Because almost all South Carolina employers are required to carry workers compensation’ insurance, most South Carolina workers who are injured on the job are qualified to receive workers’ compensation benefits to help cover the costs of lost wages and medical expenses. A Columbia workers’ compensation lawyer will help you receive full compensation and benefits.
Although it is inevitable that accidents will happen, under South Carolina law, an employer is still responsible for keeping the work environment safe for all staff members. This includes preventing accidents that may result in slips, falls, chemical burns, injuries from faulty equipment or machinery, or injuries from hazardous work conditions, lenient safety regulations, or the carelessness of fellow workers.
It’s important to contact a workers’ compensation attorney if you’re struggling to receive benefits because workers’ compensation insurance companies have little incentive to act in an employee’s favor. When an injury is proven to have taken place, the insurance provider stands to lose money. The way that insurance companies interpret workers’ compensation laws can result in a denied claim or an injured employee’s case being improperly valued. This means you may not receive all the money you legally deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured at work, you need a work injury attorney who is going to do all they can to get you full benefits. The lawyers at Solomon Law Group are ready to work with you and help you get the funds you deserve.
What Injuries Typically Happen on the Job?
Workplace injuries can happen anywhere at any time. If you are injured on the job, tell your employer immediately.
Here are some of the most common work injuries that occur:
- Falling Injuries. People who work on elevated surfaces or on ladders have a risk of fall injury if they don’t have the right safety equipment. Even if you’re not in a job that works on elevated surfaces, you could fall down stairs that are uneven or if there was a slippery spot that wasn’t marked.
- Tripping Injuries. Messy floors or unorganized wires could trip anyone who thought the floor was clear.
- Reaction Injuries. Sometimes, when we’re about to fall we catch ourselves and prevent the fall. However, that might make you strain or hurt your muscles because you’re making harsh, sudden movements.
- Contact Injuries.You can have some very serious head injuries when objects fall from shelves or someone drops something.
- Machine Injuries. Factory workers are at risk of machine-related injuries. Pieces of clothing, hair, or shoes that aren’t properly secured can get caught in the equipment and could lead to potentially traumatic injuries.
- Burn Injuries. If you work around chemicals, machines, or wires, you could possibly get a burn if safety precautions aren’t followed. Burn injuries can still occur in other workplaces, too.
What Is and Isn’t Covered in Workers’ Compensation?
You might be wondering what workers’ compensation covers. Compensation is meant to help you get through this difficult injury so you can focus on recovery and get back to your daily life. Workers’ compensation can cover:
- Medical Expenses.This includes everything from hospital stays to medication. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission states that you’re entitled to receive all necessary medical treatment that will help your injury. To receive these benefits, you have to go to the doctor chosen by your employer.
- Future Care. It’s possible that your injuries will have future expenses for the care you will need. Your compensation could cover this as well.
- Lost Wages. If your injury prevents you from working, you can get compensation for the wages you’ve lost.
- Money for Permanent Injury. If you get an injury at work that you’ll now have for the rest of your life, you can get compensation for that injury.
- Penalties. If the workers’ compensation carrier doesn’t follow certain rules or doesn’t follow the correct procedures for handling your benefits, you can get compensation for their mistakes.
But you should also be aware of what workers’ compensation doesn’t typically cover so you have realistic expectations when you speak with your lawyer.
If you were in a fight or aggressively fooling around and got injured, those injuries will most likely not be covered, as well as self-inflicted injuries. You should also note that getting hurt while intoxicated, such as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, will not be covered, either. These didn’t arise because of a workplace hazard and occurred because of the employee. It’s important to know your company’s policies because if your actions were found to be in violation of policy, that could mean that your injuries aren’t covered.
Many people may wonder if accidents that occur going to or coming from work are could be covered by workers’ compensation, but commuting injuries typically aren’t. It didn’t happen on the property of the business and you are responsible for driving safely.
Psychiatric injuries or issues like stress will also not be covered with workers’ compensation.
Now that you have a clearer idea of what is covered, you may be wondering about the process as a whole. We’ll tell you what you’ll need to do to make sure you’ve followed the correct protocol and haven’t done anything to jeopardize your claim.
Breaking Down the Workers’ Compensation Claim Filing Process
These are the steps that you will go through when filing your claim. With a lawyer at your side to answer your questions and help you through the process, you can rest assured that you are protecting your best interests.
- Report the Injury. You need to inform your employer that the injury occurred. It’s likely that your employer will have you get a medical evaluation that’s approved by the insurer to be eligible to receive benefits. It’s important to make the report in writing as soon as possible so you can be sure that you haven’t missed the window of time to get the benefits that you’re owed.
- Fill Out the Workers’ Comp Paperwork. Your employer should provide you with forms that include information for the insurance provider, information about your rights, and about when you’re ready to return to work. You may also get a form to inform the state workers’ comp board.
- File the Claim. Your employer will send in the forms to the insurance carrier. However, your doctor is responsible for sending in your medical evaluation.
- Insurer Response. The insurance company will send their response to you. It could be an approval or denial. But a denial doesn’t mean the whole matter is settled. You can have them review their decision or you can appeal. If you decide to appeal, Solomon Law group is here for you. We’re prepared to help you get the compensation you deserve.
After the decision is made, the employee can start their recovery process. When they’re healed and able to return to work, they need to inform their employer and the insurance company of this intention.
How Do You Prepare for the Medical Evaluation?
If you file for workers’ compensation, your employer will probably request that you get a medical evaluation. This will show what kind of benefits you qualify for and need. You can prepare for the medical evaluation, so your doctor knows exactly what happened to you and what injuries you have. This will allow them to give you an accurate exam that will help show what you’ve been through.
- Know Previous Conditions. If you know some symptoms you have are a result of a previous condition, inform your doctor. Knowledge of your medical history will help clarify what symptoms are because of the accident.
- Write Down How the Accident Happened and Your Symptoms. As soon as you can, write down how the accident happened and when. List your symptoms. Be as detailed as possible with both accounts. Keep track of doctor visits and treatments. Also, include things like physical therapy or if a doctor refers you to a specialist.
- Don’t Leave Anything Out. When speaking with your doctor, don’t leave anything out because you think it’s unimportant. You may think it’s not a big deal, but it could indicate something serious to your doctor. If you leave something untreated, it could develop into worse symptoms over time. You also might not get as much compensation for your injuries if you leave out important facts. You shouldn’t downplay your injuries, either. We have a tendency to not want to admit how much pain we’re in, but this is not the time to do this. Be honest about how these injuries have affected you.
- Follow the Doctor’s Treatment. If the doctor tells you to wear a brace or take medicine or get a lot of rest, then make sure to do it. Their recommendations will be the fastest way for you to get your life back on track. Also, if you willingly ignore the doctor’s orders and your injuries worsen, you might not be able to get compensation because you didn’t take care of yourself.
Representation From a Reputable Law Firm
Getting injured at work because of something that was out of your control isn’t fair, and you shouldn’t have to take responsibility for paying for your injuries and care.
South Carolina’s labor laws give you the ability to protect your rights and receive compensation if you have been hurt on the job. You deserve peace of mind that someone will help you fight for your rights. That’s where we come in.
If you have been injured on the job, find out if you are owed compensation by setting up a free consultation with Solomon Law Group today. You’ll speak with a Columbia workers’ compensation lawyer about your case and how to proceed.