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If you’re hurt at work or develop a medical condition as a result of your job, then you’re likely entitled to compensation.
Workers’ compensation is a government-run, no-fault system in South Carolina, meaning you don’t need to prove that your employer was negligent or at fault in order to receive compensation for the injury to help you cover the costs.
But the system isn’t perfect, and your employer or their insurance company will put up roadblocks to reduce or even reject your claim.
Don’t be victimized again by the insurance company. The Derrick Law Office has helped numerous clients successfully navigate this often-complex government program. Let us help you take the next steps to get the compensation you deserve.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
In South Carolina, if you are hurt or develop an illness because of your work, you are entitled to certain benefits. Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, any employee who suffers an injury in an accident that arises out of and in the course of their employment can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent disability.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system. This means that you don’t have to prove that your employer did something wrong in order to recover benefits. Instead, you can file a claim and receive benefits from the company or its insurance carrier if you are hurt or become ill because of your job.
For example, if you slip and fall and break your arm at work, you don’t have to prove that anyone is at fault. Because you got hurt at work, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
There are three types of workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina:
- Medical benefits: after a work-related injury or illness, your medical care will be covered by your employer and/or their workers’ compensation insurance. Under current law, your employer has the right to select the healthcare provider that you see for treatment.
- Temporary disability: this money covers part of your lost wages if you are unable to return to your job while you are recovering from a work-related injury. In South Carolina, you won’t receive temporary disability benefits for the first 7 days that you are off work unless you are out of work for more than 14 days. You may also receive temporary partial disability benefits, which are paid out when you can work after a work-related injury but cannot earn as much due to your injury. Temporary disability benefits will last until you can return to work, while temporary partial disability benefits are capped at 340 weeks.
- Permanent disability: after you have reached what is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI), you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits if you have suffered a more severe injury or if you have lost earning capacity due to your injuries. There is a general 500-week limit on these benefits, although if you suffer a permanent, total disability, then you may receive permanent disability for life.
The amount of benefits that you receive will depend on several factors, including the average weekly wages that you earned prior to the injury, the severity of your injury, and whether you will recover and be able to work again.
In addition to these three types of benefits, South Carolina law requires employers to provide death benefits for the surviving family members of a person who was killed in a work-related accident or died due to an occupational illness. These benefits are paid to surviving dependents for up to 500 weeks at the same rate as the deceased worker would have received for total disability. Workers’ compensation will also pay for up to $12,000 in funeral and burial expenses.
Importantly, workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. This means that you typically cannot file a lawsuit against your employer for work-related injuries. However, it may still be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party for your injuries. For example, if you are involved in a car accident while making deliveries for work, you can pursue legal action against the at-fault driver. A Simpsonville workers’ compensation lawyer can evaluate your claim and help you determine how to recover maximum compensation for your injuries through a workers’ comp and/or personal injury claim.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Workers’ Comp Case?
In theory, a workers’ compensation case should be straightforward: you were hurt at work, notify your employer, and get benefits. Unfortunately, these cases are often more adversarial than they should be – particularly in cases where a worker suffered a more serious injury.
If you had a relatively minor injury and missed little or no work, then it may make sense to represent yourself and get medical coverage for your injuries. However, if your injuries were more serious, you missed a fair amount of work, and/or if you have a pre-existing condition that was affected by your accident, then you should reach out to a Simpsonville workers’ compensation lawyer.
Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina or to self-insure (guarantee coverage). In theory, mandatory workers’ compensation insurance should mean that all injured workers get the benefits that they are entitled to under the law. However, workers’ comp claims cost both your employer and their insurer money – which means that they will often try to pay out as little as possible on claims or deny them outright.
If your employer denies your claim or does not pay your benefits promptly, you may need to file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. This will put your claim on the hearing docket, where your case will eventually be heard by a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. After a hearing, the Commissioner will issue an opinion and an award, if they determine that you are entitled to benefits.
These claims are legal matters, where your employer will be represented by a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of workers’ compensation law. To level the playing field and increase the likelihood of getting full compensation for your injuries, it is important to have your own legal representation. In Simpsonville, the Derrick Law Office will fight for you and help you get the money that you deserve.
Don’t worry. We’re here to help!
If you’ve been hurt on the job—even if you caused the accident—you are most likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer is denying or minimizing your claim, you will need a tough, smart lawyer to advocate for you and protect your interests. The Derrick Law Office is here for you.
Contact us today for a FREE consultation about your case. We can even make house and hospital visits, if necessary. We cover upfront legal costs, and there’s never a fee unless we win a settlement or verdict for you. Reach out to our law firm at 864-531-7765 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment with a Simpsonville workers’ compensation attorney.