The rules and regulations governing workers' compensation vary from state to state, and it's important to know how the process will work for you. At Steinberg Law Firm, we deal with South Carolina's workers' comp regulations all the time, and are happy to share our knowledge with people who have recently been injured on the job and need to file a claim.
The steps listed below provide a good idea of the deadlines and regulations you should expect when filing for workers' compensation. However, you may find that the circumstances of your case make the process more complicated. To help you understand all your options, contact the workers' compensation attorneys at Steinberg Law Firm by calling 843-720-2800. We'll look over your case for free and help you decide what to do next.
Inform Your Employer of Your Injury
If you have been injured on the job, your first priority is to seek medical treatment for your injury. Once your injury has received medical attention, you should inform your employer as soon as possible, preferably in writing. South Carolina states that you must inform your employer within 90 days of the injury to receive benefits.
You may have longer than 90 days to report an injury if:
- You were physically or mentally incapacitated by your injury (for example, if your injury put you into a coma).
- You have a repetitive-motion injury (for example, carpal tunnel syndrome).
- If you can prove that your employer already knows about the accident.
- If you can prove that you were prevented from informing your employer by fraud.
If you were injured on the job but failed to notify your employer for any reason, you should visit a workers' compensation lawyer to see what your options are. In general, lots of physical evidence is helpful to your case. Keep copies of your medical records following the accident, and if you notify your employer in writing, keep a copy of the letter.
Filing a Claim
After notifying your employer of your work injury, you will have two years to file a workers' comp claim. Ideally, however, your employer will file a claim on your behalf. They have 10 days from the day you inform them of your injury to file a claim with the Workers' Compensation Commission. Otherwise, filing a claim will be up to you or your lawyer.
You may need to file a claim yourself if:
- Your employer does not report your injury within 10 days.
- Your employer denies responsibility for your injury.
- You don't think you've received all the benefits you are owed.
A workers' compensation attorney is especially helpful In cases where your employer disputes your injury or neglects to report it. Getting workers' comp is difficult when your employer refuses to cooperate, but effective legal representation can ensure that your rights under state law are not violated.
Receiving Benefits for Your Injury
Once your claim has been received, it will be reviewed and benefits will be rewarded to you according to the commission's decision. Benefits are calculated based on the nature of the injury you receive, and there is a seven-day waiting period before you may begin receiving benefits.
Benefits will generally cover your medical expenses and two-thirds of your average wage, and will end after a set amount of time depending on the injury, or they will end whenever you are cleared by your doctor to return to work.
Requesting a Workers' Compensation Hearing
When your claim comes back from the Workers' Compensation Commission, the news may not be good. The commission may have underestimated your injuries or misunderstood the nature of your work, and awarded you less than you believe you are entitled to. In such cases, you are entitled to a hearing where you may argue your case to the commission.
At a workers' compensation hearing, an experienced lawyer can:
- Help you prepare for the hearing
- Guide you through the deposition process
- Compile and produce evidence prior to the hearing
- Cross-examine witnesses at the hearing
- Present opening and closing statements to the commission
- Appeal the decision if the commission decides against you
This is where a good workers' compensation attorney can really come in handy. At Steinberg Law Firm, our attorneys have lots of experience with workers' compensation hearings, and they can help you gather evidence, file the correct forms, and present your case before the commission.
Appealing a Decision
Finally, if you do not agree with the decision the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission arrives at for your case, your workers' compensation attorney can help you appeal the decision. You must file this appeal within 14 days of receiving the commission's initial judgment. Your appeal will be made to a panel of three commissioners.
You may have already attempted to represent yourself at the hearing, and had difficulties making your case in a manner the commission found persuasive. If you have not already hired an attorney for your workers' comp case, it's a good idea to do so before your appeal. You have a limited number of courts to appeal to, and the sooner you get a lawyer to help with your case, the better your chances of receiving substantial compensation for your work injury.
Charleston's Workers' Comp Attorneys - Here to Help
With our years of collective experience in employment law, the workers' compensation attorneys at Steinberg Law Firm are your best option when you need help filing a claim or dealing with unhelpful employers and insurance companies. We know that you deserve fair treatment following a work injury, and will do everything in our power to secure that for you.
Whether you want an experienced and professional attorney to be at your side throughout the workers' compensation process, or whether your workers' comp claim is being held up by an employer, insurer, or hearing request, Steinberg Law Firm will bring our considerable reputation and experience to bear on your workers' compensation case. We make a point of fighting hard for our clients, and will treat your workers' comp claim as though our own future depended on it.
To set up a free case review with the Charleston attorneys at Steinberg Law Firm, contact us by calling 843-720-2800. We serve clients in Charleston, Summerville, Goose Creek, and throughout the state of South Carolina.