An experienced attorney can help you seek the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. If you’re accidentally injured or develop an occupational disease in the course of doing your job, you’re entitled to file a claim for workers’ compensation, which is no-fault insurance covering employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses.
South Carolina businesses with four or more employees are required to carry workers’ comp, and your boss may not fire you for filing a claim. Even if your work-related injury is your own fault, workers’ comp should cover your:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Disability care
- Vocational retraining (if necessary)
- Death benefit (in the event of a fatal accident)
Some South Carolina Workers' Compensation Claims Are More Simple Than Others
Chances are your workers’ comp claim will be accepted and paid by your employers’ insurance company if:
- Your injury or illness is clearly work-related, and your employer does not dispute your claim.
- You report your injury or illness correctly and follow all guidelines.
- Your injury or illness is not serious, and your medical bills are low.
- You miss little or no work.
Under these circumstances, you probably don’t need a lawyer to help with your claim.
While Other Workers' Compensation Claims Are Much More Complicated
Insurance companies are not so quick to pay expensive or complicated claims. You might need an attorney to help you get fair benefits under any of the following circumstances:
- Your employer claims your injury or illness is not work-related.
- Your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance.
- You’re not eligible for workers’ comp.
- You’re already receiving government benefits.
- Your injury or disability is serious enough to require expensive long-term treatment.
- You have a pre-existing medical condition.
- The insurance company is slow or reluctant to approve procedures/surgeries.
- You’re not receiving the medical care you need.
- You’re offered a settlement that will not cover your present/future bills.
- You’re not receiving your benefits on time.
- Your employer disputes or denies your claim or retaliates against you for filing.
- Your doctor and/or employer expect you to return to work too soon.
- Your employer asks you to undergo an independent medical exam (IME).
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) allows you to appeal a claim at five different levels. You’re most likely to navigate the complex appeals process successfully with the help of a workers’ comp lawyer.
Reasons to Hire a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Under any of the circumstances above, hiring a workers’ comp attorney levels the playing field for you. The insurance company has lawyers trained to devalue and deny expensive and complicated claims. They know you’re no match for them in the art of claim negotiation, especially when you’re recovering from your injury or illness.
If you have legal representation, however, they’re forced to take your claim more seriously because they know an attorney can fight them for a fair settlement in many ways:
- Determining your eligibility for benefits
- Dealing with all claim deadlines, procedural requirements, interviews, and filings
- Presenting your medical evidence convincingly
- Distinguishing a pre-existing condition from your current work-related injury or illness
- Calling in expert witnesses to support your claim
- Disputing the evidence given by the insurance company’s witnesses
- Estimating your future medical/disability care expenses
- Seeking the benefits you deserve and demanding a fair settlement to meet your current and future medical expenses as well as your lost wages and applicable loss of earning potential
- Negotiating for a lump-sum payment
- Helping you get a second medical opinion or IME at no cost to you
- Making sure your disability, if any, is properly categorized and rated
- Requesting a hearing before the SCWCC if your claim is denied or you’re not receiving treatments/benefits in a timely manner
- Appealing your claim to the SC Court of Appeals or Supreme Court, if necessary, and meeting all deadlines and requirements set by the Court
An attorney can also help you file a third-party lawsuit if someone other than your employer or a co-worker is fully or partially responsible for your injury. A third-party suit can lead to extra compensation for the remaining one-third of your lost wages and your pain and suffering, which are not covered by workers’ comp.
Have You Been Injured On The Job?
If you've been hurt at your job you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.