In the unfortunate event that you need to claim workers’ compensation benefits, it is always wise to make yourself familiar with the process as well as all the detail that can have a direct impact on your claim. Acquiring the services of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is always a good idea. If you are based in Greenville, South Carolina, then you are fortunate because the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm are willing and able to help you.
When Can I Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
South Carolina workers who are wounded at work or suffer from an employment-related illness are entitled to benefits under the state workers’ compensation system. The workers’ comp system in South Carolina covers medical bills related to your workplace injury and pays disability benefits while you are unable to work due to your illness or injury.
It is important to note that you will not have a claim against the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of sustaining the injury. If the injury was self-inflicted, then you will also not be able to claim workers’ compensation benefits.
When you become ill due to your employment or you have repeatedly been exposed to hazardous and unhealthy conditions at work, the illness might be considered as an occupational disease. If this is the case, then you will be covered under the workers’ compensation laws.
If it happens that you pass away because of your work-related injury or sickness, then your dependants can claim death benefits under worker’s compensation.
What is the process for claiming benefits?
For you to be able to claim, you must actually be on the job. If your work is between different sites and you travel
between the sites, you can still claim if you get injured. However, if you are injured going to and from work, you will be unable to claim as it is seen that you are not yet on duty.
It is imperative that you must first search emergency medical treatment the moment when an injury occurs. This is only applicable if the situation is truly an emergency. If your injuries are not life threating and do not require emergency medical care, your employer must be told that you have been hurt. You must then visit the medical professional who your employer appoints or their insurance company. Workers’ compensation will pay all reasonable medical expenses, only if it is from designated care provider. If you use care providers that are unauthorized, you will not be reimbursed.
You must notify your employer within 90 days about the injury. The best idea is to tell your boss immediately about the injury. Sometimes it happens that you either need to go to the emergency room or your direct supervisor is unavailable. If it happens that you cannot tell them immediately, you must tell them within the 90-day deadline. After you inform them of your injury, they must notify the insurance company so that you can start receiving benefits. This is the initial step in the workers’ compensation claim filing process.
In South Carolina, you are not required to file for workers’ compensation benefit yourself; it is the duty of the employer. However, if your employer fails to file a claim, you must fill out a Form 50 to file the claim. You have two years after the injury to file the claim. You will be required to file your claim if your employer’s insurance refuses to pay out benefits. Your request is filed directly with the South Carolina Industrial Commission. You do not need to request a hearing unless you need a Commissioner to mediate between you and your employer’s insurance. Hearings are scheduled 60 days after requesting a hearing costs $25.
After the initial hearing, you can appeal the decision if you were unsatisfied with the initial findings. This will be additional costs and might not be successful in the end.
What do I need to file a successful claim?
Ensure that you have all the critical details of the injury written down of how and when the incident occurred. Keep this along with any other evidence in a safe place. If there is no dispute, you will probably never need it again. If there is a dispute, then you have everything together.
If you file for punitive damages, then you are not allowed to file for workers’ compensation. This is where the important decisions come in. You will need a lawyer who specializes in these types of claims to assist you.
Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Having an experienced lawyer on your side might just be what your case needs. Learning about all the facts and laws of workers’ compensation can be exactly what you need.
A lawyer that deals exclusively with these types of claims will be able to tell you whether to file a punitive claim or workers’ compensation claim. Just because the one might have a bigger payout than the other one, it might not mean that you can receive a bigger payout.
Also, make sure that the lawyer you hire has a proven track record of working with workers’ compensation law in South Carolina. If you are permanently impaired or injured, you will need someone to help you to get the best possible settlement for your future needs.
Be prepared and have an experienced lawyer from the start, than to wake up too late and then you want to get one-half way, especially if you are unsure of the process.
Hopefully, you will never find it necessary to file for workers’ compensation benefits and your family will also be spared the trauma of needing to file, but if you are injured on the job site, you must act quickly and know what to do next to ensure your rights are protected. The best way of doing that is calling Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm to help you with the claim.
Dan Pruitt is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from University of Georgia, and has been practicing law for 25 years. Dan Pruitt believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.