Is Greenville, South Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Available for Rideshare Drivers?

Rideshare drivers are people who offer rides to passengers who either don’t have vehicle, wish to save gas money, or are unable to driver for various other reasons. The customers use an app or the internet to order a ride. The rideshare driver comes to get them, similar to a taxi, and takes them where they wish to go. The most common way to get a ride from a rideshare driver is to use a rideshare app, like Uber or Lyft, on your mobile device. However, one thing that separates taxi drivers from rideshare service drivers is that taxi drivers are designated as employees, while rideshare drivers are not.

Because taxi drivers are employees, they are covered by workers’ compensation benefits if they get into an auto accident. Because rideshare drivers are independent contractors, they do not have this coverage. Fortunately for rideshare drivers, there are plenty of people who are fighting to change the system. Their efforts have been so effective that Uber is about to try something new in South Carolina.

The Risk of Serious Injury and Death Among Rideshare Drivers

Because rideshare drivers drive for a living, they are among the most at risk workers in Greenville, South Carolina. The same is true for others who drive for a living, including taxi drivers, commercial vehicle drivers, and delivery drivers. Auto accidents happen every day. The more a worker is on the road, the higher their odds of getting into an accident. This is especially so for rideshare drivers because they are frequently on the road during high traffic hours, such as the daily commutes to and from work and the nightly trips out and about with their passengers trying to avoid intoxicated driving. Because the risk is so high, it is essential for rideshare drivers to have some form of insurance coverage to turn to, beyond the right to file an auto insurance claim or litigate a case in a civil court.

How is Uber Trying to Solve this Problem by Providing Coverage to Rideshare Drivers?

Unfortunately, most rideshare drivers have no recourse for receiving benefits and compensation beyond filing an auto insurance claim. If the driver has the right coverage on their own vehicle, then they may be able to turn to their own insurance. Typically, they will have to turn to the auto insurance policy of the at-fault driver, assuming that another driver is at-fault.

It takes time to investigate an auto accident, establish liability, and then negotiate for a fair settlement with the insurance company. In some cases, these incidents will result in a lengthy trial. Until a settlement or favorable judgment is reached, the rideshare driver can be left out in the cold with no way to cover their medical expenses, property damages, and lost wages. This is why it is important to find a more practical and effective solution. Uber is working to be a leader and setting an example in terms of providing coverage to their rideshare drivers. They are not offering Greenville, South Carolina, workers’ compensation to their drivers, but they are gearing up to offer a similar type of coverage.

The coverage, which is simply an optional personal injury policy, will provide wage benefits and medical benefits to injured drivers, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. It does not prevent the driver from pursuing a third party auto accident claim, but it keeps the driver from having to wait for the results of a claim to get any coverage for their damages and losses. The driver is also not required to have the coverage, but will have to pay for it if they choose to. The payment has been structured to be affordable. Rideshare drivers with Uber will be able to purchase the coverage at 3.75 cents per mile, which would be compensated by a 5 cent increase in prices for passengers. It will provide coverage up $500 per week in wage benefits and up to $1M total for wage and medical benefits combined.

If this experiment works in South Carolina and a few other large markets (like Massachusetts, Illinois, and Pennsylvania), then the optional insurance coverage may soon be offered throughout the United States. It may also serve as an example for other rideshare services, like Lyft, to follow. There is currently no way of knowing for certain how popular the coverage will be for Uber drivers, though it certainly seems like the most responsible and practical of options at this time. It will keep Uber drivers from facing the tremendous hardships that are associated with serious injuries in auto accidents.

Is Uber Doing Enough to Provide Coverage to Injured Workers?

While Uber is certainly making a solid effort to protect and provide for their rideshare drivers, there are some flaws in the plan. Primarily, the issue that has been argued by activists from organizations like the National Employment Law Project is that rideshare drivers do not really meet the description of independent contractors. In some ways, they do. For example, an Uber driver can set his or her own hours, choosing when and where to work, and which clients to accept. On the other hand, Uber drivers do not get to set their own prices, as a true independent contractor would. This puts rideshare drivers in a kind of employment limbo, where they are neither employers nor independent contractors, by definition. However, they are still currently labeled as independent contractors. This means that they are not technically eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. The National Employment Law Project thinks that this should change and that rideshare drivers should be classified as employees.

Are You a Rideshare Driver Who Has Been Injured in a Work Related Auto Accident?

While rideshare drivers may not currently be eligible for Greenville, South Carolina, workers’ compensation benefits, they can still use some legal guidance, advice, and representation when it comes to seeking coverage for their damages after a work related auto accident. At the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm, our dedicated Greenville, SC work injury legal team will understand what you’re going through. We highly recommend that you take advantage of the new personal injury protection insurance plan as soon as it is offered, and that you contact the personal injury, auto accident, and workers’ compensation attorneys at our offices when you have been in an accident. We will gladly help you through the challenges ahead, starting with a free consultation to explore your options and discuss your rights under the current laws.

Can I be Fired Filing for a Workers Compensation Claim in South Carolina?

One day you’re at work, everything is going along fine, and then you find yourself with an on-the-job injury. What do you do now? Can you be fired for getting hurt on the job? What if you have to be out of work for a while because of this injury?

What you are experiencing is an injury that occurred during your working hours, related to your job, and it is covered by Workers Compensation Insurance. This insurance exists to protect you and your income in the event of an injury at work, protects your employer from workplace lawsuits, and it also protects you from being fired because of your injury (a situation known as retaliatory termination). Workers comp insurance makes no claim on who was at fault for your injury, in fact it is a no-fault insurance plan.

In South Carolina, all employers with four or more employees must carry this insurance, and you should not be afraid to make a claim for a workplace injury if this happens to you.

How Do I Report My Workplace Injury?

After you’ve been injured on the job, the first thing you need to do is report the injury to your employer, and do it within ninety days of the injury. Why? After ninety days, you may lose your right to claim benefits through Workers Compensation. However, after reporting within the ninety-day period, you will still have up to two years to file your claim for benefits. If you are killed in a workplace accident, your family has up to two years to file a claim for benefits related to the incident that caused your death.

A workers compensation attorney can help you get what you’re entitled to. Call the offices of Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm in Greenville and get their experienced lawyers to work for you. They offer a complimentary consultation to determine if and how they can help you get the compensation you deserve.

What if My Employer Denies My Workers Comp Claim?

Your employer may try to deny your claim, but this doesn’t negate your right to make one. If you are having this issue, you can request a hearing. You also have the right to request a hearing if your doctor releases you and you believe you’re not ready to return to work; if you receive an impairment rating and you feel that is inaccurate; if you have a non-surgical scar that is visible from more than eight feet away; or if you believe you did not receive all the benefits you are entitled to. You can also request a hearing if you are not happy with the doctor you are assigned. In a Workers Compensation claim you are required to see the doctor that was chosen by your employer or the insurance representative; however, if this is not acceptable, you are entitled to a hearing to sort things out.

What Benefits am I Entitled to in My Workers Compensation Claim?

If you are hurt on the job, you are entitled to all medical treatments that may lessen your disability, including surgery, hospitalization, medical supplies, prosthetic devices and prescriptions.

You must be out of work at least seven days in order to receive workers compensation benefits, however, if you are out of work for at least fourteen days, you will receive compensation for the first seven days as well. Your benefits are paid directly to you until you are released by your doctor.

In addition to all medical treatment related to your injury, you are entitled to salary compensation while you are out of work because of your injury. The current rate of compensation in South Carolina is sixty-six and two-thirds of your current weekly wage, based on the most recent four quarters preceding your injury. This amount cannot be more than the maximum average weekly wage determined every year by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Work Force.

If you are working two or more jobs when your injury occurs, these wages may be included as part of the average wage and compensation rate for your benefits.

What About Travel Reimbursement While I’m Out of Work?

You are entitled to travel reimbursement related to your injury, if the doctor or pharmacy you are assigned to is more than ten miles from your home. The travel reimbursement is calculated at the same rate as for South Carolina state employees, currently set at 53.5 cents per mile.

Do I Really Need an Attorney for My South Carolina Workers Compensation Claim?

There are many issues to navigate when it comes to your workers compensation claim. You don’t need to go through this alone; you are injured, you’re out of work; this can be quite stressful and of course, financially taxing on you and your family. Let our workers comp lawyers work to get you all you need to get well and get back to work, with as little interruption to your life as possible. The lawyers at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm know the laws and how to get you what you need. They can smooth the road to getting the compensation you need and deserve, and you can relax and get well.

I’m an Employer, What Do I Need to Know about Workers Compensation?

As an employer, you are protected from lawsuits in a workers compensation claim, provided that you have not intentionally created an unsafe work environment. If that is the case, you may be sued civilly by an employee that has been hurt on the job, or by their family if they’ve been killed.

Under normal circumstances, workers compensation protects you and your employees by providing benefits to the injured worker with no direct liability to you. You are responsible for reporting the claim that has been reported to you, within the ninety-day time period to prevent loss of benefit claims.

If you believe a claim has been fraudulently reported, you should report it to the fraud department of the Worker Compensation Bureau; they will handle any further issues with a fraudulent claim. Before reporting to the Bureau, you should discuss the claim with your insurance carrier and inform them of your suspicions. This protects you from the actions of any employee who would seek to defraud your company. The skilled South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Dan Pruitt can assist you with all the details in taking care of any claims, whether legitimate or fraudulent, contact them today with any questions you may have about workers compensation.

Can I be Fired for a Workers Compensation Claim in South Carolina?

One day you’re at work, everything is going along fine, and then BAM! You find yourself with an on-the-job injury. What do you do now? Can you be fired for reporting a workplace injury? What if you have to be out of work for a while because of this injury?

What you are experiencing is an injury that occurred during your working hours, related to your job, and it is covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This insurance exists to protect you, as well as your income, in the event of an injury at work. The benefits of the workers’ compensation program also protect your employer from workplace lawsuits, in addition to protecting you from being fired because of your injury (a situation known as retaliatory termination).

In South Carolina, all employers with four or more employees must carry this insurance, and you should not be afraid to make a claim for a workplace injury if this happens to you.

How Do I Report My Workplace Injury?

After you’ve been injured on the job, the first thing you need to do is report the injury to your employer, and do it within ninety days of the injury. Why? After ninety days, you may lose your right to claim benefits through Workers Compensation. However, after reporting within the ninety-day period, you will still have up to two years to file your claim for benefits. If you are killed in a workplace accident, your family has up to two years to file a claim for benefits related to the incident that caused your death.

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get what you’re entitled to. Call the offices of Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm in Greenville and get their experienced lawyers to work for you. They offer a complimentary consultation to determine if and how they can help you get the compensation you deserve.

What if My Employer Denies My Claim?

Your employer may try to deny your claim, but this doesn’t negate your right to make one. If you are having this issue, you can request a hearing. You also have the right to request a hearing if your doctor releases you and you believe you’re not ready to return to work. You are also permitted to file for a hearing if you receive an impairment rating you feel that is inaccurate, if you have a non-surgical scar that is visible from more than eight feet away, or if you believe you did not receive all the benefits to which you are entitled. You can also request a hearing if you are not happy with the doctor you are assigned. In a workers’ compensation claim you are required to see the doctor that was chosen by your employer or the insurance representative; however, if this is not acceptable, you are entitled to a hearing to sort things out.

What Benefits am I Entitled to for My Workers Compensation Claim in Greenville, SC?

If you are hurt on the job, you are entitled to all medical treatments that may lessen your disability, including surgery, hospitalization, medical supplies, prosthetic devices and prescriptions.

You must be out of work at least seven days in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, however, if you are out of work for at least fourteen days, you will receive compensation for the first seven days as well. Your benefits are paid directly to you until you are released by your doctor.

In addition to all medical treatment related to your injury, you are entitled to salary compensation while you are out of work because of your injury. The current rate of compensation in South Carolina is sixty-six and two-thirds of your current weekly wage, based on the most recent four quarters preceding your injury. This amount cannot be more than the maximum average weekly wage determined every year by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Work Force.

If you are working two or more jobs when your injury occurs, these wages may be included as part of the average wage and compensation rate for your benefits.

What About Travel Reimbursement While I’m Out of Work?

You are entitled to travel reimbursement related to your injury, if the doctor or pharmacy you are assigned to is more than ten miles from your home. The travel reimbursement is calculated at the same rate as for South Carolina state employees, currently set at 53.5 cents per mile.

Do I Really Need an Attorney for My Workers Compensation Claim?

There are many issues to navigate when it comes to your workers’ compensation claim. You don’t need to go through this alone; you are injured, you’re out of work; this can be quite stressful and of course, financially taxing on you and your family. Let our attorneys work to get you all you need to get well and get back to work with as little interruption to your life as possible. The lawyers at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm know the law and how to get you what you need. They can smooth the road to getting the compensation you need and deserve, and you can relax and get well.

I’m an Employer, What Do I Need to Know about Workers Compensation?

As an employer, you are protected from lawsuits in a workers’ compensation claim, provided that you have not intentionally created an unsafe work environment. If that is the case, you may be sued civilly by an employee that has been hurt on the job or by their family if they’ve been killed.

Under normal circumstances, workers’ compensation protects you and your employees by providing benefits to the injured worker with no direct liability to you. You are responsible for reporting the claim that has been reported to you, within the ninety-day time period to prevent loss of benefit claims.

If you believe a claim has been fraudulently reported, you should report it to the fraud department of the Workers’ Compensation Bureau; they will handle any further issues with a fraudulent claim. Before reporting to the Bureau, you should discuss the claim with your insurance carrier and inform them of your suspicions. This protects you from the actions of any employee who would seek to defraud your company. The experienced South Carolina workplace injury lawyers attorneys at Dan Pruitt can assist you with all the details in taking care of any claims, whether legitimate or fraudulent, contact them today with any questions you may have about workers’ compensation.

You Have a Right to Workers’ Compensation Coverage in Greenville, South Carolina

If your Greenville, South Carolina employer has at least four employees, then you are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage. This means that your employer has to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide medical and wage benefits if you should become injured on the job, or even if you develop an occupational illness. This all sounds pretty straightforward, but there are some things that create obstacles when you sustain a work related injury or illness and attempt to get the compensation benefits that you need.

Why Would an Employer Refuse to Report Your Injury?

One of the first obstacles that you might encounter after a work related injury is a situation in which your employer refuses to acknowledge or report the injury to their workers’ compensation insurance provider. The reason that this happens is because the employer is often worried about their insurance rates going up or their workplace being subjected to a health and safety investigation. In some cases, injured workers even face the threat of retaliation for reporting their injuries. Though it is illegal, workers can be demoted or even fired because of reporting a work injury. It can be difficult to prove that this action was retaliatory in nature, so many employees are afraid to report their injuries, thinking they’ll face consequences for doing so and won’t be able to prove that they’ve been retaliated against.

The reason that it can be challenging to prove retaliation is because your employer isn’t going to cite their reason for firing or demoting you as being due to your workers’ compensation claim. Rather, they’ll say that you were not performing well, or that there is some other valid reason for their actions. They might even offer a light duty position that meets your restrictions, but is not really intended as a light duty position, but as a demotion. In some cases, workers end up in very unpleasant roles because their employers want to retaliate without appearing to do so.

It is important to not be intimidated by the potential consequences that you might face for reporting a work related injury. If you have any suspicion at all that you’ve been retaliated against for doing so, even if you think it will be difficult to prove, contact the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina to learn about your rights and how we can help.

Responding Appropriately to a Greenville, SC Work Injury

As soon as you are injured, become aware of an injury, or experience symptoms of an occupational illness, it is essential to respond appropriately. Otherwise, you risk harming your claim and you may not end up with the benefits you deserve.

Start by seeking medical treatment and reporting the injury. The order in which you do this will depend on the injury or illness. You may need medical treatment to identify an illness and find out that it is occupational in nature. In this case, you seek medical treatment first, and then, quickly report the illness to your supervisor. In cases where an urgent injury occurs, you must seek medical treatment from the nearest emergency room, and you may not have time to report the injury, first. However, in many cases of urgent work injuries, your supervisor will be made aware very quickly. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still report the injury in writing, but there’s a good chance that an incident report will already be started while you’re on your way to the hospital. In cases where a non-urgent injury has occurred, you can report the incident to your supervisor, first, fill out an incident report or provide another written report of the injury, then choose a physician from the company’s list of approved medical providers.

If you must seek emergency room care, first, then you can go to the nearest ER, but you should follow up with a company approved physician. The same is true for occupational illnesses. You may discover the illness with your own family physician, but once you know that it is related to work, you must follow up with a medical provider from your employer’s list.

From this point, your employer is supposed to report your injury to the workers’ compensation insurance provider and South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. If your employer does not do this, then you can report the incident to the commission yourself, using Form 50 from the Workers’ Compensation Commission website. If you need assistance or advice on this process or your rights, the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm is here to help. We are also here for you if your claim is initially denied for any reason. We can help you to ensure that you didn’t make any mistakes in filing, establish why the claim was denied, and fight for your right to benefits.

Further, you need to make sure that whatever instructions or restrictions are provided by your physician are followed without exception. They may recommend ongoing treatment, pain management therapy, no heavy lifting, certain types of exercise, and/or the use of medication or medical devices, for example. Don’t deviate from these instructions. Let your employer know about your restrictions with a copy that you receive from your physician.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Does Not Prevent Third Party Lawsuits

When you are covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, you are prohibited from filing a personal injury claim against your employer or coworkers, unless certain unusual circumstances apply, such as gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Yet, receiving workers’ compensation benefits does not prevent you from filing a third party claim against another individual who may have caused or contributed to your injuries. The most common examples of this are work related auto accidents, in which another driver is liable, animal attacks, and accidents that occur on someone’s property while you are there for work related purposes. For instance, someone who delivers mail could be bitten by a dog or could slip on ice, and they might have both a workers’ compensation claim and a third party premises liability claim.

Contact the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm for More Information

If you have any questions about your options, rights, or responsibilities in a Greenville, South Carolina workers’ compensation claim, or if you believe you have been retaliated against for filing a claim, contact a determined workers’ comp lawyer in Greenville at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm for advice and representation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Greenville, SC Workers’ Comp Claims

If you have been injured on the job in Greenville, South Carolina, it’s natural to be a little overwhelmed and confused about the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim and getting the medical and wage benefits that you need. Each case and claim is different, so you may need to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney from the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm to get answers to questions that are directly related  to your situation. For answers to the general questions that apply to all claims for workers’ compensation in Greenville, SC, read on.

What Steps Are Involved in Reporting a Work Related Injury or Illness?

This is an important question because failing to report your work related injury or illness correctly could harm your workers’ compensation claim and leave you without any benefits. Further, although it is a frequently asked question, it may not be asked frequently enough. Many people assume that if they told their employer about the injury, that is sufficient.

If your employer is ethical and has your best interests at heart, then this could be enough, because your employer will guide you through filling out an incident report and will report the injury right away. However, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that you provide notice of the incident and injury to your employer in writing, with the date included.

This will later serve as evidence of when the incident occurred and the fact that you did report it in a timely manner. You technically have 90 days to report the injury or illness, but delaying will still make it much easier for your employer or their insurance company to argue that your injury is not work related, and thus, your claim could be denied.

How Can a Worker File a Workers’ Comp Claim Without the Employer’s Help?

In cases where your employer will not acknowledge or report your injury to their workers’ compensation insurance and the South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission, you will have to start the claim by yourself. Fortunately, this is not difficult to do. All you need to do is download the appropriate forms from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission website, or contact the Commission directly to request the forms.

You will start with the Employee’s Notice of Claim and/or Request for Hearing form (Form 50), and check the box that says “I am filing a claim. I am not requesting a hearing at this time.”  If you are filing on behalf of a loved one who passed away from a work related injury, you will need to download the Employee’s Notice of Claim and/or Request for Hearing, Death Case form (Form 52). Again, you will indicate that you are filing a claim, but not requesting a hearing.

You will need to file your claim within two years of the incident, the death, or the onset of symptoms, though the sooner you get started, the better off you’ll be.

Where Can a Worker Go to Seek Medical Treatment for Injuries?

Your employer should have a list of company and insurance approved physicians for you to choose from. You must choose one of these physicians to have your medical expenses covered. The only exception is when you have an injury that requires urgent medical treatment. In these cases, you can go straight to the ER that is closest to your location, and your workers’ compensation medical benefits will cover this. After the emergency medical treatment, you will need to choose an approved physician for all ongoing care.

When Can a Worker Start Receiving Wage Benefits?

Workers in Greenville, South Carolina who have been injured on the job and are unable to return to work can expect to start receiving benefits after seven missed days. The first seven days will not be compensated unless you have to miss another seven days of work (14 total). In cases where you do not have to miss any work, or miss less than seven days, you will not receive wage benefits. However, if you do not have to miss seven days of work, but are restricted to light duty work that pays less than your former average weekly wage, you can begin receiving wage benefits for the difference in pay after seven days on the light duty position.

Can a Worker Receive The Full Amount of Their Lost Income in Wage Benefits?

Unfortunately, you will not receive the full amount of lost income in wage benefits. Rather, you will receive wage compensation at 2/3 the value of your average weekly wages. In cases where you are on lower paying light duty work, your wage benefits will be 2/3 the difference between your old average weekly wage and your new average weekly wage.

Can a Worker Get Benefits for Their Mileage To and From Medical Appointments? 

This question is also quite common because injured workers are often unable to drive and unable to afford to pay someone to help them commute to and from appointments. Then, there are the cases where the injured worker has to travel such a long distance to the approved physician’s office that it becomes a strain on their already challenging financial situation. For this reason, you can request benefits for your mileage as long as your round trip is greater than ten miles. Mileage for workers’ compensation patients is compensated at the same rate as the mileage for state government workers. Simply report the mileage to the workers’ compensation insurance company that is providing your benefits.

What is a Workers’ Compensation Hearing For?

When filing Form 50 or Form 52 to initiate your worker’s compensation claim, you check the box that says that you are filing a claim and not requesting a hearing. This begs the common question of what circumstances would require you to check the other box, the one that says that you are requesting a hearing and what the hearing is for.

A workers’ compensation hearing is something that you’ll only need if your claim is denied, if you don’t get the benefits you’re entitled to, or if you disagree with your physician’s assessment of your health and restrictions. You’ll request a hearing with the same type of form that you used to initiate the claim, and you must include a $25 fee when you submit the form. Your hearing will be scheduled, and you will be able to argue your case. If you need to do this, contact a determined workers’ compensation attorney in Greenville at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm for guidance and representation through the process.

Has Your Loved One Suffered From Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home Facility?

When you have a loved one in a nursing home facility, it is typically because the patient is no longer able to care for themselves. They have come to require the care and attention of the staff for their basic needs on a daily basis. Yet, far too many will become victims of abuse and neglect in their nursing homes. In fact, this is such a frequent occurrence that research has been done to identify the causes, and there are many advocating for effective solutions to this problem.

Why Are There So Many Cases of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Patients in nursing home facilities are vulnerable to abuse and neglect for many reasons. They are more likely to suffer from medical issues that prevent them from protecting themselves, from communicating their needs, and from telling anyone what is happening. They may suffer from issues like dementia, and they be isolated from others. In some cases, victims of nursing home abuse are capable of telling someone, but are too afraid or embarrassed to do so.

Other contributors to the high frequency of nursing home abuse and neglect cases include the lack of training and qualification of staff members, the common issue of understaffing, the lack of screening of staff members who may have a history of violent crimes, and the lack of supervision of staff members who wind up with complete control over a patient’s wellbeing.

What Can You Do To Stop Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

If you have a friend or relative in a nursing home, then there is a lot that you can do to confront the widespread problem of nursing home abuse and neglect. Primarily, you can ensure that your loved ones are not isolated by visiting them as frequently as possible.

Many people don’t do this enough, for a variety of reasons. They may feel sad or guilty because their loved one is in a nursing home, perhaps because they themselves could not provide the care that is required. They may simply assume that their loved one is being properly cared for.

Some people feel too emotional at seeing their loved one in bad health, especially in cases where the loved one has developed a condition like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and can no longer recognize them. This is also true in cases where a loved one has a terminal condition. Nobody wants to watch someone that they care for go through such trials.

No matter what the reasons are, there is no just cause for leaving your loved one to face the challenges of aging and ill health alone. No matter how difficult it may be for you to deal with these issues, you must take the time to visit your loved one and make sure that they are properly cared for and not suffering from abuse or neglect. If you do notice the signs of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, you must take action. Do not write anything off as a onetime event or an accident without looking further into it.

How Can You Recognize the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Because nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms, there are many different signs that you should be on the lookout for. You should not simply wait for something obvious to happen, and assume the best until it does. Rather, you should actively look for the indications that your loved one might be neglected or abused.

For instance, you might not notice bed sores and infections if you don’t look for them. These occur when your loved one is neglected, not moved frequently, and not cared for properly. They may be found on the patients’ back, legs, and bottom, for example. You also need to watch for signs of malnutrition and dehydration. Common signs include unexplained weight loss, dry skin, and expressions of hunger or thirst. Even if your loved one is not communicative, you might notice that they are eagerly consuming any food or drink that you offer.

It is also important to be aware of the causes of any falls and broken bones. Although the elderly may be more prone to falling down, this does not mean that it is okay for this to happen. The staff at the nursing home should be there to assist your loved one and prevent falls.

You can also keep an eye out for any indications that your loved one is being chemically restrained. This means that the staff are using medications inappropriately to keep the patient immobile. There are also cases where the staff does not provide necessary medications, and you may notice symptoms of issues that were previously controlled by such medications.

Finally, pay attention to your loved ones words and behaviors. If they are able to communicate, then you can talk to them about their experiences and how they feel. Even if they cannot communicate, you can pay attention to their mood and demeanor. Do they seem depressed, anxious, or fearful? These could be indications of neglect or physical or emotional abuse.

What Can You Do When You See Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

If you notice any indications that nursing home abuse or neglect are occurring in the facility where your loved one resides, even if it seems to involve an entirely different patient, and even if you aren’t completely sure that it is occurring, you can do something about it. You can contact the police and speak to an attorney so that the situation can be investigated.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, you may be able to recover compensation for your loved one, and the facility may be shut down and may even face criminal charges. Call the experienced Spartanburg nursing home neglect attorneys at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss the unique circumstances surrounding the case of abuse or neglect for your loved one and learn more about what you can do to seek justice and recover compensation.

Top Tips For Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries

Motorcycles are among the most dangerous forms of transportation, yet this does not detract from the appeal of the freedom, speed, and joy of riding your bike on the open road. If anything, it may add to the rush of endorphins that bikers feel when they ride their motorcycles. For many people, owning and riding a motorcycle is not just a pastime or even their favorite way to get around town. Rather, it is their lifestyle and their passion. Still, it’s not something that you want to die for. In fact, most bikers understand and promote the need for safety precautions and advocate for the safety of themselves and their fellow bikers on the road.

This includes educating other motorists on safely sharing the road with motorcycles and educating bikers on how to keep themselves safe from accidents and injuries. The reason that it is so important to promote safety for bikers is because you are six times more likely than other motorists to be seriously injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle and 27 times more likely than other motorists to be killed in such an accident. Whether you are an experienced biker or just getting acquainted with your first motorcycle, the following tips are for you.

Preventing Motorcycle Accidents By Improving Visibility 

To begin with, one of the best ways to prevent motorcycle accidents altogether is to improve your visibility. This is because the most frequent cause of motorcycle accidents with other vehicles is the fact that other drivers often do not even notice bikers on the road. They may be paying attention to traffic, but they are generally focused on other motor vehicles, and are less likely to anticipate or observe the presence of a motorcycle. Thus, it essential for bikers to do everything they can to improve their visibility on the road. It is equally important for other drivers to learn to watch out for bikers, though you cannot anticipate whether or not the other motorists on the roads your traveling will be looking out for you.

To improve your visibility on the road as a biker, you should try to wear bright colors. This doesn’t mean that you have to entirely sacrifice your style, but you should make an effort to include some highly visible elements in your wardrobe and safety gear. This could include a brightly colored jacket or helmet, for example.

It is also a good idea to look for bright colors when you purchase your motorcycle or when painting it a new color. Colors like bright yellow and bright orange are the most visible options and can make other drivers immediately aware of you. You can even use bright and reflective tape on your rims, your helmet, or your jacket, to help you stand out.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most vehicles have blind spots, where the driver may not be able to see you at all. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, and it is very easy to end up in someone’s blind spot without realizing it, if you aren’t looking out for this. If you have to pass someone, you should try do so as quickly as you can, and do your best to remain visible to other drivers at all times. If you find yourself in a blind spot, move to a more visible position.

Another helpful tip to improve visibility is to make use of the lights on your motorcycle, especially when driving at night. This includes your brake lights, which will blink if you tap the brakes, and will draw attention to you while also communicating with others on the road. You can use your high beams to increase visibility, even during the daytime. Some bikers will also add additional lights to their motorcycles, making it easier for other drivers to see them and accurately judge how close or far away they are.

Finally, if you notice that another driver is distracted, not paying attention, or doesn’t seem to be aware of you, you can always honk your horn. This will make other motorists immediately aware of your presence and hopefully more attentive to you and other on the road.

Other Ways That You Can Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

Beyond improving visibility, there are plenty of other things that you can do to increase safety when riding a motorcycle. For starters, any biker who is new to motorcycles should complete a motorcycle rider education class that is approved by the state, and to practice in open areas, like parking lots. This is also wise to take time to practice with a new bike, even if you are experienced. Different motorcycles may handle differently, and you’ll want to familiarize yourself with a new bike before you head out on the road. It is also important to make sure that your motorcycle is well maintained, and to inspect it before each ride. For instance, you need to make sure that the brakes, signals, and headlights are all working. You should also double check that the tire pressure and fluid levels are good and that the gas tank is filled.

Just like other motorists, you should never operate a motorcycle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or medications with potentially hazardous side effects. Driving defensively is another important element of keeping yourself safe, and it requires you to keep a careful eye on other drivers and make efforts to avoid accidents with those who might cause them. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, give others plenty of room, and again, stay out of blind spots.

Minimizing the Likelihood of Serious Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents

Sometimes, despite all of your best efforts and safety precautions, accidents will happen. This is where it becomes important to ensure that your safety precautions include adequate protection in case of an accident. For instance, you should never ride without a helmet, and you need to make sure that the helmet is truly safe and effective at protecting your head. This means that the helmet should have a DOT symbol to indicate that it meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards of the US Department of Transportation.

You should also protect your arms, legs, hands, ankles, feet, and hands. All of these parts should be covered entirely when you ride. You can protect your arms and legs with heavy denim and/or leather. You can protect your hands with thick riding gloves. You can protect your feet and your ankles with heavy boots that fit well and are high enough to cover your ankles.

Contact an Attorney When Motorcycle Accident Injuries Occur

If you do end up in an accident while driving your motorcycle, you should contact the police and emergency medical assistance, as needed. Motorcycle accidents can be especially devastating, so you need to get medical care right away. Even if you are fortunate enough to walk away from the accident without any urgent injuries, you should still seek a full medical evaluation to ensure that you have not missed any injuries in the adrenaline rush that follows an accident. Then, contact the skilled motorcycle accident injury attorneys in Greenville at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm for a free consultation and advice on recovering compensation for your injuries.

Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries and Ways to Prevent them

A list of the top ten accidents resulting in workers’ compensation claims was released by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety stating what accidents are most common and avoidable in the workplace. This research helps employers to be aware of the potential for these accidents as well as ways to avoid them. This article will go over those accidents and ways to help prevent them.

Overexertion

Overexertion can occur when an employee injures themselves by doing a job outside of their own physical limits. Improper lifting techniques, attempting to lift or move objects that are extremely heavy, or stretching too far while reaching for something are all examples of overexertion.

A few ways to prevent this are:

  • Train your employees in the proper techniques for lifting items
  • Use team lifting techniques or allow your employees to equipment that will assist in lifting excessively heavy objects
  • Have employees use ladders or other tools to help reach things that are out of reach

Slip and Fall

Slip and fall claims are usually due to negligence. Wet floors, oil, snow, and ice can create slick surfaces that may cause an individual to lose balance, fall, and become injured. These are usually common claims against restaurants, grocery stores, and other business with water and other liquids that could potentially cause a fall are prevalent.

Some preventative measure you can take:

  • Make sure when a spill happens place warnings (wet floor signs, caution cones, etc.) around the affected area;
  • Clean up the spill immediately;
  • If it is a maintenance issue, limit access to the area until it is repaired;
  • In the event of snow and ice, make sure sidewalks and other surfaces affected are properly salted.

Falls to lower levels

When working above the ground floor of an establishment, employees have a risk of falling to lower levels of the establishment. Falling down stairwells, off construction scaffolding, and other areas off the ground are examples of this type of accident.

These types of accidents are a little harder to prevent, but these suggestions should be kept in mind:

  • Make sure employees working in elevated areas are equipped with proper safety equipment;
  • Keep stairs and elevators well maintained; and
  • Close off areas that may increase the risk of one of these falls until they are properly repaired.

Bodily Reactions

A bodily reaction injury is an injury that were incurred while trying to avoid another accident. For example, overexerting oneself and straining a muscle while trying to avoid being injured by a heavy object falling or straining one’s back while attempting to avoid a slip on an oily surface.

These types of injuries are technically unavoidable because they occurred in the process of avoiding a worse injury. The only way to help prevent them is by trying to prevent other accidents first.

Struck by Objects

Being struck by object can happen to one from a construction worker being hit by a steel beam to an object falling off a shelf on to an employee in a retail store These accidents can happen in any work environment. This can even include one employee dropping an object onto another employee causing injuries.

To minimize the risk of this occurring:

  • Make sure objects that are high up are properly fastened, or that the right tools are available to access them;
  • On construction site, make sure that employees keep safe distances from large objects that are being moved; and
  • Ensure employees are following proper safety precautions when handling objects that could injure another worker.

Struck against Objects

In some cases, and employee may fall or be forced into a stationary object hard enough to cause injury. This is like bodily reactions, in that most preventative measures are by attempting to prevent other accidents. Clearing trip hazards as well as informing employees of dangerous areas that could cause them to be pinned or forced into an object is the best course of action.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Accidents that happen on the road while in the process of conducting company business fall into this category. Officers, representatives for businesses, and commercial drivers are at most risk for suffering this kind of accident.

Preventative measure that can be taken would be:

  • Ensure the employee has a good driving record
  • Train your employees in proper driving expectations
  • Keep company vehicles well maintained

Machinery Accidents

Machinery accidents usually only occur in manufacturing and construction jobs. These are not as common as the others, but due to the level of injury one can receive if it happens, it should be taken very seriously.

To prevent this, make sure:

  • Employees are properly trained on the equipment and how to shut it down if an accident occurs;
  • The machinery is properly maintained and working in a safe manner; and
  • Employees operating the machine are not fatigued or overly tired.

Repetitive Motion

Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis, as well as many other injuries that occur from long-term repetitive motion fall into this category. This has become more common with the increase in jobs requiring computers.

This is also a hard incident to prevent because these injuries develop over time, but by making sure employees take breaks and rest their body, and equip them with ergonomic supplies may help to reduce the likelihood of a claim.

Workplace Violence

This includes violent acts from disgruntled employees, but also acts of violence committed by robbers or other individuals who are not employed. These occur more commonly in jobs that handle a lot of cash transactions, such as food service and gas stations.

Prevention of these types of injuries can be done by:

  • Ensure your business has proper security for the level of risk;
  • Train employees to comply with violent individuals to avoid injury; and
  • In the case of disgruntled workers, look for signs of potentially violent action, and try to mediate and de-escalate situations

There is no way you can ensure that an accident will never happen, but you can do everything, within reason, to try to prevent them. If you are still injured on the job, contact a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in Greenville to help you get the compensation that you deserve.

How Common Is Workers’ Compensation Fraud in South Carolina?

What Constitutes Workers’ Compensation Fraud?

Workers’ compensation fraud is that act of an individual knowingly and willingly falsifying a claim of injury to take advantage of insurance coverage or benefits from their employer. To make a conviction, there must be evidence that concealment or misrepresentation has occurred intentionally on the part of the individual who filed the claim.

The Most Common Forms of Workers’ Compensation Fraud: Advantage and Premium

When someone has won a worker’s compensation settlement and is working an undocumented full-time job, but is not supposed to work due to their injuries, they are committing what is called advantage fraud. In these instances, a lawyer or healthcare provider may have also taken part in this scheme by double billing or billing for services that were not given.

Premium fraud can occur when a worker misrepresents their wages, their position in the company, or tries to avoid certain insurance risk modifiers that might reduce the amount that workers’ compensation will pay.

An insurance provider will investigate the claims and note any signs that there has been intentionally falsified information submitted. These indicators do not mean that fraud has occurred, but it will lead to a deeper investigation into the claim. Some signs of this type of fraud are:

  • Wrong categorization codes;
  • Duties that are not normally related to the position or unusually high pay for position;
  • No witnesses to the incident;
  • Injuries happening early on Monday or late on Friday;
  • Claims made a week or more after the incident;
  • Injury before a strike or vacation;
  • Injuries that occur when there is an expectation of termination.

Some practical examples of fraud are:

  • A secretary that files a workers’ compensation claim for an injury caused by lifting an unusually heavy object, while other witnesses’ stories do not match with the report;
  • The worker making the claim has a history of worker’s compensation claims;
  • A diagnosis from a doctor that does not coincide with the worker’s claim;
  • Any evidence that the individual is working another job while still drawing benefits from their claim.

Some signs that could mean a lawyer or a doctor is involved in the fraud could be:

  • Benefits or advantages being offered to the business;
  • Bills from attorneys, doctors, or insurers that unwarranted, seem to be fraudulent, or appear to be copies of previously submitted documents;
  • Doctor’s visits that occurred during vacation time or were not for emergency treatment;
  • Bills from lawyers or healthcare professionals that indicate an unreasonable amount of time for treatment;
  • Unusual relationships between the medical professional and the lawyer when managing workers’ compensation cases.

Steps to Take to avoid false Workers’ comp claims 

As an employer, it is a critical part of your job to ensure that your staff is both efficient and productive, but it is equally as important to create a safe and secure environment for them. In the event of a workplace accident, it is important to care for and aid an employee who has been injured. Sadly, this type of compassion can be taken advantage of in the case of workers’ compensation fraud. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to help prevent employees from exploiting their employer.

Regardless of an employee’s position in a company or the type of job they are performing, there is always risk for workplace injury. Because of this, there is a chance that any employee could try to take advantage of this system. Here are some steps that can help to prevent scams from happening:

  • Require your staff to take security and safety training in regards to their job. This can help your employees be more aware of the validity of a workers’ compensation claim, but it will help to prevent accidents in general.
  • Have equipment easily available that will help with physically strenuous jobs. Make sure your staff is aware of this equipment and insist upon them using it to avoid any personal injury. By having this equipment, you reduce the likelihood of injury and the chances that someone will be able to make a fraudulent claim.
  • Inform your staff of the negative effects that can occur from workers’ compensations scams. By explaining how productivity and even jobs could be affected, employees will be more likely try and prevent accidents, and will be more willing to come forward if they know another employee has made a false claim.

By doing these few things you can effectively reduce the chances of mishaps and accidents on the job. These steps can prevent the number of false workers’ compensation claims being filed. In the instance that you do receive a claim that seems to be fabricated, it is of the utmost importance that you find proper legal representation to protect not only yourself, but also your business.

How the Insurance Company Can Assist in Uncovering Fraud

Your insurance agent, with the assistance of their firm’s underwriter, will determine what categorization codes an employee’s position falls in and other risk points to be aware of when determining your premium rates. There have been cases where certain mistakes or oversights have been found in these kinds of policies. So, take time to thoroughly review the policy, preferably with and skilled expert in insurance policy. Just accepting the policy without further review could end up costing you a lot of time and money, which no employer wants to lose.

If your company employs independent contractors, you need to even more diligent in choosing the right policy. If the policy you have does not cover independent contractors, and they end up being injured while on the job, your company will most likely be responsible for 100% of the compensation the injured party is owed.

Conclusion 

When a workers’ compensation claim comes across your desk remember to look for any signs of fraud. Even if you happen to find signs that fraud might be occurring, keep an open mind and treat the injured party with compassion. However, you should contact the insurance company as soon as possible to ask them to send in an investigator to examine the situation. It is common for an insurance provider to send out an investigator regardless of signs of fraud to protect their own interests, but your request could speed up their investigation.

Be fair, but also be cautious with any claims that involve you or your company. Attempt using preventative education and equipment, be aware of the insurance policy in use, and have proper representation. Following these simple steps can keep you, your business, and your employees safe and secure. Call our determined Greenville, SC work injury claim attorneys today for help with your claim!

Wrongful Death Suits in South Carolina

Losing a loved one is difficult enough, losing them due to the negligence of another person can be even worse. Wrongful death suits are taken when a person dies or is killed by another person’s actions and criminal action is either not taken or attempted. These cases are meant to ensure that the loved ones of the deceased are financially compensated.

How is “Wrongful Death” defined in South Carolina?

Wrongful death is defined by South Carolina Code of Laws section 15-51-10 as a death that has occurred by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another person. For the death to be eligible for a wrongful death suit, the cause must have been one that would have been able to be filed as a personal injury claim had the individual survived. Also, these cases would by usual means be a criminal trial, but no criminal action was taken or attempted.

Basically a wrongful death suit is a personal injury case in which the person who would have been injured is unable to make a claim because they have died from those injuries. In these cases, the claim must be brought by another person.

Who Can File for a Wrongful Death in South Carolina?

In the state of South Carolina, the individual who is the executor or administrator of the victim’s estate will be responsible for bringing forth a claim of wrongful death. The executor is usually named in the deceased party’s will. If the individual named is unable or unwilling to serve as executor, the court can name a new executor or administrator.

The executor is not necessarily taking the claim to court for themselves, but instead acting on behalf of the deceased person. The individuals who are eligible to recover damages are:

  • The spouse and children of the deceased;
  • Parents of the deceased, if there is no spouse or children;
  • In the event, there is no spouse, children, or parents, the court of the deceased will be eligible.

Parents are eligible to recover damages, even if their child was an adult at the time of death; however, if the parent abandoned the child before the age of eighteen, they will not be considered eligible, even if the child was an adult before the time of death.

What Damages Can One Receive from A South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Monetary damage is the only way that liability is shown in the event of a wrongful death case. This is one thing that separates a wrongful death case from a normal criminal case. In the event of a criminal case, such as homicide, liability would be expressed by imprisonment, fines, or other penalties.

If damages are awarded in a wrongful death claim, they would include compensation for the following:

  • Burial and funeral costs;
  • Medical expenses and other costs in relation to the deceased individual’s illness or injury that led to their death;
  • Any lost wages or benefits;
  • Any financial losses or property damage related to the death;
  • Loss of the individual’s experience, judgement, and knowledge due to their death;
  • Pain, suffering, and mental anguish suffered by the surviving members of the family.

If the death was caused by intentional or reckless actions, the court might decide to include exemplary damages also. Exemplary damages are more commonly known as “punitive damages”. Damages that come from the wrongful death case are meant to reward the victim’s family with money to cover losses due to the death, but punitive damages an additional punishment on the individual who is responsible for the death.

What Time Limits Are Involved in a South Carolina Wrongful Death Cases

The claim for wrongful death must be filed within the legal time limit. This limit is known as the “statute of limitations”. An individual will have three years from the date that the deceased individual died, as to comply with South Carolina’s statute of limitations. Any claim presented after this point will not be heard in court. Therefore, it is important to find representation and make your claim as soon as possible.

How to Find an Attorney with Experience a Wrongful Death Claims

There are many lawyers who practice personal injury and accident law that have never dealt with a wrongful death case. One thing to find out is if the attorney has experience with wrongful death cases. If the attorney makes big promises about what they will win for you, you should immediately be cautious about proceeding with that lawyer. Wrongful death cases are usual long and difficult and it is hard to know the outcome. Make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer, because you will probably be spending a lot of time with them and their staff. Although this process is challenging, having an attorney with experience and compassion will help to make it seem a lot less painful.

Ask for referrals from friends, coworkers, or family members who have had dealt with similar issues. Use the internet to research the lawyer you choose. Search for blogs and forum pages that reference them and the individual’s experience with them. Know that a quality lawyer will fight for you and your loved ones.

As the loved one of the deceased, you are entitled to receive compensation for losses you have incurred from the death of your family member. Don’t waste any time looking for a skilled lawyer to help get your case filed and prepare you for court. Remember the statute of limitations in South Carolina is three years for a wrongful death claim. You do not want to miss this window and cost yourself and loved ones more than they have already lost. Contact our dedicated wrongful death attorneys in Greenville today. We can help you with your claim!