Workers’ compensation law in South Carolina originated in 1935 to protect injured workers and their families. Before this system was implemented, a worker who injured themselves on the job would have to prove negligence on the part of the employer. Not only was this an uncertain process, it often took too long and left the injured worker without income. The workers’ compensation system, however, no longer uses fault as a basis for an award.
If someone is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to benefits, regardless of fault. All employers in South Carolina are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage if they have four or more employees. There are several exceptions and exemptions from this requirement but, by and large, workers’ comp insurance coverage is mandatory.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Harris & Graves have helped numerous injured workers with their claims. If your claim was denied, we can review your case and determine if you can appeal. If so, our team will ensure the necessary information is gathered to help with your appeal.
- Every seven seconds a worker is injured on the job.
- 104,000,000 production days were lost due to work-related injuries in 2016.
- 34 percent of injuries were due to overexertion.
- 25 percent of injuries were slips, trips, and falls.
- 25 percent of injuries were caused by objects and equipment.
The statistics mentioned above prove how often work-related injuries occur. If you or someone you know was injured while on the job, you may be entitled to benefits.
What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Workers’ compensation benefits are a financial payment given to a worker who sustained injuries while on the job. These benefits are intended to help cover medical expenses and other related costs. After it is confirmed that an employee was injured on the job, he/she is primarily entitled to three things:
- Payment of two-thirds of their average weekly wages. There is a seven-day waiting period, but if the employee is out under doctor’s orders for over two weeks, temporary benefits through workers’ compensation are paid back to the first-day work was missed.
- Payment of medical expenses. However, keep in mind that because the workers’ compensation insurance carrier is responsible for covering medical care, the carrier has the right to authorize who provides the care. If the injured worker wishes to see his own doctor, the carrier will not necessarily have to pay for this treatment.
- Compensation for the extent of the disability, if the employee is left with permanent damage. This award is based on several factors, including the part of the body injured and the average amount of money the employee was earning on a weekly basis before the injury.
For additional resources, visit the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission website.
Common Injury Claims
Some of the most common injury claims include:
Slip or trip and falls
Struck by an object
Many occupations involve large machinery and dangerous equipment. It’s not uncommon for an individual to be struck by a flying object or become injured by defective machinery.
This type of injury can result from a worker lifting or pulling objects, leading to pulled or strained muscles.
Repetitive movements can lead to serious injuries, such as carpal tunnel and bursitis. However, these claims can be challenging to prove.
Jobs that involve wiring and high voltage can place workers at a high risk of electrocution.
In some cases, workers may take their anger out on their co-workers, resulting in injuries.
If you’re involved in an accident while on the job, it’s in your best interest to know how to proceed. Some workers received less compensation than they deserved due to the poor decisions they made after their accidents. In our next section, we offer tips to help you after sustaining injuries at the workplace.
Accident Checklist: What to Do After You Have Been Injured on the Job
Immediately following a work-related accident, it’s imperative to know what steps to take to help protect your rights as an employee. Injured employees have the legal right to receive benefits, however, these benefits can be negatively impacted if the incorrect steps are taken.
Our experienced and knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyers have created an accident checklist. This list of suggestions may help protect your benefits:
- Inform your employer immediately after the accident occurs.
- Seek medical attention.
- Collect evidence, including photos of your injuries and medical bills.
- Contact an experienced attorney.
In some cases, injured workers damaged their claims by not following the correct procedures after their accidents. Implementing these tips may help your claim and secure any benefits you are entitled to receive.
Requirements You Must Meet to Receive Benefits
South Carolina requires employers with four or more employees to have a workers’ compensation insurance plan, so you will likely be able to receive benefits after suffering a workplace injury. If for some reason your employer does not carry insurance, contact our firm immediately.
Generally, there are certain requirements you must meet to receive benefits, such as:
- Your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
- You must be an employee of the company.
- Your injury must be work-related.
Every workers’ compensation case is different, and results will vary depending on the circumstances of your case. If you meet these requirements but your claim was denied, it does not necessarily mean that you can’t obtain benefits.
Common Reasons Claims Are Denied
A denied workers’ comp claim can be discouraging, however, it’s not uncommon for an injured worker to be denied benefits. Insurance companies may attempt to find any number of reasons to deny your claim in order to avoid paying compensation. Some of the most common reasons claims are denied include the following:
In workers’ comp cases, it’s crucial to make sure you meet the required deadlines. Every state has different time limits that injured workers must meet when filing a claim for damages. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to consult an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyer, so you’re informed of these deadlines.
Disagreements About Your Injury
In some cases, an employer may say the injury was not work-related or that your current health condition was not a result of the workplace environment. If you encounter a dispute, evidence will be vital to support your claim. This can include photos of the scene of the accident and your injuries, medical bills, witness statements, and proof of lost wages.
You Filed Your Claim After Leaving Your job
Typically, insurance companies will deny a claim if it was filed after you left your job. This can include being fired, laid off, or quitting. However, there may be a solid reason as to why you delayed filing your claim. It’s best to call our firm about your options if your claim was denied.
If you were denied benefits after a work-related injury, it does not always mean that you can’t receive benefits. A denial can simply imply that the right documents weren’t presented, or you didn’t have enough evidence to prove your injuries. If your case was denied, you may have the option to appeal.
Appealing a Denied Claim
Appealing a denied claim is complex and often time-consuming. If your claim was denied, you should receive a letter, which will include information on how to appeal. This process can be challenging, so consulting a lawyer will be valuable to your claim.
If you decide to appeal, consider these suggestions:
- Contact the insurance company and ask why your claim was denied.
- Check to ensure all documents were sent to the insurer.
- Officially send an appeal requesting that they reconsider their decision.
- Contact an attorney to help you with the process.
Our team of lawyers can prepare you for the difficult process and ensure your claim has everything necessary to appeal. If your claim was denied due to missing paperwork, such as medical bills, this may be settled easily between you and the insurance company. However, it’s not always that simple and may require that you request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). In this situation, it’s even more important to hire an attorney to help you with your claim.
Types of Benefits Available for Injured Workers
Various types of benefits may be available, however, the amount you receive will depend on the severity of your injuries. The following benefits may be available for your claim:
If future treatment is necessary for your recovery, this can increase the amount of benefits you are owed.
Permanent disability benefits
Some injuries may result in permanent damage. This means there is no further treatment that can help improve the damage you endured.
Temporary disability benefits
If the injury you sustained does not allow you to perform your previous job or results in lower wages, you may be eligible to receive temporary disability benefits. There are two types of temporary disability benefits: temporary total disability (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD). TTD is intended to compensate you for lost wages while you’re recovering from your work-related illness or injury. TPD benefits are paid if you’re able to return to work but cannot work the same hours or complete the same duties due to your condition.
If a loved one dies due to a workplace injury, death benefits may be available to compensate for funeral expenses and the loss of financial support.
In order to adequately determine which type of benefits you can obtain for your injury, it is in your best interest to consult a workers’ compensation lawyer. Workers’ comp claims involve many details that can be difficult to understand without legal representation.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Due to the complexities of workplace injuries, it can be difficult to handle this type of case alone. With an attorney from Harris & Graves on your side, you can trust that your claim is in the hands of a dedicated and passionate legal professional.
When you hire our firm, we will collect the information necessary to support your claim and ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Also, we are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have throughout the process.
Every workers’ comp claim is different. For this reason, hiring an attorney will be to your advantage when seeking benefits after a workplace accident.
Have Your Case Reviewed
We understand that suffering an injury due to a work-related injury is stressful and overwhelming. If you need legal advice on your workers’ compensation claim or were denied benefits and want to appeal, we can help. Our team has handled many workers’ comp claims to help injured workers receive the benefits they are rightfully owed. These claims must be filed by the set deadlines in order to increase your chances of receiving benefits. If you wait to file a claim for your work-related injury, you may damage any potential benefits you’re entitled to receive.
Harris and Graves is an experienced personal injury law firm in South Carolina with offices in Greenville, Columbia, Spartanburg, Rock Hill, and Florence. Our law firm has been serving South Carolina since 1977 and handles cases such as car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. We have the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the complex workers’ compensation system. You don’t have to handle it alone.
To schedule a consultation with one of our practicing attorneys, please give us a call at (805) 764-2976, or complete our inquiry contact form. We are ready to help you with your workers’ compensation claim.