Have You Been Injured on The Job in South Carolina?
Seek Help from J. Bradley Baker, LLC
When you’ve been hurt on the job, you are likely facing serious pain and mounting medical bills. Added to this is the possibility of a drawn-out legal battle and the additional stress that comes along with that. Making the decision to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in South Carolina can make a huge impact on your case.
Sustaining an injury in the workplace can impact your livelihood and health. Many workers may even be unaware that the injuries they have sustained may entitle them to worker’s compensation. Some of the most common workplace accidents include:
- Lifting Injuries
- Trips, Slips And Falls
- Being Struck By Or Caught In Moving Machinery
- Vehicle Related Accidents
- Fire And Explosions
- Repetitive Stress and Overexertion Injuries
Our workers’ compensation attorney can help you:
- Walk through the workers’ comp application
- Seek maximum compensation for your damages
- Make sure all of your injuries are properly documented
- Send you to a vocational professional who can help strengthen your claim
- Fight against the wrongful denial of benefits
- Fight for the medical treatment you need
- Legitimize your injuries
- Verify your compensation rate
- Fight for future medical care benefits
- Protect your physical and psychological needs
If you were injured by a third-party, you may be able to file a personal injury claim in addition to a workers’ comp claim.
How Do I Know I’m Eligible to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?
In South Carolina, all employers who employ 4 or more workers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Workers’ compensation insurance is not required for the following:
- Agricultural employees
- Railroad employees
- Unpaid volunteers
- Business owners, partners, or sole proprietors
In general, as long as you do not fall into any of the above categories, your employer should be carrying workers’ compensation insurance. If you have been injured on the job, you will most likely be eligible to receive compensation.
What Am I Entitled to If I Have a Work Injury?
If you have been injured at work or while performing a work duty, it is important that you know your rights as an injured worker. Your employer is responsible for providing you with the medical treatment necessary following your on-the-job injury. Normally, this is handled and coordinated by workers’ compensation insurance.
You are also allowed the following rights under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act:
- Recovery of medical expenses
- Temporary total compensation for lost time
- Permanent disability benefits if you have suffered a permanent injury
- You have the right to choose a physician to evaluate your disability, however, this will not be covered by the employer.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be eligible for the following:
- Mileage for travel to and from medical treatment that is more than five miles from your home
- Lost wages or income at two-thirds of your average weekly wage
- Compensation based on your disability
- Death and funeral benefits for surviving family members
Other factors that may affect your workers’ comp award can include your work history, your educational background, and the type of work you were performing at the time of your injury. Whether or not you are able to earn the same income following your injury can also be significant. In some cases, the commission can determine that an injured worker is unable to return to work in any capacity following an accident, in which case you may be able to recover permanent disability benefits.
How Does the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim Process Work?
If you have been injured while at work, you should report your injury to your employer immediately. According to the Workers’ Compensation Commission, South Carolina requires employees to report their injuries within 90 days. Although you have up to 2 years to file your actual workers’ compensation claim, reporting your injury as soon as possible is the first crucial step.
After reporting your injury to your employer, the following process should be followed:
- Your employer should provide you with the necessary forms to fill you
- Your employer should also submit their own forms to their insurance company
- If your employer fails to file the forms on your behalf, you are also able to file the Form 50 or Form 52 (found on the WCC website) directly with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
- You should receive an answer from the insurance company within 2 to 4 weeks stating whether your claim has been approved or denied
- If your claim was approved you will begin receiving benefits
- If your claim was denied you will be given the opportunity to appeal your denial
At this point in the process, it is extremely important to consider hiring a trained workers’ compensation attorney who is able to help gather evidence and details to support your claim and represent you in your appeals hearing. Failing to properly prepare for your hearing may result in you being denied workers’ compensation benefits once again. You don’t have to face this process alone. We’re here to help!
What is the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Process?
If your claim has been denied, you do have opportunity to appeal the decision.
1. Filing a Claim – You or your employer may submit a Form 50 with the Workers’ Compensation Commission of South Carolina, which lays out the basics of your accident and injuries and any treatment received/needed.
2. Counter-evidence – The insurance carrier will then have an opportunity to agree or disagree with your statement by filing their own form.
3. Being Assigned a Commissioner – After both forms have been filed, your case will be assigned to a Commissioner who will research your case and then schedule a hearing (about 3-5 months later) where you will be given opportunity to present your case.
4. The Hearing/Appeal – After the hearing the Commissioner will give an Opinion and Award in which they declare their ruling and financial reward (if any) that will be offered to you. If you are unsatisfied with the Commissioner’s ruling, you will be given opportunity to file an appeal for up to 14 days after the ruling.
This is a complicated process and it’s important to provide ample evidence to ensure that your hearing goes well. We are prepared to guide you through the appeal process! Contact our workers’ comp lawyers today.
I’ve Been Hurt on the Job. What Should I Do?
Before you contact the workers’ compensation lawyer, J. Bradley Baker, it is important that you report your work sustained injury to a supervisor as soon as possible. It is also important that you inform your employer of all the problems you are having following the accident. Often, an employer will prepare a written report which you should review to ensure its accuracy.
If your injury is properly handled, and insurance agrees to send you for treatment, it is important that you inform the doctor of all of the problems you are having, whether it’s radiating pain, sharp pain, headaches, or other trauma, including loss of sleep and psychological issues.