Workers in some industries know that injuries are a potential part of the job. That does not mean that they have to live with the consequences of a workplace injury if it occurs. When workers are severely injured on the job, they are often entitled to file a claim under their employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance. Some may also be entitled to file a lawsuit.
Whenever a work injury occurs, you should talk to an experienced attorney about your potential case. A Columbia workplace injury lawyer can help make sure that the proper paperwork is filed, help you manage your doctor’s appointments and records, and counsel you as to whether settlements are appropriate or not. Working with a workplace injury lawyer can get you answers to many of your questions and guidance through what is often a confusing process.
For a free case consultation, call the Columbia workplace injury lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today. Our attorneys will go over the facts of your case and help determine whether Workers’ Compensation is the best route for your case or whether you are able to file a personal injury claim. For your free consultation, contact us today at (803) 451-4000.
Workers’ Compensation covers a wide range of injuries and types of accidents because the system is meant to cover anything “work-related.” That means that serious on-the-job accidents, repetitive stress injuries, and work-related illnesses should all be covered.
Typically, Workers’ Compensation covers any injuries that either happened at work or because of conditions in your workplace. For instance, Workers’ Compensation may cover lifting and carrying accidents for warehouse workers, falls from ladders for store workers, or even cancer for factory workers exposed to carcinogenic chemicals.
Workers’ Compensation insurance is required for most employers with four or more workers. This coverage should reach all employees, but it is not always required for some part-time or low-hour workers, agricultural workers, or certain other workers. Workers’ Compensation also does not cover Federal employees, such as workers at a Federal courthouse or some mail carriers; there is a separate federal system for their Workers’ Compensation.
Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina notably does not cover independent contractors or agricultural workers. Many ‘gig workers’ – such as rideshare drivers and delivery drivers – work as independent contractors. Agriculture accounts for about 11% of South Carolina’s economy, so this is also a substantial industry that is not covered.
If Workers’ Compensation is not available to you, you could be entitled to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for your injuries. While Workers’ Compensation is supposed to be the primary route to recovery for work-related injuries, there are exceptions that allow you to sue – and uncovered workers can often sue for injuries if another party was at fault.
If your claim is against someone other than your employer, you are usually entitled to sue for your injuries. This comes up in cases where you might have been injured in a work-related car accident or because of a defective product or piece of safety gear you used at work.
When you file a Workers’ Compensation claim for workplace injuries, you are often entitled to certain damages. Usually, 2/3 of your normal weekly wages are paid as wage-loss benefits to help cover general expenses like rent and groceries while you are unable to work. Payments for medical expenses are also covered under certain circumstances. If you are able to sue for injuries, you could be entitled to claim other damages – and you may be entitled to claim the full value of lost wages.
Wage benefits are paid at a rate of 2/3 of your normal wages. These payments last for a certain number of weeks depending on what injuries you faced and how long they are expected to take to heal. Some injuries are listed in S.C. Code Ann. § 42-9-30 along with the specific number of weeks that damages will be paid for. For example, the loss of an index finger will mean 40 weeks of wages and the loss of an eye will mean 140 weeks of wages. These numbers are typically based on complete loss or loss of function; partial loss of function can mean receiving reduced benefits.
Medical expenses are covered for workplace injuries through Workers’ Compensation. Emergency treatment is typically covered, and your employer (through their insurance) should pay for this. If your injury qualifies you for workers’ comp, then they should continue to pay for all medical care related to the injury – but only with a doctor they choose. If you want to have your own doctor treat your injuries, you might not be able to get the payments covered. Talk to a Columbia workplace injury attorney for help.
Benefits are not typically paid for pain and suffering through Workers’ Compensation. Instead, you usually need to file a lawsuit to claim these damages. These payments could be a big part of your injury case, so talk to a lawyer about your options before settling with workers’ comp.
If you were injured at work or have a loved one whose workplace injuries need compensation, call our Columbia, SC workplace injury attorneys today. Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers offer free case consultations. Call us at (803) 451-4000.
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