If you’ve been injured at work in South Carolina, the good news is that you have options to receive financial compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Although nothing will be enough to make up for having to experience the injury in the first place, the right to workers’ compensation does ensure that injured workers need not fear losing their income and worrying about supporting their families while recovering from a workplace injury. A qualified Greenville SC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer can help guide you through this process.
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
Before starting the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina, it’s critical that you understand the importance of moving quickly. This is rarely a problem for workers who have been seriously injured and need assistance immediately, but it can be more problematic in cases where workers developed their injuries over a longer period of time. The fact is that injured workers could put themselves at a serious disadvantage if they wait too long to bring forward a claim for compensation. Delay can cast doubt on the validity of the claim and make it harder to get evidence of the injury into your medical record. For those who experienced a sudden and specific workplace injury, time is of the essence.
For those whose injuries have developed over time, rather than all at once, it is important to understand that you may still be permitted to bring a workers’ comp claim even if significant time has elapsed. These cases concern repetitive or cumulative injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, which may take years before they are noticed or diagnosed. Thankfully, the law says that the clock to report the matter doesn’t begin ticking until the employee either knew or should have known about the condition.
Step 1 – Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Now that you understand how important timing can be to filing a South Carolina workers’ comp claim, what’s the first step? If you’re facing a serious and potentially debilitating injury the next step is simple: seek immediate medical help. Go to a doctor and have your condition treated and your medical issues formally recorded. If the injury isn’t as urgent, move on to Step 3.
Step 2 – Notify Your Employer of the Injury
The next action that needs to be taken by an injured worker eager to preserve his or her rights in a South Carolina workplace injury case is to notify his or her employer as soon as possible. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act says that workers need to strive to give notice to their employer at the time of the accident or as soon as possible thereafter. Although timing is crucial, the law does make clear that injured workers have up to 90 days after the injury to report the accident to employers. However, if you do not notify your employer within 90 days of the date of the injury, you may lose the right to file your claim. It is therefore very important that you notify your employer as soon as possible after you suffer a work injury.
Step 3 – Submit Paperwork to Insurance Carrier
Once you’ve notified your employer of the injury, the ball really gets rolling. Assuming your employer is willing to cooperate, they will be in charge of giving you forms to fill out which they will then submit to the proper insurance carrier to process the injury claim.
Unfortunately, in some cases, employers may not be willing to cooperate and might fight or attempt to ignore the claim. If so, it’s your job to stand up for yourself and reach out to an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney who can file your claim directly with the state workers’ compensation agency. It’s important to note that just because an employer drags their feet does not mean that an injured worker could be left without recourse, you can always move forward on your own and bring the workers’ comp case.
Step 4 – Investigation & Payout
Once the matter has been officially recorded and reported to state and insurance officials, the case will be investigated and benefits will hopefully be paid out. If your employer fights the case, this process could take longer than you might hope, but if not, it shouldn’t be long until an adjuster reaches out with instructions about submitting medical bills for payment.
Although it is almost inevitable that accidents will happen at work, under South Carolina law, employers are still responsible for keeping the workplace safe for all staff members. If you have been hurt on the job, contact Workers’ Comp Attorney David R. Price, Jr., P.A., to learn more about how to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.