Should I File for Workers’ Comp?

If I have been seriously injured on-the-job, what should I do?
Doctor in white lab coat talking with a man lying in hospital bed

Workplace injuries are accidents and happen unexpectedly. It’s shocking how everything in your life can change in a moment. You can quickly go from healthy and able-bodied to suddenly disabled or unable to work for a long time.

You have important questions about your work-related injury

When a significant injury happens at work, you will naturally have a lot of questions and concerns:

  • Will I get better?
  • What kind of medical care do I need now?
  • What kind of medical care will I need in the future?
  • Will I be able to work again? When?
  • How will I pay my medical bills?
  • How will I pay my regular bills?
  • Is my family going to suffer because I am hurt?

You may assume that your employer will take care of everything and make sure you have exactly what you need and deserve. And perhaps you have a wonderful employer who will try to take great care of you. 

You will still want to brush up on your rights and find out what your employer legally owes you so that you are prepared if your workers’ comp doesn’t provide all they should.

Are you eligible for workers’ compensation?

Many employers, but not all, are legally required to carry liability insurance including workers’ compensation insurance. They are also responsible for premises liability which means that a property owner is responsible to keep the property reasonably free of dangerous conditions.

Worker’s compensation benefits cover medical bills related to your injury and some lost wages. If you are eligible, you may be able to receive compensation no matter who was at fault for your injury. 

Requirements for eligibility for workers’ comp:

  • You are employed by the company involved.
  • Your employer carries workers’ comp insurance.
  • Your injury or illness is work-related.
  • You report the injury and file your claim before your state’s deadline.
  •  

If you are hurt at work, it’s important to notify your employer right away and find out about the policies and procedures you are required to follow.

 

What are some common workers’ comp claims?

Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others. But workplace accidents can happen to any worker in any industry.

Some of the most common workplace injuries are:

  • Overexertion
  • Slip and fall accidents (sometimes due to dangerous conditions)
  • Repetitive strain injuries and sprains
  • Electrocution
  • Struck by, or against, objects
    • Lacerations, bruises, eye injuries, fractures, concussions, etc…
  • Highway accidents
    • Car accidents, semi-truck or truck accidents, etc…
  • Machinery accidents
  • Unintentional overdoses
  • Workplace violence
  • Exposure to harmful substances and environments
  • Fires or explosions

Some of the most common fatal workplace injuries (2016-2017)

  • Transportation accidents
  • Falls, slips, and trips
  • Violence
  • Contact with objects/equipment
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments
  • Fires and explosions

Work-related injuries in 2018

  • 4.6 million injuries resulting in a medical visit
  • $170.8 billion in costs 
  • Preventable injury-related deaths = 4,493
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Should you use your health insurance for a work-related injury?

If you are eligible for workers’ comp and you let your employer know about your injury right away, most employers will get you started on workers’ comp benefits pretty quickly. They will let you know where to go for medical treatment and often you can also begin picking up prescriptions with your workers’ comp almost right away.

If you are eligible for workers’ comp, it should cover your medical bills for your work-related injury. You likely won’t need to use your personal health insurance. But if you are having problems with workers’ comp paying for your treatments, you may want to speak to your adjuster or your attorney for help.

Should you hire a workers’ comp lawyer? 

Workers’ comp exists to provide medical treatment and compensation for injured employees. However, insurance companies tend to try to minimize their spending on claims. So if you don’t know the ropes, you may not receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.

If you were seriously injured on the job, it may be wise to visit with a lawyer to help you determine if you may need legal representation for your injury case.

When a Lawyer May Be Necessary

  • When injuries are not clearly work-related (ie: if you had a pre-existing condition).
  • When extensive medical care is needed and there is significant medical debt.
  • When workers’ comp delays payments.
  • When your settlement doesn’t cover all of your medical bills or lost wages.
  • When the recovery period involves an extended time off from work.
  • When there is a permanent disability rating in dispute.
  • When your claim is denied.
  • When your manager discriminates against you for filing workers’ comp.
  • When workers’ comp isn’t providing the treatment you believe you need.
  • When you may not be able to work again.
  • When you have a workers’ comp hearing.
  • When your injury is a result of a third party or an employer’s misconduct.

An experienced attorney will help you file all paperwork before the deadlines. They will help collect evidence for your case. They will work with the insurance company to make sure they pay what they owe you. And they will help write an appropriate settlement agreement that keeps your best interests in mind.

 

Looking for a workers’ compensation attorney in Columbia, South Carolina?

A workers’ comp attorney can also help with related wrongful death cases, as well as helping injured workers. 

We are an experienced workers’ comp law firm in the Midlands of SC. We’d love to meet with you for a free consultation to see if we might be able to help you with your workers’ comp case. 

Please contact us today and let’s get started!

We have offices conveniently located in Columbia, Orangeburg, and Lexington, SC. Check with us about virtual consultations, as well.

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