Workers’ compensation insurance is required for employers in South Carolina with over four employees, it’s a type of business insurance that provides medical and wage benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses.
Workers’ comp benefits can compensate you for your medical expenses, including doctors’ visits, ongoing care, prescription costs, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and prosthetic devices.
Are you looking for a worker’s compensation lawyer in Columbia, SC?
It is important for you to understand your rights. The Lovely Law Firm Injury Lawyers has you covered. We handle job injury cases statewide.
If you have been injured or became ill while on the job, you can file a claim with your employer’s compensation insurance carrier.
Injured and ill workers are not required to prove fault or negligence to recover compensation. Nor will you be required to use your medical insurance, pay any copays – or deductibles.
You may be eligible to recover monetary benefits that recover a percentage of your regular income – up to a maximum amount – if your work-related injury or illness prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time.
Workers’ comp insurance also pays death benefits to families of employees who are killed on the job. These benefits cover any funeral and burial costs, in addition to a percentage of the employee’s lost income.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation in Columbia, SC
Employers with at least four employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina. However, there are exemptions, some employers are not required to carry workers’ comp for their employees, these include:
- Federal employees
- Independent contractors & casual employees
- Employers with less than $3,000 in annual payroll in the previous year
- Corporate officers
- Sole proprietors
- Agricultural employees – or workers selling agricultural products
- Railroad or railway express company employees
- Licensed real estate agents working for a broker
What Injuries Are Covered?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, work accidents and injuries are relatively common.
In 2017, which is the most recent year for which information is available, the BLS that there were 2.8 million non-fatal injuries that occurred in private places of employment. Among those who were injured, 882,730 were forced to miss days from their jobs.
In South Carolina, private industry employers had a work injury rate of 2.5 workers for every 100 full-time equivalent employees in 2016. Public sector employees in the state had a higher incidence of injuries at slightly under 4.5 injuries for every 100 full-time equivalent workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that the following types of work-related injuries were reported the most frequently in 2018:
- Struck by accidents
- Caught in or between objects or machinery
- Eye and face injuries
- Forklift injuries
- Toxic exposures
- Musculoskeletal injuries
Many workers also develop chronic illnesses from their jobs. These types of injuries can include mesothelioma, other types of cancer, hearing loss, blindness, and others.
Workers who have the highest risk of workplace injuries work in the construction, manufacturing, health care, and public safety industries.
Despite this, workers who work at jobs that are perceived as being relatively safe often suffer injuries and illnesses because of their jobs. For example, a common type of workplace injury that is suffered by many office workers is carpal tunnel syndrome.
What To Do If You’re Hurt At Work
The first thing you should do when injured at work is to report it to your employer.
In South Carolina, you have 90 days from when you became aware of your injury to report it
Failure to do so could put your workers’ compensation claim in jeopardy. We see many claims be denied because workers don’t report their injury in this timeframe.
The next step is to seek medical treatment. Make sure that you meet all of the requirements that are outlined by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Your employer will choose a doctor for you to see. Make certain that you keep all of your appointments and follow any recommendations that you are given by the physician. Your injuries will be documented by the physician, so it is important for you to explain them in detail.
Do not downplay your injuries or exaggerate about them.
Keep an open line of communication with your lawyer. Your attorney will keep what you tell him or her confidential. You will need to explain what happened to your attorney and to tell him or her about any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions that you have. Being honest is crucial so that your case will be stronger.
When you are dealing with the insurance company, do not agree to sign a document or to provide a recorded statement without talking to your attorney first. Avoid talking to people who ask you about your injuries. Insurance companies frequently hire private investigators to try to uncover evidence that they can use against injured workers.
Tell your friends, family, and co-workers to not discuss your injuries or illness with anyone who asks questions about you.
Try to avoid social media. Do not talk about your claim or your injury on social media. A common tactic that is used by insurance companies is to pore over the social media pages of injured people. They do this to find pictures and posts that they might argue show that your injuries are not as severe as you are claiming.
It is of the utmost importance to only discuss your workers’ compensation claim with your attorney.
How Can an Attorney Help Me With Workers’ Compensation in Columbia, SC?
The workers’ compensation system is complicated and difficult to navigate. When you have been hurt at work, it is important for you to retain an experienced lawyer to represent your interests.
The attorneys at the Lovely Law Firm can advocate for you with the insurance company so that you can focus on your recovery.
While most employers in South Carolina are mandated to provide workers’ compensation coverage, some employers and insurance companies dispute the claims that are submitted by injured or ill employees.
Some common arguments that are raised by employers and insurance carriers include the following:
- Your illness is not work-related;
- Your injuries resulted from a pre-existing condition;
- You are able to return to your job; and
- The type of medical treatment that you claim to need is not required by your illness or injury.
Insurance companies have many attorneys who fight workers’ compensation claims.
In order to get the most from your claim, It is important for you to have experienced workers’ compensation attorneys fight for you when you have been injured or sickened at your job.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and speak to a worker’s comp lawyer in Columbia, SC.
Call us at 843-738-1099 for a Free Case Evaluation.
Can I file a personal injury lawsuit after a workplace accident instead of getting workers’ comp (or in addition to) getting workers’ comp?
This is a question we are often asked. If there is a valid third party claim with your job injury, we will handle both claims for you. You have to file and settle your workers comp claim case first in South Carolina in order to protect your workers compensation benefits. IF you attempt to pursue the third party action first, you may waive your benefits under our act.
In most cases, You cannot sue your employer directly, the workers compensation system will be your exclusive remedy for recovery after a job injury.
If you do have a third party case with your work injury claim, your workers compensation adjuster will place a lien in your third party recovery. They Have a right to subrogation for the benetis they pay in your workers compensation claim. We negotiate this lien as part of our representation so that all of your third party reverie is not repaying the workers compensation carrier. These are delicate issues and you need to call us to evaluate your workers compensation claim so your benefits are maximized.
If my claim’s approved, how quickly will I be paid?
There is a waiting period in workers compensation. There is a seven-day waiting period before benefits can be paid. If you are out of work for more than seven days, payments will come from your employer’s insurance representative. If you are out of work for more than 14 days, you will receive compensation even for the first seven days. If your claim is denied it will take longer as we fight to get your case accepted. Once accepted you will get a lump sum for the back pay due.
The defense adjuster will probably drag their feet and delay your payments! Call us to get your benefits started as soon as we can.
My family member was killed in a workplace accident – will we get workers’ comp for that?
Wrongful Death cases can result from job accidents that kill the worker. You are entitled to your maximum benefit of 500 weeks under the SC workers comp act but you may also have a wrongful death suits. Just as we pursue third party claims we pursue all avenues of revery to provide for the family of the deceased worker.