No matter how careful you are, injuries happen in the workplace. In the first three months of 2021 alone, more than 18,000 Workers’ Comp claims were filed in South Carolina.
It’s important to understand the basics of Workers’ Compensation so that you can take the proper steps to increase your chances of being approved for coverage in the event of an injury at work.
The good news is that while Worker’s Comp requires a few key steps to be completed in a timely manner, the process of claiming benefits is fairly straightforward.
Keep reading for some important basics to know about filing Workers’ Comp in South Carolina.
Report the Injury to Your Employer
It’s crucial that after receiving any necessary medical attention, you report your injury to your employer as soon as possible.
If you wait too long to report your injury, you run the risk of becoming ineligible for compensation, so reporting injuries immediately, even small ones, protects you from losing benefits later on.
In South Carolina, you have 90 days to report your injury and two years after reporting to file for Workers’ Compensation.
While it may seem trivial to report a minor injury, it’s the most important step in ensuring that you get the care you need should any medical complications arise.
In most cases where it’s clear that an accident will require medical attention, your employer will supply you with the form required to claim Workers’ Comp, and the process will proceed from there.
File a Workers’ Comp Claim
If your employer does not initiate the process by providing you with the form to file for Workers’ Comp, you may do so yourself.
You can download the form and submit it to your employer or directly to South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Commission.
You can also file a claim yourself if you disagree with its denial or if your initial injury report has been denied. You may benefit by consulting an experienced Columbia workers’ compensation attorney.
You will need a few important pieces of information to fill out any forms:
- The date and time of the injury.
- The severity of injury and location on the body.
- Details on how the accident occurred.
- Any treatment that has already been administered.
Once you have submitted your initial Workers’ Compensation claim, you’ll need to wait for a notification of your approval to receive any benefits for which you are found eligible.
Receive Treatment or Time off
Once your claim has been approved, you can begin to use any treatment or care that will lessen your injury. Workers’ Compensation includes but is not limited to: x-rays, prescriptions, surgeries, hospital stays, relevant travel expenses, and medical supplies.
If you require time off from work, your compensation will be two-thirds of your weekly wage. You can continue receiving payments until your physician deems that you are fit to return to work.
Employers often require claimants to receive their treatment from within a list of approved health care providers. During your treatment, you will need to fill out a form updating the status of your case every six months from the date of the accident until your case has closed.
What to Do if Your Claim Is Denied
There are several reasons that after you file a Workers’ Comp claim, it may not be approved. You may be ineligible for benefits if the injury:
- Was not reported within the initial 90 days.
- Occurred as a result of horseplay.
- If the employee was committing a crime or breaking company policy.
- If the claimant is an independent contractor and not an employee.
If none of the above are applicable and you are still denied Worker’s Comp, you can request that the case moves to reviewal, or you can obtain legal representation to work on your behalf. If you choose to dispute any decision regarding your case, you may need to attend a hearing.
The Workers’ Compensation Commission holds hearings to settle issues between you and your employer’s representative. You can request a hearing if you feel that you have not received proper benefits, need more benefits, or if your employer failed to report your injury or file your claim.
It is not uncommon for workers’ comp insurance companies to look for ways to reduce what they are required to cover, so don’t be afraid to fight for what you need to get back on your feet.
If you believe that you are not getting the coverage you deserve, it may be time to obtain legal representation.
Returning to Work After Workers’ Compensation
If you need time off from work to recover, you’ll need to obtain documentation from your doctor approving your return. Once you have received approval, you will need to fill out and submit two copies of Section II of Form 15.
If your doctor recommends that you return for light work, you should note that failing to do so may result in you losing your benefits until you return to work. You may request a hearing if you feel you are being asked to return to work too soon or you are not receiving the care you need.
You can also request a hearing if you feel that you should get a second opinion from a doctor who is not on your employer’s list of approved providers.
Get the Coverage You’re Entitled to for Your Work-Related Injury
You should never have to worry about bills or missed work when you’re recovering from an on-the-job injury.
That’s why at Burriss & Ridgeway, we dedicate ourselves to making sure that you have all the information you need to get the care you deserve when filing for Workers’ Compensation.
If you have more questions about worker’s comp or need legal representation, we’re here to help.
Please contact us to book a free consultation.
We have law offices in Orangeburg, Lexington, and Columbia, SC. And we serve the entire state of South Carolina.