Depending on the facts and circumstances of your injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, which will help you and your family get by during this tough time.
Because every case is unique, reaching out to an Easley personal injury lawyer is crucial. Your attorney may be able to help you file multiple types of lawsuits in order to recover the maximum compensation you need and deserve.
Workers’ compensation aims to help workers financially get by while they are out of work and healing from their workplace injuries. Individuals who qualify for workers’ compensation while at home or in the hospital recovering typically receive compensation to cover part of their lost income and all of the authorized medical expenses.
The last thing the state of South Carolina wants is for our workers to be going through a challenging healing process while also worrying or stressing over how they will pay for their medical bills as well as feed their families.
South Carolina residents who become injured on the job may be eligible for three different types of benefits.
Cover and pay for your medical bills and expenses. This includes emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, physician appointments, prescriptions, and more.
The lost income benefit will cover two-thirds (⅔) of your lost wages while you can’t work. It is important that your income prior to the accident is verified as often the insurance companies undervalue wages and this affects the weekly checks an injured worker receives.
Injured workers are also entitled to payment for the permanent disability caused by the work accident. This can be what is referred to as “total permanent disability” for those who can prove that their injuries are very serious, resulting in them never being able to return to their current job or work anywhere else again. It can also be “partial permanent disability” for an injured worker who has a serious injury to a body part but can work at a job.
It is important to keep in mind that the amount of money or benefits that you are eligible for depends on various details and factors, such as how much money you made before your injury/accident, how severe your injuries are, and whether or not you can continue working or return to work in the future.
South Carolina’s rule is that businesses and companies with at least four employees must cover workers’ compensation. Family members and part-time employees who work for a company with more than four employees are also considered employees. However, if the company makes less than $3,000 a year, it does not have to provide its employees with workers’ compensation benefits. Other exemptions include:
If you work for a company that employs at least four employees and does not fall under any of these exemptions, there is a high likelihood that you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina. A few other eligibility requirements include:
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina involves several different steps.
You must seek medical treatment for your work-related injuries and illnesses immediately after your accident. You do not want to put this off, or your claim may be denied due to the assumption that you were not seriously injured enough to need medical attention following your work-related incident.
As you receive medical treatment, you should collect as much evidence as possible in support of your case. Evidence can include hospital bills, doctor notes, prescriptions, and treatment plan details. By collecting this information, you can use it to support your workers’ compensation claim, prove that your injuries are severe enough to be out of work, and collect workers’ compensation.
You have 90 days from the date of injury to notify your employer about your work-related accident and injuries. You must tell your supervisor, manager, or work nurse about your injuries or illness within 90 days. If you do not do this in time, you will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
In South Carolina, it is your employer’s responsibility to file your workers’ compensation claim. If they do not do this, you can file the claim independently. To do this, you will need to fill out and submit Form 50, which asks you about your injuries, workplace accidents, who you made the report to, and more.
If you are unsure about the questions on this form, an Easley, SC workers’ compensation lawyer will gladly assist you and file the claim on your behalf.
Employers and insurance companies can sometimes be difficult to work with regarding workers’ compensation claims. If this is the case for you, you can request and attend a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
After you attend this hearing and present your evidence and documentation, they will decide whether you will receive workers’ compensation benefits and how much. Your Easley, SC workers’ compensation attorney will represent you during this hearing, ensuring that your side of the story is told and that your rights are protected.
You will then receive a decision regarding your workers’ compensation benefits. Keep in mind that it is not an easy task to get workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, it is not uncommon for injured workers to be unhappy with the initial decision that they receive. However, you can appeal that decision and fight for better results if you desire.
You have two years from the date of injury or accident to file a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina. While 24 months after your accident may seem like a long time, this deadline can easily slip your mind when dealing with other important things. If this happens, you can no longer file a claim or receive workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related injury.
That said, the sooner you can reach out to an Easley, SC workers’ compensation lawyer, the sooner you may obtain benefits and get back on your feet after the accident.
When going through the workers’ compensation process, it is important to be prepared and organized. Your attorney will ask for certain documentation you will likely need to submit as proof of your injury. This necessary documentation includes the following.
Medical reports are essential in proving that you have an injury, the severity of your injury, the length of time it may take you to heal, and the type of treatment plan you are following. You may also collect medical bills, prescriptions, doctor’s notes, and medical reports.
Incident reports are another critical piece of information that you need. This will show that you reported the incident to your manager, supervisor, or on-the-job nurse. It may also give details about what happened during the accident.
Witness statements are important because they show that what you say is correct and factual. Therefore, if another person, such as a coworker, saw your accident, you may want to use them as eyewitnesses to back up your side of the story and explain what happened during the incident at work.
Your employer has workers’ compensation coverage through their insurance company. Therefore, they will inform their insurance company about your workplace accident and injuries. After they have done that, the insurance company will review the details of your workers’ compensation claim to determine if you will or will not receive workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your medical expenses and partially cover your lost wages.
Insurance companies can be challenging. Agents are trained to use specific tactics to encourage you to say that your injuries are less severe than you initially thought. Anything you say to them will likely be recorded and used against you. That said, it is highly recommended that you allow an Easley, SC workers’ compensation attorney to handle all forms of communication with the insurance company to ensure that you do not say the wrong things and jeopardize your case.
Many people do not realize that they do not have to accept a denied workers’ compensation claim. These claims are often denied for various reasons, such as mistakes or errors, insufficient injury information, or even failure to meet deadlines. However, you can appeal a denied claim if you believe the decision is unfair and inaccurate.
You will first need to request and attend a hearing with a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission commissioner. If the commissioner still does not approve your claim, you must appeal their decision and request a hearing with the entire Commission. If the entire commission continues to deny your claim, the next step will be to appeal your claim to the Court of Appeals.
If the Court of Appeals does not rule in your favor, the last and final step is to take your claim to the South Carolina Supreme Court. As you can see, this can be a long and difficult process, but a workers’ compensation lawyer will remain by your side, supporting you and presenting the facts and details of your case to secure the best outcome possible.
Check out the South Carolina workers’ compensation website for resources and assistance to help you through this process. You can find answers to frequently asked questions if you are an injured worker. Other links and resources are also available from the state.
Were you recently injured at work? The Easley, SC workers’ compensation attorneys at Smith Jordan Law are here for you. If you choose to work with us, you can rest assured that you’re working with dependable lawyers who can handle any obstacle or challenge that arises along the way. Call our firm at (864) 343-2222 or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation today.