After facing a workplace injury, you might wonder what the average workers’ compensation case is worth. In reality, there is no such thing as an average workers’ compensation settlement amount. Settlements do not get reported publicly, so there is no data on which we can perform calculations to arrive at an average case’s worth amount.
Additionally, even if there were an average amount, that would not be relevant to your case. The compensation you can receive will depend on the facts of your situation, not an average of other cases. Generally speaking, your potential case’s worth depends on your average pay before the injury, the seriousness of your injury, and other factors. To understand more about what you could receive, you need to know the types of benefits available under the workers’ compensation program in South Carolina.
Recovering Medical Expenses Through Workers’ Compensation Benefits
According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC), your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage must pay for all of the medical expenses needed to treat your injury. Therefore, if you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) but still need future or ongoing medical intervention because of your wounds, the insurance company might also have to cover that cost.
Medical expenses can include ambulance, emergency room or trauma center visits, appointments with a doctor, hospital stays, surgery, diagnostic procedures, imaging studies like magnetic resonance imaging studies (MRIs) and x-rays, and more. Physical therapy and pain management could also be covered.
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Temporary Total Compensation
If you cannot work while recuperating from your injuries and medical treatments, you could qualify for temporary total (TT) incapacity payments. These cash payments help replace some, but not 100 percent, of your pre-tax paychecks until you can return to work. In addition, your employer could offer you to work on “limited duty” until you can resume your previous duties.
Be aware that you cannot work at another job while receiving total temporary compensation checks. The concept behind total temporary compensation is that you cannot work because of your injuries. If you can work, you probably do not qualify for total temporary incapacity compensation, but you might permanently lose function from the injury.
Permanent Disability Compensation
At some point, your treating workers’ compensation physician will certify that you have achieved maximum medical improvement. This means that you have completed your prescribed medical treatment, and the doctor does not expect you to get any better. In some situations, the worker completely recovers from their wounds and is functioning at 100 percent of the level they enjoyed before the injury.
Sometimes, however, the worker has some residual impairment from their wounds. Therefore, the treating doctor will assess and assign to the worker what is called an “impairment rating.” The impairment rating calculates the worker’s degree of disability going forward.
The impairment rating gets converted into a disability calculation for workers’ compensation settlement purposes. If the situation warrants it, the worker could receive a one-time payment of their workers’ compensation disability claim. However, disputes often arise because the boss and the worker disagree on what constitutes a fair settlement of the claim. An attorney can help you with any necessary mediation or litigation involved in these disputes.
Important Rules of the Workers’ Compensation Program
If you face an on-the-job injury, you may need to seek benefits from the South Carolina workers’ compensation program in South Carolina. In that case, there are many rules you need to know about. After all, an honest mistake could jeopardize your right to benefits.
- You must have a job-related injury or illness. In other words, your wounds or medical condition must have arisen out of and in the course of your employment. However, an employee who gets hurt while engaging in horseplay might not have coverage under the workers’ compensation program.
- You must report the injury immediately to your supervisor. Often, your boss will have a paper form you must complete and turn in.
- Your employer will have a list of approved healthcare providers for injuries covered by the workers’ compensation program. You cannot use your own personal physician unless they happen to be on this list. If you get non-emergency medical treatment from a healthcare provider who is not on the list, you might have to pay those expenses out of your own pocket.
There are many other important things to know when you’re filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you work with a lawyer, they can explain everything you need to know and ensure your case is on track.
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At Schiller & Hamilton, we fight hard for injured workers to receive the compensation they deserve for workplace injuries. If you’re facing long-term impairment and are wondering how to cover your bills, we can help. You can reach out to us today for a free initial consultation. The call comes with no obligation.