Nobody goes into work expecting to be injured on the job. Nonetheless, accidents still occur, even when employees exercise expected levels of caution.
When a person suffers a serious injury on the job in South Carolina, they are very likely to become overwhelmed with a number of immediate concerns. In addition to wondering when they will be able to return to work, people also have to try and determine how they will be able to pay their bills while injuries heal.
South Carolina workers’ compensation system is set up such that employees can receive benefits regardless of fault. Many people struggle to complete and submit applications and required forms. Such delays could ultimately lead to claims being rejected.
Were you or your loved one seriously injured on the job in South Carolina? Contact Schiller & Hamilton as soon as possible for help navigating the workers’ compensation process so you can recover all of the benefits you are entitled to.
Reporting a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Any person who is injured on the job should immediately report the injury to their employer and seek medical attention. Try to make a copy of the written report provided to your employer for your own records.
As the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission notes, failure to report an injury within 90 days of an accident can lead to possible loss of benefits. Injured workers generally have up to two years to file claims for workers’ compensation benefits.
Injured workers must submit either a Form 50 (or Form 52 in the case of a death of a loved one) to the Commission in order to file a claim. Anybody who has difficulty downloading these forms can contact the Commission to have the forms physically mailed to them.
When to Report a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Anyone injured at work should file a workers’ compensation claim, but it is especially important for people who believe their injuries will result in lengthy periods in which they will not be able to work. Claims should be filed as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that South Carolina has a seven-day waiting period that applies to workers’ compensation benefits. People who are out of work for more than 14 days can receive retroactive compensation for the first seven days.
The employer has 10 days to inform the Commission of the on-the-job injury. An injured worker may have to file their own claim if the employer fails to report the injury within this timeframe, the employer denies responsibility for the injury, or the worker does not believe they are getting the full benefits they are entitled to.
How Our Lawyers Can Help With Workers’ Compensation Claims
While the South Carolina workers’ compensation process is intended to be a straightforward way for employees to recover the benefits owed to them, it is not uncommon for people to encounter any one of a number of possible issues. An experienced South Carolina workplace injury attorney will know how to deal with the problems that may arise and can help you recover as much compensation as possible.
One of the primary benefits of hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer is that you will be working with somebody who has a thorough understanding of the system because of prior experience. An attorney will know when physicians need to provide fuller statements regarding injuries or provide important paperwork.
Certain cases may also involve hearings, depositions, or other proceedings. Claimants can benefit by having legal counsel to avoid possibly saying anything that might damage their claims.
Perhaps most importantly, a lawyer can represent the injured worker in any lump-sum settlement negotiations. Insurance companies for businesses like dealing with people who do not have legal representation because they can often be pressured into accepting settlements that are much less than what they are actually entitled to. An attorney will have a much better idea of the true value of your case and fight to recover a fair and full settlement or, if necessary, seek benefits through the workers’ compensation hearing and appeals system.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Process in SC
In general, most employers in South Carolina are legally required to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Certain exemptions exist for independent contractors, casual employees, and members of one of nine groups established under South Carolina Code § 42-1-360.
For most injured workers, it will be important to follow these major steps after an accident in the workplace that results in injuries:
- Seek Medical Attention — Regardless of how badly you think you were hurt (or even if you do not think you were harmed at all), you should still have your condition reviewed by a medical professional. Certain injuries may involve delayed symptoms.
- Inform Your Employer — Your employer has the obligation to report your injury to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. While injured workers are afforded up to 90 days to report injuries, you should do this as soon as possible.
- Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer — Your employer may provide you with paperwork you will be expected to complete. In some cases, the employer may not be willing to cooperate. Injured workers may then need to take other actions on their own in order to obtain their benefits. An experienced attorney will know how to respond to each of these situations as they arise and can help guide you toward the most favorable resolution to your case.
Another highly important reason to retain legal counsel following an injury on the job concerns possible third-party claims relating to your injury. Injured workers are entitled to compensation at a rate of two-thirds of their average weekly wage based on the four quarters prior to their injury — and workers’ compensation benefits cannot exceed the maximum average weekly wage determined annually by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
If a worker’s injury was the result of a third party’s negligence, such as a negligent contractor or a defective mechanical device, another party could be liable for damages and would not be protected by the limits set by state workers’ compensation laws.
Contact Us Now for Help Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
You should immediately contact Schiller & Hamilton if you were seriously injured or your loved one was killed on the job in South Carolina. Call us or contact us online to receive a free consultation that will let our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options.