Workers’ compensation began as a matter of justice. At the beginning of the industrial age, it became far more common for workers to suffer injuries in the workplace. Employers would disclaim responsibility for their workers’ medical bills, and injured workers would have no way to earn wages when they were too injured to work. Eventually, society enacted legislation designed to correct this injustice.
Over the course of time, each state has enacted their own laws and statutes for workers’ compensation that includes payment for lost income, medical expenses, and permanent disability benefits for workers who were injured while working. In addition, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so benefits are available even when the accident that caused a worker’s injury is that worker’s fault. If you’ve been injured at work, workers’ compensation should be there for you.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina
In Easley, and throughout all of South Carolina, state law requires almost all employers who employ more than four full-time or part-time employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
However, certain South Carolina industries are not required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. Those industries include railroad employees, agricultural employees, textile hall corporation employees, and some real estate agents.In addition, contract employees or volunteers are not covered by workers’ compensation unless their employer has purchased workers’ compensation insurance for those workers.
Common South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims
A claim for workers’ compensation benefits can involve any work-related accident and/or incident in which a worker is injured or suffers an illness as a result of his employment. Some of the most common work injury claims in South Carolina are:
- Construction Site Accidents. This is the most common workers’ compensation claim made in Easley and throughout South Carolina.
- Scaffolding Accidents or Falls.
- Chemical Spills
- Electrocution Accidents
- Exposure to toxic or carcinogenic chemicals or materials
- Crushing Accidents
- Trip and Fall Accidents
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
Common South Carolina On-The-Job-Injuries
To be eligible for South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits, a worker must have been injured during the scope and course of his work. Common workplace injuries in Easley, South Carolina, include but aren’t limited to:
- Burn Injuries
- Bone Fractures
- Slip and Fall Injuries
- Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Repetitive Injuries. This type of injuries includes such things as carpel tunnel syndrome.
- Work-Related Illnesses. Illnesses related to work conditions could include lung disease, mesothelioma, and heart conditions.
Medical Evaluations under Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina
If you are injured on the job in South Carolina, you are entitled to free medical care by a medical provider chosen by the employer. In some cases, an employer in Easley, South Carolina, may ask that you have a medical evaluation before it determines whether to accept your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The results of this examination may affect the outcome of your case, and there are steps you can take to prepare for it. They include:
- Medical Aids. If your injury requires you to use medical aids such as crutches, a sling, or some type of braces, such as a neck or back brace, make sure you wear it to the examination.
- Medical History. Make sure you know your medical history and that you accurately describe your medical history to your workers’ compensation doctor. As a part of the examination, one of the doctor’s jobs is to make sure your symptoms are from your current injury and not from the one you suffered in the past.
- Symptoms and Treatment. Before your medical evaluation, list the symptoms you relate to the injury and make sure you understand and remember the results from any tests and treatments, all medications you’re taking, and any procedures you’ve undergone.
- The Accident. Since workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, you won’t be denied South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits because you caused your injury. However, your injury must be work-related and you must be able to describe to the doctor exactly how your injury happened and that it happened during the scope and course of your job.
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In South Carolina, the Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits for injuries, occupational illnesses, or death if they are related to a worker’s employment. If you are entitled to workers’ compensation, then you may be entitled to some or all of the following benefits depending on your individual case.
- Medical Expenses. This includes past and future medical expenses, mileage to and from your medical appointments, and your prescription medication.
- Weekly Wage Benefits. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act allows you to receive compensation equal to 66 and two-thirds percent of the amount of your average weekly wage. However, the amount a worker receives cannot exceed the average weekly wage in South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the maximum weekly compensation rate in 2018 is $838.21.
- Disfigurement Award. In Easley and all of South Carolina, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you have visible scars or burns.
- Permanent Injury. If your injury is permanent you may be eligible to receive monetary compensation under South Carolina workers’ compensation laws for permanent partial or total disability.
Length of Time to Receive South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In South Carolina, the law allows you to receive workers’ compensation disability benefits for as long as 500 weeks. There is a schedule in the statutes that states how many weeks of benefits are permitted in South Carolina for disability to specific body parts.
How to File an Easley, South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim
Normally your South Carolina employer will report your injury to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. However, sometimes your employer might deny your claim. If this happens, you and your Easley, South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney must file a workers’ compensation claim using Form 50.
It’s important to note that you should give notice of your injury to your supervisor as soon as possible after the accident. South Carolina workers’ compensation law allows a worker up to 90 days from the date of his accident to report it to your employer. If a worker fails to report an injury to his employer within 90 days, his workers’ compensation claim will be barred.
The 90 days may be extended if a worker suffered a debilitating injury and was not able to communicate with your Easley, South Carolina employer.
In addition, if an injury is a repetitive stress injury, such as carpel tunnel syndrome, the 90-day clock doesn’t start until the date an injured worker discovers the injury or could have discovered the injury through a diagnosis.
A South Carolina employer is not allowed to fire or punish a worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, your employer is not allowed to fire or punish your co-workers if they testify on your behalf.
Finding the Right Attorney for Your Easley, South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case
Once your South Carolina work-related injury has been reported to your employer, you should be sent to a doctor selected by your employer. It’s important that you follow the instructions given by your employer and the doctor.
The next step you should take is to hire a skilled Easley, South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. If you’re unsure which attorney is right for your individual case, you should interview several attorneys, and ask a lot of questions. Some of the questions you may want to ask are:
- How many years of experience do you have in workers’ compensation cases?
- Who at your law firm will be handling my case?
- Will your law firm communicate with me regularly about my South Carolina workers’ compensation case?
- How does your law firm get paid?
- Why should I choose you to handle my Easley, South Carolina workers’ compensation case?
Once you’ve chosen your attorney, there are questions you should ask about your South Carolina workers’ compensation claim. You can also ask these questions during your interview process with the attorneys you interview. The questions include:
- What can I do to help my case?
- How long do you believe the process will take?
- Do you think I could pursue a negligence claim against a third party?
- What obstacles do you think may be present in my South Carolina workers’ compensation case?
- Is there any other information and/or action you need from me?
- If my Easley, South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits are denied, do I have an option to appeal?
The attorneys at the law firm of David R. Price, Jr., P.A., are dedicated to helping you resolve your Easley, South Carolina workers’ compensation claim as quickly and effectively as possible. They will work to claim all of the benefits you are entitled to for your work-related injury, so you and your family can heal and move forward with your lives.