South Carolina Workers' Comp Rights
After a work accident, you might be concerned about what to do next. You’re worried about your bills, and now you and your family don’t have the wages you relied on. You’ll need to seek out a workers comp claim, but what are your South Carolina workers’ comp rights?
Fortunately, South Carolina workers do have several rights when it comes to their compensation. If you’re concerned about yours, speak with a lawyer from HawkLaw, PA. For more information call 888.HAWK.LAW or use our contact page today.
What Happens After a Workplace Injury in South Carolina?
Workers in South Carolina are required to report any workplace injury to their employer within 90 days of the event. The employer then files a report with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The injured worker is also required to file their own claim within two years of the accident.
In an ideal world, your employer would report your injury to the workers’ compensation insurance company, and the company would simply agree with your claim regarding the workplace injury you suffered. They would then agree to pay out a workers’ comp settlement that pays all of your medical expenses, disability, lost wages, and other allowable damages. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world, and the workers’ compensation system can often seem stacked against you.
If you find yourself in a position where you have to fight for the workers’ comp settlement you deserve, the workers’ compensation lawyers at HawkLaw are here to help. Give us a call at 888-HAWKLAW or use our easy online form to schedule a free consultation* with our law firm today.
Eligibility for a South Carolina Workers’ Comp Claim
Whether you are an independent contractor or an employee matters for your South Carolina workers’ comp claim. Your chances for compensation could be affected by how your employer labels you. You may need to reach out to an attorney about your claim if your employer is not calling you a traditional employee.
If you’re an employee, you typically do not have to worry about your workers’ compensation. Almost all South Carolina workers are eligible for workers’ comp benefits, with few exceptions. For most employees, that means you’ll just have to file a claim for your losses.
Your Right to Coverage
First, you’ll need to know whether you have a right to workers’ comp coverage. Although workers’ comp benefits are offered to almost all employees in South Carolina, some workers may not be eligible to file for a workers’ comp claim.
Who is Eligible for Workers’ Comp
Fortunately, most South Carolina workers are covered by their workers’ comp insurance. If an employer hires four or more employees, they’re typically required to carry this compensation. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, employers are not required to cover independent contractors, and casual employees might find themselves without workers’ comp. If you are one of the following types of employees, you may need to speak to your attorney about your options for compensation:
- Agricultural workers
- Some textile workers
- Railway company employees
- Certain real estate agents
- Members of LLC companies
However, other groups might have other options. For example, federal workers may not be able to file for South Carolina workers’ comp while working in the state. However, they may be able to file for federal coverage.
If you’re not sure whether you are covered, you may need to speak to your workers’ comp lawyer. They can help you determine whether you should be covered and whether your employer is offering the required coverage.
Your Right to Compensation
When you are injured at work, you more than likely have a right to workers’ compensation benefits. Few workers who work for a company of more than four people do not have these benefits. As such, you should be able to seek compensation from your employer. You need to report your injury to your employer within ninety days or you may be unable to receive benefits for your work injury. You might be unable to file right away, due to the accident, but you’ll be expected to act as soon as possible.
All reasonable care related to your recovery should be covered under your workers’ comp benefits.
You may also receive compensation through disability benefits. This benefit pays out a certain percentage of your wages, depending on the type of injury and the length of time you will be unable to work. Your disability benefits should provide you with a percentage of the weekly wages you originally earned to help you meet your living expenses.
I believe I was responsible for my work accident. Will it affect my work comp claim?
Fortunately, South Carolina workers do not have to worry if they were partly responsible for the accident. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system in SC, so your fault should not factor into your claim at all. You should be covered regardless.
The only exceptions to this rule are attempts to harm yourself or the abuse of drugs or alcohol. These incidents will be treated differently because of the gross negligence involved. If your employer has accused you of either of these things, speak to your lawyer about defending yourself.
Rights after a Denial and Appeal
When you were injured, you should have gotten medical care first. After that, you should have sent a report to your employer about your accident, stating that you were injured and that you are now seeking compensation.
Unfortunately, even if you are covered by your employer and everything else goes smoothly, you could still be denied. That leaves you and your family without compensation. That does not mean you’re out of options.
If you have been denied and you are not sure what to do, a call to your attorney can help.
You might have already received a denial letter, but don’t panic. As a worker, you have a right to defend your claim in a hearing if your employer continues to refuse your claim. South Carolina workers can continue fighting back by scheduling a hearing and seeking a change in the decision. First speak to your employer informally, but if you cannot reach an agreement, you can file a formal appeal with the Worker’s Compensation Commission. Your South Carolina attorney can fight back for you if your workers’ comp claim has been denied. You may need help gathering evidence, building a defense, and defending yourself during your hearing.
The reason for your initial denial will help you in this process. If you know why they refused your claim, you can take certain actions to try to change the decision. For example, if they claim your situation does not meet the definition of an injury, you need to have more exams to prove that this is not true.
During your hearing, you will present evidence against your denial. You might have been denied for a lack of evidence of injury or a lack of proof that your accident happened at work, or your employer might have simply not reported your injury. In any of these cases, your attorney can present further evidence that you are owed benefits and help you get your settlement approved.
Workers’ Compensation Options for Independent Contractors
An independent contractor, however, may not be eligible. These workers are employed by contract and are not direct employees of the business. Instead, they work as agreed on by their contract using their own methods, tools, and processes. Because contractors aren’t considered full employees, they may not be eligible for workers’ comp.
However, just because your boss is calling you an independent contractor does not mean that you have to accept that answer. Instead, you may have options to act and get your workers’ comp if you believe they are making a mistake.
In some cases, an employer may call an employee an independent contractor to avoid a work comp claim. A successful workers’ compensation claim could affect the insurance premiums they pay, which means they may have to pay more for insurance if you are hurt. However, you will have a chance to fight back.
There are a few parts of the independent contractor definition that could be key to your claim. Keep in mind, for example, that an employee will have an employer-employee relationship. That means that the worker is subject to following the employer’s methods, not their own. These steps and others can help your lawyer get your claim changed.
You Can Protect Your Rights with an Attorney
Dealing with the pain and expenses of a work-related injury can be stressful. Fortunately, you do have rights as a South Carolina worker, and your lawyer from HawkLaw, PA will fight for those workers’ comp rights.
If you’re uncertain that your South Carolina workers’ compensation rights are being respected, reach out for help. An attorney can help you understand your rights, and we will fight for those rights if they are not being met. If you are concerned about your rights, reach out for a free consultation*, where we will discuss your work comp benefits and what you can expect.