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May 23, 2000
S. Printed 5/23/00--S. [SEC 5/24/00 3:29 PM]
Read the first time February 9, 2000.
TO AMEND SECTION 42-1-560, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO RIGHTS AND REMEDIES OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION CLAIMANTS AGAINST THIRD PARTIES, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT, IN CASES INVOLVING A PROGRESSIVE DISEASE IN WHICH A CLAIM FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION DOES NOT VEST UNTIL THE EMPLOYEE BECOMES DISABLED OR A CARRIER ADMITS LIABILITY, AND A THIRD PARTY ACTION IS LIKELY TO BE BARRED BY AN APPLICABLE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS BEFORE THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM VESTS, AN EMPLOYEE, HIS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, OR OTHER PERSON WHO HAS A RIGHT TO RECOVER DAMAGES FOR INJURY, LOSS OF SERVICE, OR DEATH FROM ANY PERSON OTHER THAN THE EMPLOYER, MAY INSTITUTE AN ACTION AT LAW AGAINST THIRD PARTIES BEFORE AN AWARD FOR THE DISEASE IS MADE AND PROSECUTE IT TO ITS FINAL DETERMINATION WITHOUT BEING BARRED FROM RECEIVING WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS FOR THE DISEASE WHEN THE CLAIM VESTS, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION HAS JURISDICTION IN SUCH CASES TO APPROVE SETTLEMENTS AND ATTORNEYS FEES IN CONNECTION WITH CLAIMS AND ACTIONS AGAINST THIRD PARTIES.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 42-1-560 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"(i) In cases involving a progressive disease in which a claim for compensation under this title does not vest until the employee becomes disabled or a carrier admits liability and a third party action is likely to be barred by an applicable statute of limitations before the employee's claim vests, an employee, his personal representative, or other person who has a right to recover damages for injury, loss of service, or death from any person other than the employer, may institute an action at law against third parties before an award for the disease is made under this title and prosecute it to its final determination without being barred from receiving benefits for the disease under this title when the claim vests. In the event that a settlement with a third party or a judgment against a third party is obtained before workers' compensation benefits have been fully paid to the claimant, the commission may, upon request, prior to payment of benefits to which the claimant has proven entitlement, decide the carrier's entitlement to a credit for the claimant's third party recovery against benefits the employee may receive under the workers' compensation act."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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