Getting hurt on the job is a frightening situation to face. Not only do you have lost wages, but you’ll also have mounting medical bills. It is worrisome to wonder how it is all going to get paid. How long can a worker’s comp claim stay open in South Carolina? Could this help you get back on track if you get workers’ compensation? If you act fast, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation claims. Contact our South Carolina workers’ comp lawyers at 888.HAWK.LAW to start your claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Under the Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina law, a person has the right to seek out financial support to cover their medical expenses, temporary total compensation for lost time at work, as well as permanent disability benefits if that person is hurt by accident on the job, according to the South Carolina Bar. A workplace accident is clearly defined as one that arises out of and in the course of employment.
The first step is knowing that you were hurt on the job and that your claim falls under this law. However, there is a limit on how long you have the right to file a compensation claim. This time limit is called the statute of limitations.
In most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date the incident occurred. There are exceptions to this.
What does this mean for you? In short, it means you need to take action to obtain compensation for your losses before that two-year mark, in most cases. This action may mean filing a workers’ compensation claim. You need to tell your employer about the workplace injury within that timeframe to be eligible for coverage of those losses.
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission oversees the process of filing claims and when such claims apply. It is critical that you understand the time frames applicable in your situation. As an injured worker, take action as soon as possible to file a claim with an insurance company – but do so with the support and guidance you need. SC workers can benefit from working with a workers’ compensation attorney throughout this process.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Yes, there are exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations on filing workers’ compensation insurance claims. There are some situations where a work-related injury is not fully recognized within that time frame. It may take time for you to learn of an illness or injury you had because of the slow progression of it. These situations may help you get more time to report the injury.
One example of this is a repetitive trauma incident. Conditions like carpal tunnel or debilitating back pain can occur due to the work you do. However, you may not initially recognize the symptoms related to your work duties, or it may take some time for these to worsen enough to seek medical treatment.
Another situation occurs when a person cannot file a claim because of being incapacitated. You may be unable to report that you are an injured worker for some time, perhaps because you were unconscious or unable to speak or communicate for a significant length of time. This could happen, for example, after a car accident leaves you in a coma for some time.
Occupational diseases are also applicable here. For example, you may have been exposed to a chemical over years of work. During that time, the chemical is causing damage to you, putting you at a higher risk for conditions like cancer. You do not know about it early on, and it may take years for this disease to become evident. You may still be able to file a claim for your losses.
Other extenuating circumstances may also be available and apply in your situations. The most important thing to remember is that you should report your workplace accident and the resulting injury as soon as possible, but even if it is beyond that two-year mark, there may still be an opportunity to file for compensation. Work with an injury lawyer who can help you determine how to obtain the support you need in these more challenging and complex legal situations. Seek legal advice before you dismiss your case as being too long ago to take action.
What Do Workers’ Compensation Cases Pay For?
Workers’ compensation laws make it clear that a person should receive compensation for any losses that occurred as a result of the accident (if the accident falls under a true workplace injury). The workers’ compensation benefits you receive, then, should include anything that is hindering you. As noted, it may be helpful to work with a workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you determine what you qualify for, as that can help you get compensated for all potential losses. Here are some examples.
- Average weekly wage: Your comp benefits typically include a portion of your average weekly wage or a percent of the amount you earn. The compensation rate is dependent on multiple factors.
- Medical care: You may receive compensation for any medical care you have had to obtain as a result of your job injury. This may include emergency medical care, medications that you have to take, surgical procedures, in-hospital stays, and other medical bills directly related to the accident.
- Therapy for injuries: If you need therapy and rehabilitation, that may also be included. That includes occupational therapy to help you get back to work if possible.
- Partial disability: You may qualify for partial disability if you cannot work as much or do the same type of work. Your impairment rating determines how much loss you’ve had and, as a result, what type of work you can and cannot do. This impairment plays a role in the comp benefits you receive. In some situations, you may be able to learn a new job to do.
- Total disability: Some people suffer significant injuries or loss of function. You may be unable to work at all. This may be due to debilitating health complications or other factors that limit your mobility or ability to function in any job.
- Death benefits: Family members who lost a loved one due to a workplace accident may qualify for death benefits for that individual. Death benefits take into account a person’s likely earnings throughout their lifetime, along with things like loss of companionship.
The losses you have are dependent on the experiences you have had. What did the personal injury do to you? How are you struggling as a result of it? Working with a comp attorney, you will learn more about the types of losses you can file for in your case with the insurance carrier.
Your work-related injury may change over time, too. In some cases, it may worsen, while in others, you may be able to get back to work in a short period of time. If you are unsure if you can file a claim, meet with a law firm that can provide guidance and support for you in these complex cases.
Why Choose HawkLaw for Workplace Accident Cases?
The South Carolina workers’ compensation laws are there to help you. They are complex and have numerous limitations and restrictions on when they apply. At HawkLaw, we can provide you with the support you need as you work through this process.
We fight hard for our clients. We understand what you are facing and want to provide you with representation every step of the way. Additionally, we build a case and negotiate with the workers’ compensation insurance provider. This allows us to help you show just what you have experienced due to the accident. We work to gather all evidence available, even talking to a co-worker that saw what happened or gathering other witness statements.
We also help with appeals when necessary. If you have to appeal your case to the workers’ compensation commissioner, we will be there to support you throughout that process, protecting your rights and proving your case.
When you work with our team, you get treated with compassion and care. Let us provide that to you. Your first step is to request a free consultation* from HawkLaw to discuss your case. Let us provide you with information in a one-on-one conversation.