Approximately 2.8 million workers reported workplace injuries on the job in 2019, showcasing the alarming rate of workers’ compensation claims. If you are hurt on the job, you may have concerns about handling an injury at work, what to say when filing a workplace injury report, and whether your injury qualifies you for worker’s compensation.
After suffering a workplace injury, you don’t have to pay for any of your damages on your own. Our South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers can help. You have legal rights to a fair settlement, and you deserve protection.
With the right personal injury lawyers at MDSW Legal fighting hard on your behalf, you won’t have to let the insurance companies or your employer take advantage of you after an accident. To learn how to optimize your claim or determine the amount of your workers’ compensation payout, continue reading or take advantage of the free consultation offered by our firm.
Workplace Injury Procedures to Secure Worker’s Compensation
After a workplace accident, certain steps need to be taken to secure a workers’ compensation claim. The statute of limitations for a workers’ compensation claim is two years under SC Code § 42-15-40. However, you must also meet other deadlines. For instance, you must report your workplace injury to your employer within 90 days.
1. Report the Injury to Your Employer
Verbal notice is sufficient, but additional notification through email will create a paper trail that you may need in case of a problem with your claim.
2. Seek Medical Care
You will need a diagnosis and treatment from an employer-approved medical professional to recover compensation. However, you may get a second opinion from a doctor of your own choosing. Of course, in an emergency situation, an ambulance will take you to the nearest hospital for treatment.
3. Follow All Your Doctor’s Orders
If the insurer finds out that you have failed to follow your doctor’s orders, they can use that against you to reduce the value of your claim. Make sure to follow all treatment orders prescribed by your doctor.
4. Keep Detailed Notes
You should keep detailed notes about all aspects of your accident and care. They will be necessary if the insurance company disputes your claim. You should also make copies of any forms you fill out.
Why Retaining a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney is Important
Many people never have to navigate a workplace accident. Those who do rarely know what steps to take, and this ignorance ends up hurting their recovery in the long run.
There are several advantages to hiring a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer from the Thumbs Up Guys.
Focus on Recovering from your Workplace Injury
Workplace injuries can range from mild to severe. If your injuries are serious, you need to rest and recover. Above anything else, your health is essential. Dealing with the stress and frustration of settlement negotiations and other legal battles can take a huge toll physically and mentally.
You don’t need to hinder your recovery by focusing on two things at once. Instead, put your efforts towards healing and moving forward with your medical treatment. Let our workers’ compensation lawyers handle all the legal aspects of your claim for you.
Get a Fast Settlement
If the insurance company or your employer is stalling your settlement, a lawyer can help you get results faster. This tactic is mainly a way to pressure you into accepting a low settlement. They know that the longer you wait, the more financial pressure you’ll face, thus incentivizing you to accept their lowball offers.
With an attorney representing your best interests, these stall tactics won’t work. You can protect yourself from sneaky methods used to get you to settle for less. The very act of hiring a lawyer is often enough to get insurance companies to pay fairly.
Prove Your Worker’s Compensation Case with Strong Evidence
You’ll need strong evidence if you hope to recover the maximum compensation as an injured worker building a claim. Insurance companies will not give you the settlement you deserve without putting up a decent fight beforehand.
The stronger the evidence, the better chances you have at recovering the financial compensation you need. We will aid you in getting critical evidence such as surveillance footage, medical records, and witness testimonies. We can even consult with experts in various fields to support your claim.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against My Employer?
When you are injured in a workplace accident, a workers’ compensation claim is typically your only option for compensation. However, there are some notable exceptions to this rule.
For instance, if your injury resulted from your employer’s negligence in providing a reasonably safe workplace, you may be able to sue them instead. Similarly, if your employer acted with intent to cause you harm, you are eligible to file a lawsuit.
You may also be able to file a lawsuit if your injuries resulted from the fault of a third party. For example, if a defective tool caused your accident, you can file a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer. Additionally, if your accident occurred offsite, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner of the property where the injury occurred.
How Much Is a Standard Worker’s Compensation Case Worth in South Carolina?
There’s no way to tell how much the average worker’s compensation case is worth. However, a workers’ compensation lawyer in South Carolina can give you a more accurate assessment. How much your workers’ compensation case is worth generally depends on:
- How severe your damages are
- How much your damages have impacted your life
- How much you were at fault for your damages
There are various economic and non-economic damages that you may be able to recover. What damages you can claim for your work injuries depend on the specifics of your case and whether you are filing a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Economic damages are very straightforward and typically have a fixed value. These damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or wrongful death, are a bit more complex. These require various formulas to be calculated accurately.
In addition, other factors, such as the impairment rating and medical guidelines, will directly impact your settlement’s value.
Injury Types Covered Under Workers’ Compensation
Usually, if an employee has injuries while on the job, workers’ compensation will cover the costs. If off-site, the Workers’ Compensation Act will only apply if the employee’s injury occurred while they were working within the parameters of their employment. Several injuries that fall under the purview of workers’ compensation include the following:
- Being dropped or falling from a height
- Injury caused by any items or equipment owned by the employer
- Sustaining a back injury as a result of difficult or heavy lifting
- Becoming ill as a result of exposure to dangerous substances
How Insurance Companies Handle Worker’s Compensation Claims
Use caution when working with your employer’s insurance company. Despite the fact that they could give the impression that they care about you, what they really want is to safeguard their own financial interests. Their major objective is to persuade you to accept a settlement that is far below what it is genuinely worth.
Try to avoid talking to anyone from your employer or an insurance adjuster if they approach you to discuss your damages and injuries. When you submit a claim, whatever you say or do could be used against you.
The main goal of an adjuster is to get you to admit fault for your accident or try to claim your damages aren’t as severe as you say. This would absolve the insurance company and the employer from paying you. You can fight back with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney in South Carolina.
Workers’ Compensation Exclusions for South Carolina
In South Carolina, some workers are either not regarded as employees or are not entitled to compensation-related benefits. The following workers are exempt from being able to file for or collect workers’ compensation benefits:
- Employees that work just as necessary and don’t have regular working hours
- Employers with a payroll of less than $3,000 in the previous year
- Agricultural workers
- Employees of a railroad or railroad express business
- Farmers who market their goods
- Real estate agents with licenses
- Federal and state employees
Contact Our South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act allows you to file a claim and get the compensation that you need for your damages. However, that doesn’t mean it guarantees you a fair settlement.
If you want compensation that truly reflects your damages, you need Miller, Dawson, Sigal, & Ward in your corner. Call us or contact us online to schedule an appointment for a free case review from our South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at no risk to you.