Because workers' comp provides no-fault coverage, you don't have to prove your employer did anything wrong to cause your injury, and you cannot be fired or penalized for filing a claim. It's important to remember, however, that your employer's insurance company, which actually pays workers' comp benefits, is in business to earn profits. It does not do so by paying out large sums of money in benefits. If your claim is an expensive or complicated one, the insurer might dispute or deny it. When this happens, you may need a workers' comp lawyer to help you seek fair benefits.
Confusing Areas of South Carolina Workers' Comp Law
Sustaining an accidental injury while you're on a business trip can put you into a gray area where there's potential for disagreement among you, your employer, and the employer's worker's comp insurer.
The “Coming-and-Going” Rule
When you commute every day from your home to your workplace, workers' comp generally does not cover any injury you sustain while coming to or going home from work. Injuries you suffer when you go offsite for your lunch break are typically not covered, either, unless you've been sent to pick up food for your boss or were provided with a company car for the trip.
Business Trip Vehicle Accidents
If you're hurt in a car accident while traveling on business for your employer or when you're driving to or from the airport to take a flight out of town, the insurer might try to invoke the coming-and-going rule to deny your claim for compensation. You, however, can logically argue that your business travel is not the same as your daily commute. You would not have been driving your vehicle at the time and place where you were injured if your boss had not sent you on this trip, so your injury should be compensable.
Injury at a Hotel or Motel
If you're injured in some way at the hotel or motel where you're staying during your business trip, the insurer can claim that you were not engaged in any work activity during your time at the hotel, so you're not eligible for benefits. You, however, can claim that you would not have been there had your employer not sent you out of town, so your injuries should be compensable.
Injury at a Restaurant
If you're injured while eating lunch or dinner at a restaurant in your hotel or elsewhere while you're out of town for business, the insurer will try to dispute your workers' comp claim because you were not involved in a work activity when you were injured. Your argument, however, is that you would not have been in the restaurant had you not been sent on a business trip by your company. This argument gains strength if you can prove you were eating with a business client or with colleagues to discuss business.
Injury at a Bar or Recreational Event
Your position is probably a little weaker if you're hurt at a bar, ball game, private party, or another recreational event while you're out of town on business. The insurer will claim you made a personal choice to go out for drinks or other entertainment unrelated to your work. Again, you might claim that you would not have been in proximity to the scene of the accident if not for your business trip.
How a South Carolina Attorney Can Help
If your accidental injury falls into one of these gray areas, you're likely to have a fight on your hands. Your employer's insurance company has well-trained, well-paid adjusters and attorneys who might use the "3 Ds": delaying, disputing, and denying claims. An experienced workers' comp lawyer who knows how to fight the insurer's 3-D tactics can help you to level the playing field and will fight for the benefits you deserve. If your claim is denied, your attorney might request an informal conference, a hearing before the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC), a Commission Review, or an appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals if necessary. Your lawyer will also work to ensure you meet all deadlines and fulfill all the procedural requirements of the workers' comp claims procedure.
Have You Been Injured On The Job In Murrells Inlet, South Carolina?
If you've been hurt at your job you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Murrells Inlet office directly at 843.488.5472 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach, Florence or North Charleston office locations.