Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect employees against job-related injuries and provide for them should such an injury occur. No matter what the cause of the injury was, if it happened at work, you should be compensated. Despite this being a right for all workers, sometimes employers push back and refuse to grant approval for workers’ compensation benefits. If you have a legitimate work-related injury and are struggling to get your benefits, the workers’ comp attorneys at Hite & Stone can help you fight for what you deserve.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that all employers with more than three employees in South Carolina are required to carry. It is a no-fault plan that provides benefits to workers who are injured or become ill due to work-related activities. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide prompt and reasonable wage replacement and medical benefits to those injured in work-related accidents, regardless of fault. In exchange for this benefit, workers are barred from suing their employers for damages when they are injured at work.
Workers’ compensation in South Carolina provides the following benefits:
- Medical care. Doctor visits, prescriptions, physical therapy, surgery, and other necessary treatment will be paid for you, but you must go to the doctor selected by your employer or its insurance company. If you choose to go to your own doctor, your medical care may not be covered.
- Compensation for lost wages. If you are unable to work for more than seven days because of your injury, you should receive a lost wage benefit of 66⅔% of your average weekly pay rate until the doctor releases you.
- Compensation for permanent disability. If your injury has left you permanently partially or totally disabled, you will be eligible for long-term benefits according to state guidelines. Paraplegics, quadriplegics, and brain-damaged workers are entitled to benefits for the rest of their lives.
In order to get the benefits you deserve, it is important that you follow the state-mandated procedure for reporting your injury and applying for benefits.
Applying for Benefits
When you are involved in an accident at work, you must report the incident to your employer within 90 days in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer should have accident report forms available in break areas or other common spaces. You then have two years to file a claim for benefits. Sometimes, the seriousness of an injury following a workplace accident is not immediately clear. The two-year window allows time for this possibility.
Some common workplace accidents that lead to South Carolina workers’ comp claims include the following:
- Being struck by or against an object
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals
- Physical conflict
- Repetitive motion
- Slip and falls or trip and falls
- Too much physical exertion
- Vehicular accidents
Injuries such as these are more likely to occur in industries such as construction, manufacturing, warehouse work, and trucking, but even janitorial and office workers can suffer debilitating injuries in workplace accidents.
Denial of Your Benefits
Fault for the accident cannot be cause for denial, so even if you are clumsy and drop a heavy object on your foot, for example, your injury should be covered. However, your company’s workers’ compensation insurance provider may still deny benefits by claiming that the injury was not work-related or that you are not truly injured. A strong workers’ comp application will include evidence of the accident occurring at work—such as surveillance video or witness statements—and medical evidence of your injury, including x-rays and medical reports. While you are not required to have an attorney for a workers’ comp claim, a lawyer with experience in these kinds of claim can be an important asset.
Decades of Local Legal Experience
Since no two cases are ever the same, it is important to consult a workers’ compensation attorney if you have been hurt on the job. At Hite & Stone, we’ve been handling workers’ comp cases for more than 30 years. As a family-oriented law firm, we strive to make every client feel legally protected. No matter how serious your injury, we will invest the time it takes to help speed your recovery and provide for your future.