing the stress, mental injury, or mental illness is medically diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder arising from the firefighter's direct involvement in a significant traumatic experience or situation, without regard to if the experience or situation was extraordinary or unusual in comparison to the normal working conditions of a firefighter's employment.
(C) Stress, mental injuries, heart attacks, strokes, embolisms, or aneurisms arising out of and in the course of employment unaccompanied by physical injury are not considered compensable if they result from any event or series of events which are incidental to normal employer/employee relations including, but not limited to, personnel actions by the employer such as disciplinary actions, work evaluations, transfers, promotions, demotions, salary reviews, or terminations, except when these actions are taken in an extraordinary and unusual manner.
(D) Stress, mental injuries, and mental illness alleged to have been aggravated by a work-related physical injury may not be found compensable unless the aggravation is:
(1) admitted by the employer/carrier;
(2) noted in a medical record of an authorized physician that, in the physician's opinion, the condition is at least in part causally related or connected to the injury or accident, whether or not the physician refers the employee for treatment of the condition;
(3) found to be causally related or connected to the accident or injury after evaluation by an authorized psychologist or psychiatrist; or
(4) noted in a medical record or report of the employee's physician as causally related or connected to the injury or accident.
(E) In medically complex cases, an employee shall establish by medical evidence that the injury arose in the course of employment. For purposes of this subsection, 'medically complex cases' means sophisticated cases requiring highly scientific procedures or techniques for diagnosis or treatment excluding MRIs, CAT scans, x-rays, or other similar diagnostic techniques.
(F) The word 'accident' as used in this title must not be construed to mean a series of events in employment, of a similar or like nature, occurring regularly, continuously, or at frequent intervals in the course of such employment, over extended periods of time. Any injury or disease attributable to such causes must be compensable only if culminating in a compensable repetitive trauma injury pursuant to Section 42-1-172 or an occupational disease pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 11 of this title.
(G) As used in this section
(1) 'Medical evidence' means expert opinion or testimony stated to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, documents, records, or other material that is offered by a licensed health care provider.
(2) 'Firefighter' means a firefighter employed by state or local government. A volunteer firefighter engaged by the state or local government is also considered a firefighter employed by the state or local government for purposes of this section."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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