Across the United States in 2018, there were more than 2.8 million reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. In South Carolina, injured workers were provided more than $827 million in medical premiums paid for care related to their injuries. The workers’ compensation system exists here and across the country to ensure that employees who are hurt or fall ill on the job are able to obtain the medical treatment and compensation they need to recover as fully as possible. It can seem overwhelming, though, for those who have never experienced an injury and must navigate the system. There are five important steps to take after a work-related injury.
5 Things Injured Workers Should Do After an Injury
After a work injury, an employee may be hesitant to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, he simply might be unsure of what to do. In other cases, he may fear his claim will be denied. However, workers’ compensation benefits are available to injured employees regardless of fault, and employers are expressly forbidden from retaliating against a worker who has filed an injury claim. If you or someone you love suffered an injury on the job, it’s important to:
- Notify your employer. Make your employer aware of your work-related injury as soon as possible. By law, workers have 90 days to provide this notification, but it’s best to do so with hours or days of the injury. Provide the notice in writing, and keep a copy of the notice.
- Seek medical care. In South Carolina, employers are allowed to choose the care providers of injured workers, except in immediate, emergency situations. Your employer should offer a list of approved providers, so you can find a doctor who meets your needs. It is essential to see a doctor as soon as you can; failing to seek care for an injury undermines the seriousness of the claim.
- Retain all records and receipts. Keep any documents related to your work injury and your employment, including medical bills, injury reports, employer emails or evaluations, doctor notes, and anything else that may be considered during a workers’ compensation claim.
- Maintain a journal documenting your injury experience. It is often helpful to keep a personal record of your injury. While a journal may not be admissible as evidence, it can help keep your memory fresh and provide a vital timeline of events.
- Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Although the assistance of an attorney is not required in a workers’ compensation claim, an experience lawyer can help injury victims understand their rights fully and obtain all the compensation to which they are entitled. Many injured workers have never utilized the workers’ compensation system before, and an attorney can help you avoid common pitfalls that can hurt your claim.
Even if you aren’t sure if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, don’t wait to protect your rights. Our experienced lawyers can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and take effective action, so you can get on the road to recovery as soon as possible. Call our Myrtle Beach office today, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch with a member of our team.