How Long do I have to File my Workers’ Compensation Claim?

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Thankfully many on the job accidents aren’t that severe. For injuries such as muscle strain, cuts and sprains, the employee is generally both mentally and physically able to immediate report the incident to his supervisor. When injuries of this type occur usually filing the workers’ compensation claim is pretty straightforward. The injured worker is conscious, alert and able to answer questions concerning how the injury occurred.

If medical treatment is necessary, it is important to keep in mind that in order for your workers’ compensation claim to be paid, you must be seen by the physician selected by your employer. Therefore, it makes sense, if you have sustained an injury your employer will need to be alerted as soon as possible in order for you to receive proper medical attention, though this requirement may be waived in the case of a medical emergency.

While South Carolina Workers’ Compensation law requires an injury must be reported within 90 days in order for benefits to not be denied, most employers require they be notified with 24 hours. If your injury is repetitive, for example, back, knee or carpal tunnel strain and you have been reinjured, whether it required medical treatment or not, the 90 day time limit for reporting the incident is still in place.

In the event of a more serious or even life threatening injury, obviously circumstances may be altered. If the injury is so critical as to physically or mentally incapacitate the worker then chances are pretty good, the employer is already aware an injury occurred.  But if the accident occurred at a satellite location, depending on the employer’s rules, the employee may also be required to notify the home or main office. This is why the 90 day South Carolina law is so important as it takes precedence over any employer’s rule or regulation.

After a life threatening injury you discover your employer never filed a workers’ compensation claim with his insurer. If you notified your employer within the 90 day time limit then under South Carolina law you have up to two years to have this claim filed. In a situation where an employee dies from work related injuries, the employee’s next of kin must file a benefits claim within two years of the death.

Frequently for a wide variety of reasons, an employer may refuse to file a workers’ compensation claim on behalf of the injured employee. Perhaps they are in violation of the law and don’t have current workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Or they believe the accident was the employee’s fault and therefore erroneously are convinced they aren’t responsible for the worker’s medical bills and wages. This is when you need to consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. If the company doesn’t carry the required workers’ compensation insurance, then a lawsuit may be necessary in order for the employee to be properly compensated.

While an injured worker can legally file the necessary paperwork in order to get the benefits process started, this is often a very complicated and time consuming undertaking that may also require time off from work in order to attend hearings in front of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Plus, by taking matters into your own hands, your employer could quite possibly try to retaliate in ways that could also necessitate legal representation on your part. By allowing the experienced legal professionals at the Dan Pruitt Law Firm to handle your workers’ compensation claim on your behalf you know your rights will be protected.

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