Steps to Take After a Workplace Crush Injury

If you suffer a work-related crush injury, you should take the following steps immediately to begin the workers' compensation claim process:

Report Your Accidental Injury

As soon as you're physically able to do so, report your accident and injury to your supervisor or a claims administrator at your workplace. If you are hospitalized or incapacitated, ask someone to do so on your behalf. Your employer should inform their insurance company of your injury and file your claim for benefits with the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC). If this does not happen within a week to 10 days, you can do so yourself (or with someone's help if necessary) with Form 50 from the SCWCC website.

Get Medical Attention

If you're not transported to a hospital after your accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible from a doctor who is certified by your employer's insurance company. You should not get treatment from your own doctor. Doing so could damage your claim for benefits. Follow the recommended doctor's treatment plan to the letter, keep all medical appointments, follow up on all referrals, and take all medication exactly as prescribed. You should also retain all receipts and other documentation of your treatment.

Keeping a daily journal of your treatment and recovery process can further strengthen your claim. In your journal, focus on your ability (or lack thereof) to perform the physical activities required by your job. If you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and are cleared by your doctor to return to work, even with restrictions or at a light-duty position, you should show up and perform your duties to the best of your ability.

Don't Delay

Although the SCWCC actually allows you 90 days to report your injury and two years to file your claim, you should not wait to do either. Any delay in reporting, filing, or seeking medical attention can be cited by the insurer as evidence that you're not as badly hurt as you say you are.

Be Prepared for a Fight

While it's very important for you to meet all deadlines and observe other procedural requirements, simply filing your claim correctly and on time does not guarantee that you'll be granted fair benefits. You may be in for a fight with the insurance company and its lawyers, so you're well advised to have an experienced attorney in your corner as well.

Claim Denials

Because your employer's workers' comp insurer is in business to earn a profit, it is most likely to accept and pay claims for minor injuries resulting in low medical expenses and little or no lost income. Claims for crush injuries, however, often require surgery, long-term hospitalization, physical therapy, home care, rehabilitation, assistive equipment, and vocational re-training. These treatments can add up to a very expensive claim that the insurance company might dispute and refuse to pay.

When You Need an Attorney

Even if your claim is accepted, the insurer still might be slow to approve necessary medical procedures due to their expense. You should contact a workers' comp lawyer right away if your claim is denied, payments are not timely, or your employer retaliates against you for filing a claim. Your attorney can help by:

  • Representing you in an informal conference
  • Requesting a hearing before the SCWCC or a commission review
  • Appealing your denied claim to the Court of Appeals

If your crush injury results in long-term or permanent disability, your lawyer can negotiate in some cases to have your benefits paid in a lump sum rather than in weekly payments.

Have You Been Injured On The Job In Florence?

If you've been hurt at your job in or around Florence, South Carolina, you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Florence personal injury office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our CharlestonConwayMyrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. PleasantNorth Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.