Charleston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
The South Carolina workers’ compensation system serves to protect employees in the event of an injurious, on-the-job accident.
Workers’ comp laws create a fast and easy way for employees to collect payment for medical care relating to workplace injuries. The goal of workers’ compensation is to save workers the hassle of a civil lawsuit, and for the most part, it is successful.
In many cases, however, the system fails injured employees, trapping them in red tape and effectively denying compensation for legitimate medical costs. In these situations, seek an experienced Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer for assistance.
Reasons To File A Charleston SC Workers Comp Claim
If you’ve suffered a work accident, you might not be sure whether it’s worth filing a Charleston workers comp claim. You feel mostly fine at the moment, so you don’t believe your accident was serious enough for workers compensation. Unfortunately, even accidents that sound minor can affect your ability to work.
Many common accidents can turn serious quickly. For example, a slip-and-fall might not seem serious at first, but a fall could cause head trauma, leaving you with a serious concussion that won’t show up until later. Seeing a doctor now can also help prevent later accusations that your injury didn’t happen at work.
If you’ve been injured in almost any kind of on-the-job accident, you should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits:
- Vehicle accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Work-related illnesses
- Accidents with heavy machinery
- Falling objects
Who’s Eligible for Workers’ Comp In Charleston?
Once you’ve determined that you’re going to need medical care or be unable to work for a time because of your injuries or illness, you’ll need to determine whether you’re eligible for workers’ comp. While most of South Carolina’s working population is eligible, you might not be certain that you’re included in that group.
Unfortunately, some people are covered by South Carolina’s worker’s compensation laws. If you find that you may not be covered, speak to your Charleston work comp attorney about your options. Certain employee groups might be eligible for alternative types of compensation. For example, a federal employee might receive compensation through the government—not through South Carolina’s work comp program.
So, before you decide that you do not have access to workers’ comp benefits, contact your employer and workers comp lawyer in Charleston and review the list below. The following workers may need to seek alternatives to workers’ compensation if they’re injured on the job:
- Casual or temporary employees
- Federal employees
- Railway workers
- Agricultural workers
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Charleston
Once you’ve confirmed that you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you’ll need to act quickly to report your injury and file your claim. South Carolina employees will have ninety days to report their injuries to their employees. If they do not act in time, they could lose their chance to receive benefits.
When you report the injury, report as many important details as possible. They will need to know what happened, when and where your injury happened, and who witnessed the incident. Once your employers have the information they need to file your claim, they will take your claim to the work comp insurer.
The insurer will examine your claim, assess the severity of your injury, and send you their decision. If you receive an approval, you should receive your worker’s comp benefits soon after. Read more about how to file for workers compensation here.
Reasons For a Workman’s Comp Denial
Sadly, not every workers’ compensation claim gets approved. You might be facing a denial letter. It can feel like the end of your chance to recover, and many people might assume it is. Fortunately, you do still have a chance to fight back.
For the most part, denial of a workers’ compensation claim happens because the insurance company is trying to prevent fraud and exploitation of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Unfortunately, all too often these agencies are overzealous in their efforts to protect the act, and a workers’ comp attorney needs to step in.
Other times, an injury attorney is needed simply because the insurance company is trying to get out of paying a settlement. After all, insurance companies work for profit, and they do not make money by paying your claim.
When you are denied a claim, there are several steps to take. First, you and your work comp lawyer in Charleston will need to discuss the reason for your denial, which should be listed in your denial letter. The reason for your workman’s comp denial will be what your appeal will need to focus on. In some cases, it might be as simple as a need for more proof that you were injured.
By examining your denial reason with your lawyer, you can anticipate the points your employer and insurer will make in any dispute down the road. You will be able to address the supposed issues with your claim and fight for the benefits you know you deserve.
Not sure what to expect? The following are some examples of denial reasons you might encounter:
- Not enough evidence of the injury
- Not enough evidence that the accident happened at work
- A missed deadline
The Appeals Process
Once you have determined why you were denied, you and your lawyer can appeal the decision. If there is a dispute or your employer simply never filed your claim, you will first have your appeal heard by South Carolina workers comp officials.
If you are still unable to get the benefits you need, you can appeal this decision, too. When this happens, you may meet with your employer and a neutral party to attempt to settle the dispute.
During this entire process, your lawyer will argue for your case. If you have any evidence to dispute your insurance company’s reasons for denial, you or your Charleston work comp lawyer will present that evidence to show that you should receive compensation for your workplace injuries.
South Carolina Workers Comp Benefits
One of the most important benefits you’ll receive will likely be your medical coverage. South Carolina workers comp pays the full amount for your medical expenses from the injury. These costs could be overwhelming in serious accidents.
You’ll also need to make sure you’re getting the disability and lost wage benefits appropriate for your situation. For example, you might be able to return to work but not to your former position. While you are taking “light duty,” you should receive partial disability benefits. These should cover two-thirds of the difference between your new and original wages.
Unfortunately, you might be completely unable to work. When you are in need of total disability benefits, you should receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage while you are unable to work.
Here is how the four levels of injury claims for SC workers’ compensation benefits break down:
- Temporary partial disability benefits kick in if you have been seriously injured at work to the point where you cannot do the work you once did, but you can still do some sort of work on restricted duty. You are also, in this case, expected to get better.
- Temporary total disability benefits mean that you have been severely injured on the job and you are completely unable to do any sort of work, even limited work. You are, however, expected to eventually recover from your injury.
- Permanent partial disability means that injured workers have suffered a level of injury whereby they cannot perform their original work duties, but they may be able to work restricted duties or a different type of job. In this case, however, the employees in question are not expected to ever get better, or they have achieved the maximum improvement they will ever reach.
- Permanent total disability means that the injured employee is completely disabled due to their work injury and is unable to do any sort of work again. They are also considered to have reached their maximum medical improvement and will never recover from their disability.
Sometimes, the workers’ compensation insurance provider will challenge the level of disability you have and will deny benefits as a result. It is at this point that a Columbia or Charleston, SC, workers’ compensation lawyer like a personal injury lawyer from HawkLaw can step in to fight for the benefits you deserve and help secure the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled for your lost wages, medical expenses, and other injury-related costs under South Carolina law.
Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation is a complicated system, with many regulations and stipulations an injured employee must navigate through before receiving benefits. Understanding how the system works, including which injuries qualify for workers’ comp and how to apply for benefits, can help employees protect their rights under South Carolina law. Here are five frequently asked questions the accident attorneys at HawkLaw receive from Charleston workers, and our answers:
What injuries qualify for workers’ comp?
In general, workers’ compensation will cover any injury that occurs while performing job-related tasks, no matter the nature or circumstances. This includes work-related car accidents, slips and falls, equipment-related injuries, and illnesses stemming from workplace materials and substances.
How do I report a workplace injury?
Directly after a work-related personal injury, report the incident to your employer. Request medical attention for your injuries if necessary. Employees who fail to report injuries to employers within 90 days of the accident risk losing their right to benefits. Your employer should report your accident.
What does workers’ compensation cover?
Workers’ compensation covers all medical costs relating to a workplace accident, including surgeries, hospitalizations, prosthetic devices, prescriptions, and medical supplies. It will also cover missed wages at a rate of 66 and 2/3 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage if the worker is out of work for at least seven days.
My workplace accident left me permanently disabled. Now what?
If a workplace accident leaves you with “permanent and total” disability, workers’ compensation in South Carolina entitles you to lifetime medical benefits and 500 weeks of wage benefits.
When do I need to file a workers’ comp claim with the courts?
You may need a lawyer’s help with your workers’ comp claim if your employer fails to report your accident, denies your injury, or if you think you did not receive your full benefits. An attorney can help you file a claim with the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission and go through hearings with your employer if necessary.
Why do I need a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney?
Though workers’ compensation laws are very clear, workers’ compensation cases can get quite complex. A workers’ compensation insurance company often looks for reasons to deny a claim. The workers’ compensation system is set up as much to doubt claims as it is to provide fair compensation for work-related injuries. When injury claims are denied, it is vital to have an experienced legal team in your corner that can provide the right legal advice to avoid mistakes, gather an iron-clad case of evidence, and help you get the benefits you need for your medical bills, medical treatment, and other harm you have suffered. That’s where a Columbia and Charleston, SC, workers’ compensation lawyer comes into the picture.
What will a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney cost?
A Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer is much more affordable than many people think. If you meet the right criteria, you may be entitled to a free consultation* for your workplace injury case. Case “worth” is determined from the total settlement amount. The settlement amount shown are gross numbers before attorney’s fees and cost deductions. The % fees will be computed before deducting expenses and costs from the gross settlement. No fees or costs with no recovery.
How do I know if I’m entitled to workers’ comp benefits?
The Workers’ Compensation Act, administered by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, states that most workers in the state are entitled to workers’ comp and disability benefits in the case of an on-the-job injury. Only a few exceptions to this rule exist, and they include employers whose payroll in the prior year was less than $3,000; casual employees who only work when needed and do not have regular hours; employees in the agricultural and railroad industries; licensed real estate agents who work for a broker; and federal employees. If you do not fall into one of these categories, you are probably entitled to benefits for job injury-related partial disability, permanent disability, or total disability, and even death benefits if you have lost a loved one to work-related injuries.
Can I get pain and suffering or emotional damages under workers’ comp
Unfortunately, a Charleston, SC, workers’ compensation lawyer will not be able to get you compensation for things like emotional trauma, mood swings, depression, pain and suffering, loss of relationships and comfort, and other forms of non-economic settlements under your workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp exists only to cover medical costs and lost wages. If, however, you have medical expenses related to these things, like therapy bills, it may be possible to have those items covered, though it can be complicated. That is why it is important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your corner like HawkLaw law firm. We understand the nuances of injury cases and can help you fight for the maximum benefits you deserve. HawkLaw fights to win!
Attempting to file a complex workers’ compensation claim without the help of a legal professional can lead to missed deadlines, denied applications, and failure to receive the benefits you need for recovery. Protect your rights as an injured American worker by retaining a Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer during the filing process.
Seek Legal Help For Workers’ Compensation Disputes By Hiring A Work Comp Attorney
Dealing with a work accident isn’t easy. You’ve suffered painful injuries, and now you’ll need to seek compensation from your employer and their insurance company. Worse, you might have already been denied the benefits you need to recover. You and your family will need those benefits when you’re unable to work.
There are some instances when companies contest liability for a workers’ compensation claim, and these injury cases can get complex. A company may allege the injured worker was not performing job-related tasks at the time of injury or that his/her own negligence contributed to the accident. In these situations, a legal advocate in Charleston, SC, can help. If you know you should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, do not let bureaucracy get in your way. Hire a personal injury lawyer in Charleston, SC, to represent you.
A workers’ compensation attorney can level the playing field between you and your employer during a dispute and increase your chances of a satisfactory outcome. If you are dealing with a complicated workers’ compensation claim for yourself or the on-the-job wrongful death of a loved one, please contact a Charleston, SC, workers’ compensation attorney at HawkLaw.
HawkLaw law firm has served the communities of Charleston, Summerville, Columbia, North Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Mount Pleasant, and other Charleston County areas for many years. Our law firm is dedicated to helping injured workers with legal advice regarding work-related injuries and seeking compensation for medical bills and other benefits guaranteed by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
We highly value a transparent attorney-client relationship as we fight tenaciously for you. A job injury can happen at any time to anyone, and workers’ compensation insurance is there to protect you. When it doesn’t, you need a law firm with a dedicated legal team that can stand up for your injury claims and fights for the fair compensation you deserve.
If you are struggling with your claim, contact a Charleston workers comp lawyer at HawkLaw for help. We will help you fight back when the insurer won’t pay you the compensation you are due. Whether it is for medical treatment to get well again or permanent disability benefits, HawkLaw fights to win!
You may even be able to get a free consultation* if you meet certain criteria. For more information on how a free consultation* works, see our disclaimer below. You also don’t usually have to worry about any costs upfront, as a good Charleston workers’ compensation attorney works on a contingency fee. That means that if we do not get you the benefits you deserve, you will not owe a fee at all.
To reach us and get your claim started, call 1+888.HAWK.LAW (429-5529) or complete the online contact form linked above and get your initial consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.