When it comes to workers' compensation law, states have varying applications with regard to disputed issues. In general, though, what must be proven is the injury or illness was caused or compounded by work-related duties or functions, and that the individual seeking to collect has legal standing to do so.
A recent case before the South Carolina Court of Appeals posed some interesting issues with regard to these elements, but the claimant still prevailed.
In Thomas v. 5 Star Transportation, claimant was the widow of a worker who died in a traffic accident while driving a tour bus for his employer. But the case was complicated by two central facts:
- The worker had suffered a brain aneurysm around the time of his death, though it could not definitively be proven it happened before the crash.
- The woman who sought spousal benefits was not in fact married to decedent, as his divorce to his previous was not final at the time of their wedding - a fact she didn't learn until after he died.
Yet, claimant was able to succeed in securing workers' compensation death benefits, but it didn't come without a vigorous fight by the employer.