Filing a workers’ compensation claim can become daunting, especially when employers try to evade their responsibility. In many states, workers are protected by the law, and because of that, most employees will have workers’ compensation benefits following an accident.
However, workers’ compensation is not mandatory for companies in many states. But even in states where workers are protected by law, many employers and insurance companies will try anything before giving a dime. In those cases, your attorney will be the key to unlocking your workers’ comp benefits and helping you avoid claim mistakes.
Here is what you need to know to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation is outlined in Title 42 of the SC Code of Laws. It is a benefit that many companies give to their employees. Its goal is to give financial support to any worker injured at their workplace. While workers’ compensation is mandatory for most government workers and in many states, many American workers do not have that benefit.
Employers who offer workers’ compensation benefits do not do it because of their big hearts. They do it because giving workers’ compensation to an injured employee protects them from any further damages-seeking lawsuit. When an injured worker gets workers’ comp, they renounce their right to pursue further legal action against their employer.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
If you or a family member got injured at work, there are many things to do to ensure that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Our workers’ compensation attorneys advise you to follow these steps:
1. Report the Injury to Your Employer
After suffering any work-related injury, the first step should be to notify your employer. Some states require workers to report their workplace injury to their employer within 30 days, while others give them longer. In South Carolina, injured workers must report it within 90 days.
2. Talk to Your Attorney About Your Workers’ Compensation Rights
Ideally, your employer should become a helping hand after a workplace injury occurs. However, many managers, company owners, and even insurance adjusters will become the biggest obstacles between you and your workers’ compensation rights. That is one of many reasons to get a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
3. File the Necessary Paperwork
After notifying your employer, they should give you some paperwork to fulfill. You need to be very careful with your answers since many of them can be used by an insurance company to argue you had a pre-existing condition, allowing them to deny your claim. Your attorney can help with that.
4. Report the Injury to the Insurance Company
Most of the time, your employer will be the one who files the claim to their insurance provider. However, if your employer tries to deny your case, they will try to skip this step or leave it until the time to file a claim runs out. Your attorney can push them to comply or take them to court if they don’t.
5. Wait for the Insurance Company’s Resolution
This is the step where you will know if your claim was approved or rejected. However, even if the result is not favorable, you and your lawyer can still take a couple of actions to get you close to your workers’ compensation.
What Happens if My Workers’ Compensation Gets Denied?
After you have complied with all the steps, your employer’s insurance company will evaluate your case and come to a resolution. Many times, that resolution is not what the victims need. Insurance companies can grant workers’ compensation but for a lesser amount than was requested, or they can completely deny the claim.
In those situations, having an attorney by your side could be the difference between fighting back and settling for a bad agreement. A lawyer will help you collect evidence of your injury and medical bills and argue back with insurance companies until they take responsibility for your damages.
Damages Recovered Through Workers’ Compensation
The South Caroline Workers’ Compensation Commission states that workers’ compensation should cover every aspect of your injury, from the physical recovery to the emotional distress and your lost wages. In our years of practice, these are some of the damages our attorneys have recovered for some of our clients:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Emotional therapy
- Lost wages
- Mobility support (like wheelchairs or prostheses)
- Wrongful death
Every injury and case is different. You should talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to find out which damages you can recover by filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation is meant to make workers feel relaxed and cared for. But the truth is that filing a workers’ compensation claim can become a nightmare when you deal with unscrupulous employers or shady insurance companies.
If you or someone you love were the victims of an injury while at work, and you are not sure if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, you should talk to a lawyer. Contact one of our attorneys today, and let us help you fight the legal battle while you focus on your recovery.