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.