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Workers' Compensation

South Carolina: No Death Benefits Where Girlfriend Fails to Show Adequate Reliance Upon Deceased Employee

The Supreme Court of South Carolina held a deceased employee’s girlfriend — early in the litigation, she had contended she was his common law wife — could not recover workers’ compensation death benefits because she had failed to show that she relied upon the deceased employee for “reasonable necessities of life.” The single commissioner had held that the girlfriend could not recover since she was involved in an “illicit relationship” as described in Day v. Day, 216 S.C. 334, 58 S.E.2d 83 (1950). The state’s court of appeals reversed, finding, in relevant part, that there had been no showing in the record of of fornication. The Supreme Court side-stepped the illicit relationship-fornication issue by stressing that since the girlfriend had no rights as surviving spouse, she was required to show actual dependence and that under the facts, she had failed to do so.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See York v. Longlands Plantation, 2020 S.C. LEXIS 28 (Mar. 4, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 97.06.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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