If you are an American employee, you have certain rights that are designed to preserve your best interests and prevent your employer from taking advantage of you. One of these rights is workers’ compensation: the coverage your employer pays if you are injured on the job.
But obtaining compensation is not always easy, and every state has unique laws. Understanding your rights and responsibilities within this process will help you determine whether you’re entitled to coverage, as well as illustrate what steps you’ll need to take to raise your chances of success.
The Workers’ Comp Claim Process in South Carolina
In South Carolina, any employer with more than three employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a carrier to cover the costs of on-the-job injuries.
These are the 4 basic steps you will most likely follow in the workers’ comp process:
- Report the injury to your supervisor or manager, and request treatment and coverage right away. Typically, you must report the injury 90 days after the accident, but you have 2 years to file a claim. In many cases, employees don’t immediately know they’ve been severely injured, so the deadline may be extended from the date you discovered the injury.
- If your employer denies your request or does not provide the benefits you believe you deserve, file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. This is a more complex process than filing the initial report with your employer, and most people choose to secure the help of an experienced attorney.
- Present your case at a hearing. Your employer’s carrier will have filed an answer to your claim, wherein they will have either admitted or denied the information you listed. A hearing occurs when the carrier is disputing your claim. At this hearing, both you and your employer will present testimony, including medical records related to the incident.
- If you do not achieve a favorable outcome, appeal to the full Commission. If this doesn’t work, you can appeal to the Circuit Court and/or the South Carolina Supreme Court. You have 14 days to appeal these decisions. Your employer can file appeals as well, so it is important to keep all records and be prepared for additional litigation.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you successfully file a claim after sustaining an injury or illness, your employer will be required to cover a variety of costs.
According to the Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina, employees who suffer accidental injuries “arising out of and in the course of employment” have the right to receive the following:
- Medical expense coverage (including mileage for travel to the doctor and/or pharmacy)
- Temporary compensation for time away from work
- Permanent disability benefits, if needed
In South Carolina, you can receive up to 66.66% of your average weekly pay, unless that amount exceeds the state’s average weekly wage. Medical expenses include hospitalization, supplies and devices, prescription medication, and surgery. What many don’t know, however, is that they are required to see the doctor of their employer’s choice. If they see their own doctor, these expenses will not be covered.
Although the fight for workers’ compensation may take time and effort, the benefits often make an enormous difference in the lives of employees throughout the United States. Our government established workers’ compensation to help employees get back to work as soon as possible, and, with the right preparation, you can take full advantage of this support.
Learn More About Your Rights from Our Dedicated Attorney
At Lam Law Firm, our lead attorney is committed to empowering those who have suffered from exploitation or simply bad luck. Because we know that every client has a unique history, we take the time to understand what you have been through as well as what you envision for your future. If you have suffered a workplace injury or illness, we want to be there for you every step of the way.
Schedule your complimentary consultation by calling (843) 695-7700 today.