What Benefits Will I Receive Under Workers’ Compensation?
As soon as you were injured at your place of employment you contacted your employer, filed out all the necessary paperwork and are now under a doctor’s care. Your injury is going to require several months of physical therapy, frequent visits to specialists and the primary doctor has already determined you probably won’t be able to return to work, even under light duty, for quite some time. So, of course, you have lots of questions, the first being: “How am I going to support my family?”
Under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation law the insurance your employer is required to carry will pay 100 percent of any and all medical expenses deemed necessary. Now keep in mind, your physician is someone who has been selected by your employer. If at any time you don’t feel your needs are being meet, you have the legal right to ask a workers’ compensation insurance agent to authorize a second opinion. If they refuse, then you are allowed to request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Often at this stage it is helpful to discuss your case with an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney in order to ensure your rights are being protected.
While as a rule most of your medical bills will be sent directly to your employer’s insurance carrier, it is important to remember you are also entitled to mileage for all medical appointments including pharmacy trips if the route is more than 10 miles one way.
Now for the second most important financial question, “How much will my weekly pay be and when can I expect my first check?” Wages are determined by averaging your past weekly earnings during the four quarters prior to the accident or illness. Once that figure has been calculated your earnings will be two thirds or 66.67 percent of the weekly total. For example, if you averaged $500 weekly then you will be eligible to receive $333.35. It is important to ensure the insurance carrier takes into consideration bonuses and overtime pay when calculating your average weekly wage.
There is a seven day waiting period before you are eligible to receive benefits. No compensation will be paid for those initial seven days if you are out of work 14 days or less. But if you are out of work more than 14 days then you will also be compensated for the initial seven days. The number of weeks you are eligible to receive weekly compensation depends on the type of injury and how long your doctor estimates you will be unable to work.
Another type of compensation many injured workers may not be aware they are eligible to receive are temporary partial disability payments. In a nutshell, when an injured employee is allowed to return to work under light duty, but in a different position and their wages are less, then the worker becomes eligible for the difference under the temporary partial disability ruling. We will discuss both temporary partial disability and permanent partial disability in future articles.
Even though the law is clear on the amount of weekly workers’ compensation a person is eligible to receive, often there are still questions concerning who is responsible for taxes, retirement benefits and deductions including insurance and child support payments. A telephone call to the Dan Pruitt Law Firm at 864-232-4273 to schedule your no obligation appointment will be able to answer many of your questions and ensure your case is being handled properly. Also, please remember, we never bill for our services until your needs have been met.