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Did you recently get hurt on the job in South Carolina? If so, you may be eligible to receive benefits that will pay your medical bills and cover a portion of the wages that you would otherwise lose due to your injury. Here are five important facts about how the workers’ compensation system works in our state:
  1. You must report your on-the-job injury.

If suffer an injury in a work-related accident, you must report it to your employer within 90 days from the accident. If you fail to report your accident within that time period, you could lose your right to workers’ comp benefits.

You should follow your company’s reporting procedure. The best approach is to report your work accident as soon as possible. However, workers who do physical jobs often hesitate to report every minor injury right away, which is why the law allows the lengthier reporting deadline. Do understand that work injuries which are reported after some period of time has elapsed are often denied by the workers’ comp insurance carrier. If your company has no procedure, you should report the accident in writing to your supervisor, manager or your human resources department.

Additionally, in most cases, you must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years from the date of the accident.

  1. Workers’ compensation will cover your medical treatment.

If your injury arose within the course and scope of your employment, you should be eligible to receive full payment for all necessary medical treatment that arises from the injury, including emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, assistive devices and medication. You must see the doctor that your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer chooses. If you want to see a different doctor, you can seek permission from the employer or insurer. If they refuse, you can ask for a hearing before the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission.

  1. You may be eligible for total or partial disability benefits.

If your job-related injury prevents you from working at all for more than seven days, you may qualify for total disability benefits. These benefits will cover 66 and 2/3 percent of your average weekly wages. However, they cannot exceed the “maximum weekly compensation rate” that the Commission sets each year. (For instance, if your injury occurred in calendar year 2018, the maximum rate would be $838.21.) If you suffer from a disability that limits your work duties and income, you could receive partial disability benefits. These benefits will cover 66 and 2/3 percent of the difference between your average weekly wage and your post-injury wage.

  1. You can request a hearing.

Unfortunately, problems often arise with workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina. For example, your employer may insist that your injury did not occur at work and try to deny your claim.  If you have any dispute with your employer about your claim, you can request a hearing before the Commission.

However, you should consider having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at your side. There are complicated rules related to the submission of evidence in these cases, and the standard of proof needed to receive benefits. The lawyer will know how to protect your rights and pursue the maximum amount for you.

  1. Many people settle their workers’ compensation claims.

Not all workers’ compensation disputes in South Carolina require a formal hearing. In fact, the vast majority of these cases are resolved before a hearing is held.  We often resolve our clients’ most serious claims at a mediation conference. In some cases, mediation is mandatory before a workers’ compensation hearing can be held, including cases where it is alleged that the injured worker is totally disabled as the result of his or her injuries.