Being injured at work is rough and having to navigate the South Carolina workers' compensation system without an attorney may only add to the challenge. The law surrounding on-the-job injuries is complex. Likewise, insurance companies often deny necessary medical tests or underpay you for time missed from work if you are unrepresented. As a Columbia, SC workers’ compensation lawyer, I will seek to help you from the very moment you contact my office. My job is to ensure you get the medical attention you need, receive full weekly benefits, obtain a fair settlement for any permanent injury, and get back to work if possible.
There is no reason not to get a free case evaluation from a workers' comp attorney. You can contact us today by calling (803) 790-2800 or by using the live chat box below.
- 6 Things Injured Workers in South Carolina Should Know
- 4 of the Most Common Workers’ Comp Injuries in South Carolina
- Do I Need to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
- How Can I Tell If I Got a Fair Workers’ Comp Settlement Offer?
- Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for a Free Consultation
When considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should know these 6 important facts:
1. Workers’ compensation is your legal right as a hard-working South Carolina resident who was injured on the job.
You should never be afraid to claim workers' compensation benefits after being injured at work. Instead of feeling as if you are "causing trouble,” it’s important to educate yourself on your rights as a worker and what benefits you should expect if you are hurt on the job. If handled correctly, these benefits may include medical care, lost-wage benefits, and permanent disability compensation to employees who have been injured on the job.
2. South Carolina is a no-fault state.
This means that it generally doesn't matter who is at fault for causing your injury. In South Carolina, even if the accident was your fault, you are likely still entitled to workers' compensation coverage. A workers' comp claim isn't about determining negligence and fault, it's about making sure an injured worker is cared for properly. There are, however, situations where someone may be denied benefits if he was intoxicated, engaging in horseplay, or intentionally hurt himself.
3. Your employer won’t pay your claim – his/her insurance company will.
Some injured employees are hesitant to file a claim because they don’t want to put a financial burden on their boss. However, if your employer has more than four employees, they are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which will cover the costs of your claim.
4. You are required to notify your employer of your injury within 90 days.
In South Carolina, you are required to report your injury to your employer within 90 days of knowing that your injury is work-related. For example, if you’ve suffered a repetitive motion injury, like carpal tunnel or a herniated disk, from repeating the same motion at work for weeks or years on end, the 90-day period would begin as soon as you learned that your injury was related to work.
5. Workers’ comp cases have a 2-year statute of limitations.
This means you have up to 2 years to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer after the injury took place. However, in order to file a claim, you still must report the injury to your employer within 90 days.
6. Most South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers offer free consultations.
It never hurts to call a workers’ comp attorney for a free consultation to ensure your rights are protected and that you are being treated fairly. I do not represent people unless I think they will benefit from my knowledge and skills. Even if I don’t take your case, my office will gladly take time to answer your questions at no charge and send you a free copy of my book, Your Guide to South Carolina Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation.
Any injury that affects your ability to properly do your job or earn the same income as you did before the accident is enough to warrant a workers' compensation claim. Below are some of the most common work injuries in our state:
1. Slips and trips. Slips and trips are common because they can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. All it takes is one loose computer cord or warped floorboard to cause a person to lose their balance and sustain injury.
2. Falls. Construction workers and those whose jobs involve lifts, ladders, or scaffolding are frequent victims of falls that can lead to serious workplace injuries.
3. Repetitive motion. Repetitive motion injuries can affect people in many different industries. Someone who sits at a desk all day and types could suffer carpal tunnel syndrome, while a factory worker who feeds stock into a machine could also wear his body down by performing the same motion all day long. Many employees aren't sure whether they are allowed to file workers' comp for these injuries, because they develop over time rather than in one sudden event. The answer is yes, repetitive motion injuries can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina.
4. Motor vehicle accidents. Driving a car, truck, or van all day is common in many different occupations, and unfortunately, drivers are not immune from the dangers of the road when they're on the clock. Traffic accidents include some of the most common—and most devastating—injuries covered by workers’ compensation.
Whether or not you need a workers' comp lawyer after being hurt at work will largely depend on the severity of the injury and how you're being treated by your employer and its insurance company.
You Likely Do Not Need a Workers’ Comp Lawyer If…
- You suffered minor work injuries that require minimal treatment, and do not prevent you from working;
- Your employer’s insurance company is covering your medical bills and authorizing necessary medical care;
- You are receiving your workers’ comp checks in a timely fashion; and
- The insurance company is offering to fairly compensate you for any impairment or effect on future earnings.
You Should Consider Hiring a Worker’s Comp Lawyer If…
- The insurance company is dragging its feet, intentionally elongating the process;
- Your employer and/or its insurance company refuses to send you to the proper doctor;
- You suffered a serious injury while working (the injury caused permanent impairment or will require future medical treatment, requires surgery, or prevents you from returning to work); or
- The insurance company fights to pay you less than the law entitles you to receive.
If you’re not sure if you would benefit from hiring a lawyer, consider scheduling a free consultation. The attorneys at our Columbia, SC workers’ compensation law firm will listen to the facts of your case and provide honest guidance about whether you would benefit from legal representation.
The best way to determine if you are receiving a fair offer is to contact a Columbia workers’ comp attorney because the settlement calculation is nuanced and can be influenced further by your need for future medical treatment and the overall impact your injury had on your earning potential.
When calculating a fair workers’ compensation settlement, many factors should be considered, including but not limited to:
- Impairment rating;
- How your injury affects your ability to continue working at the same level;
- Your salary or wages at the time of the injury;
- What body part or parts were injured; and
- Your current and future medical treatment.
Though it may sound odd, South Carolina law assigns a certain number of weeks for injuries to different body parts. For example, a shoulder injury is worth 300 weeks whereas the loss of your index finger would be worth 40 weeks. That number would then be multiplied by your disability rating (which is influenced by though different than an impairment rating) and your compensation rate. Beyond this calculation, the impact of your injury and your treatment needs should be considered when estimating your final workers’ comp settlement.
Whether you were recently injured at work, or you're tired of trying to deal with workers' comp on your own, our workers’ comp attorneys are here for you. Your wellbeing is our first priority, and we promise that your case will be handled with the dignity and respect it deserves.
If you were injured at work in Columbia, Lexington, or anywhere else in South Carolina, call me today at 803-790-2800 or start a live chat using the chat box below.