Rock Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
The right to earn a living free from the fear of injury is central to the laws in Rock Hill and throughout the state of South Carolina. While some jobs are naturally dangerous, workers should still be able to have peace of mind, knowing that they are protected by a workers’ compensation insurance policy. In fact, all employers with at least four employees are required to obtain these policies. Workers’ compensation provides medical care and income reimbursement in case of an on-the-job injury.
However, obtaining the full extent of these benefits can be complicated. Insurance companies and employers may argue that your injury is not work-related. Other cases may see insurers offering a settlement package that is insufficient for your needs. Always remember that all employees have the right to appeal a denial.
A Rock Hill workers’ compensation lawyer could discuss what to do after an accident and help you seek the full workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. This includes helping you file an initial claim and examining the reasons for any denial. Get in touch with one of our skilled personal injury lawyers.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is used to help employees seek restitution after an on-the-job injury. All employers in Rock Hill with four or more employees are required to provide this insurance, per S.C. Code § 42-1-360. Additionally, all types of employees are entitled to potential benefits, including people who work desk jobs.
South Carolina allows injured employees to file a workers’ compensation claim without having to prove negligence. That means we don’t have to prove that your employer, another employee, a product malfunction, or other issue of negligence caused your accident. This ensures that you’re able to recover much-needed compensation as soon as possible.
If the claim is approved, an injured worker may receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and disability. In the event of a denial, employees should seek help from a lawyer familiar with workers’ compensation claims.
What does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
In South Carolina, there are four types of benefits that you may be provided through workers’ compensation:
When you suffer a work-related injury, you may need to undergo a variety of medical treatments to assess, fix, and heal your injuries. Even if your injuries are minor and you don’t need extensive treatment, you may still have medical bills you cannot afford. Workers’ compensation will cover all injury-related medical expenses, including the costs of:
- Doctors’ appointments
- Hospital stays
- Treatment and surgeries
- Medication and medical supplies
- Medical devices and prosthetics
- Travel expenses to and from appointments, treatment, and the pharmacy
The amount you may receive in medical benefits may depend on the severity of your injuries and the types of treatments you need.
If your work-related injury prohibits you from being able to work, you may be eligible to receive up to 66.66% of your average weekly wages, a benefit known as temporary partial disability. However, the maximum weekly payment for workers’ compensation in South Carolina in 2022 is $963.37 per week.
Some injured workers suffer severe injuries that put them out of work for months at a time. If you can return to work earning the same pre-injury amount, you will no longer be able to receive benefits.
Other employees suffer catastrophic injuries that take years to heal or never heal at all, leaving them permanently disabled. Depending on the severity of your injuries and your prognosis for recovery, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation income benefits for up to 500 weeks.
Wrongful Death Benefits
If you lost a loved one due to a work-related accident or injury, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation payments to cover medical bills and lost income. Surviving dependent family members can receive up to 500 weeks of 66.66% of the deceased’s pre-injury income, and the amount may be divided between dependents. What’s more, you may also be entitled to up to $12,000 in funeral expenses.
What Workers’ Compensation does Not Cover
Unfortunately, independent contractors are generally not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina. Neither are workers in certain industries, such as agriculture, railroad, and commission-paid real estate. However, there are case-by-case exceptions, which a workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm can help clarify.
Common Reasons for Work Injury Claim Denials in Rock Hill
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover any on-the-job injury that leaves an employee unable to work. While this appears to be a simple concept, the law allows insurance companies many potential paths to issue a denial.
First, it is important to understand what an injury is under workers’ compensation laws. According to South Carolina Code §42-1-160, an injury includes only harm that arises in the course of employment. Some common work injuries that we can help you recover workers’ compensation benefits for include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Illnesses developed due to exposure to harmful substances, like asbestos
Claimants cannot point to a mental health condition as an injury unless the workers can prove that the mental illness is out of the ordinary for their profession and was caused by performing their job. Stress injuries, such as heart attacks, can only serve as an on-the-job injury if they relate to performing one’s job and not, for instance, stress related to one’s job security.
Insurance companies may also dispute whether the injury happened on the job. To qualify for workers’ compensation, the accident must have occurred during working hours while the employee was performing normal job duties. Slips and falls in parking lots, injuries sustained while on break, and even injuries that happen while getting into uniform are all exempt from workers’ compensation coverage.
An experienced attorney could help victims examine the reasons for their workers’ compensation denials and prepare a case for an appeal.
What Steps Should an Employee Take Following a Denial of Benefits?
A denial of benefits or a rejection of a benefits package is not the end of a workers’ compensation case. Both workers and employers can appeal any decision made by a workers’ compensation insurance company. To begin the process, an employee must complete and submit Form 50. This form requires detailed information about the employee, their injuries, and how the injuries occurred.
Once a worker submits this form, the Commission would schedule an informal hearing. This is a chance for both parties to state their claims and potentially come to a settlement. If this fails to bring a resolution, the Commission could hold a formal appeal.
At these appeals, a commissioner may hear all the evidence and make a binding decision. Lawyers who focus on workers’ comp claims could help employees navigate the appeals process and fight for their benefits every step of the way.
Other Options for Seeking Adequate Compensation for Your Work Injury
One of the benefits of filing for workers’ compensation is that you can start receiving payments in a short amount of time. However, workers’ compensation is very limited in what you’re able to recover and how much.
Often, payments from workers’ compensation are not enough for individuals and families to keep up with regular expenses, pay bills, and live comfortably. Workers’ compensation also doesn’t pay for injury-related pain and suffering either. You may be able to seek additional compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent parties that caused the incident that injured you or took your loved one’s life.
If you accept workers’ compensation, you cannot sue your employer. In addition, there are additional stipulations that hinder an employee’s ability to hold their employer accountable for their injury and damages. But you may be able to file a lawsuit against other liable parties to recover a more just compensation amount.
Some parties we may be able to hold responsible for your injury or loved one’s workplace death include:
- A driver or other motorist
- A product or equipment manufacturer
- A property owner
- A contractor or subcontractor
How a Rock Hill Workers’ Compensation Attorney Might Help
Suffering an injury at work is often demoralizing. Not only will you require medical treatment, but you may lose out on significant income. Thankfully, most employers in the state are required to obtain a workers’ compensation insurance policy. However, the administrators of these policies may prove difficult to work with.
While you focus on healing from your injury, we’ll take care of:
- Gathering evidence of your work-related injury
- Guiding you through the filing process
- Filing forms on your behalf
- Handling all communications with your employer’s workers’ compensation provider
- Negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement as necessary
- Appealing denials and representing you in hearings
- Filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit
Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina
Let us answer some general questions about workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina before we discuss your specific case during your free, no-obligation case review:
What Should I Do After I’m Injured at Work?
After a workplace accident, injured employees should notify their supervisors immediately. If you need emergency care, seek medical attention immediately. If you do not need emergency care, ask for a referral to see the doctor of your employer’s choosing.
Continue seeking treatment and attending appointments per your doctor’s orders to keep healing and maintain your necessary benefits.
How Long do I Have to File My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Typically, you must report your injury no later than 90 days after an accident or after discovering a work-related illness, or you could lose your right to recover benefits. You have a maximum of two years from the date of the accident or date of your loved one’s work-related death to file a claim.
Can I Choose My Own Doctor?
Under the workers’ compensation system, employers have the right to select what doctor will treat their employees. However, they may agree to let you choose your own doctor, but the insurance provider may not pay for your injury-related medical treatments. The major exception is in the case of emergency care right after the injury occurs. That’s why it’s so important to contact your employer right after an injury occurs to get approval.
Can I Get a Second Opinion?
Yes, you can ask your employer’s insurance provider if they will allow you to see another doctor for a second evaluation of your injury. If the insurance provider denies your request, you can appeal the decision and argue your case with a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. A Rock Hill workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file an appeal and represent your needs during this hearing.
Schiller & Hamilton Is Ready to Take on Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you work with Schiller & Hamilton, your case will get our signature full-service approach, which involves us handling all legal and practical elements of an injury case. You can also reach your attorney 24/7 to ask questions and get case updates. We’re proud to offer our 20 years of experience for no upfront cost to you.
A Rock Hill workers’ compensation lawyer at Schiller & Hamilton could help if your claim was denied. They could examine the reasons for the denial, create a plan to appeal, and fight to bring you full compensation. Call today for a consultation with a team member.