Workers’ compensation provides partial wage replacement, medical, and other benefits for South Carolina workers injured on the job. However, the workers’ compensation system is not always easy to navigate. Below are ten important facts you should know about workers’ compensation in South Carolina:
1. Workers’ Compensation Covers Many Types of Injuries
South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits extend to:
- Injuries caused by workplace accidents
- Occupational illness caused by your work duties
- Repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or back problems
- Aggravation of pre-existing injuries
2. You Should Report the Injury Immediately
While South Carolina workers’ comp regulations give you 90 days to report a workplace injury, you should not delay doing so. Reporting the injury sooner can get your claim started sooner, too. Also, insurance companies will use any delay in reporting the injury as justification to deny your claim.
3. You Have Two Years to File a Claim
State law provides you with two years to file a claim. However, reporting the injury sooner can help preserve evidence and get the claim process started sooner.
4. You Can File a Workers’ Compensation Claim Even if the Accident Was Your Fault
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, so you can file a claim even if your own negligence led to the accident.
5. Your Employer Has the Right to Choose Your Doctor
When you seek medical treatment for your injuries, you must see the provider your employer selects unless you need emergency treatment.
6. You May Qualify for Partial or Total Disability Benefits
Partial disability benefits are available to workers who can return to work after an injury but their injury limits their work duties, causing their wages to be reduced. Partial disability benefits are equal to two-thirds of the difference between your normal weekly wages and your new wages.
If your work injury prevents you from returning to work for more than seven days, you might qualify for total disability benefits. These benefits are equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages, subject to the state maximum.
7. Family Members Can Receive Death Benefits
If a worker dies on the job, their spouse, dependents, or parents can apply for workers’ compensation death benefits.
8. You Have a Right to a Hearing
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you have the right to a hearing before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. You must be prepared for this hearing and present the right evidence to the judge assigned to your case. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you prepare for your hearing, gather evidence to support your claim, and assist you through the appeals process.
9. Your Claim Will Probably Settle Out of Court
Some workers are hesitant to file a workers’ compensation claim because they don’t want to go to court. Don’t let that deter you. Most workers’ compensation claims settle out of court. A workers’ compensation attorney can handle your claim and may be able to avoid a hearing altogether. If your claim is denied, it can still be resolved through mediation or negotiation. Even if the matter does go to court, it is held before an administrative law judge, so the process is much less formal than going before other types of judges.
10. You Can Take Steps to Protect Your Claim
There are steps that you can take to protect your claim, including:
- Seek immediate medical attention after sustaining a workplace injury.
- Make a written report of your accident and give it to your employer.
- Keep all medical records and other evidence related to your case.
- Follow your doctors’ orders.
- Work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer
If you were injured at work or have questions about the workers’ compensation process, contact The David Law Firm today. We provide a free case review to discuss your legal options.