One day at work, you picked up a stack of boxes to carry them to the storage room in the back of the store. They were heavier than you expected, but you thought you could handle it. You twisted at an awkward angle and tried to lift the boxes above your head. Suddenly, something painful snapped in your left shoulder.
You let your boss know right away, and she told you to go ahead and fill out an injury report. You were relieved to realize that you would be eligible for workers’ compensation.
- 4.5 million injuries resulting in a medical visit
- $161.5 billion in costs
- Preventable injury-related deaths = 4,414
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp) is a type of liability insurance paid for by business owners. This is a state-mandated insurance program and each state has its own programs and laws. Federal employees have their own workers’ comp, as well. It is separate from a health insurance plan.
If an employee is injured on the job or develops an illness related to work, workers’ comp covers the employee’s medical expenses. If the employee can’t work for some time, workers’ comp will also cover lost wages until the person can return to work.
It’s important to remember that you may only have a short time frame in which to report your work-related injury to your employer. If you wait until after the required time limit, the employer may not have to cover your claim.
Workers’ comp covers things like
- Medical bills/related medical debt
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Disability benefits
- Death benefits
Your lawyer can share the specifics of your particular case with you.
Workers’ comp may not cover a claim if the injured employee was
- Found to be under the influence of certain substances at work
- Violating certain policies
- Committing a criminal act
- Harmed by self-inflicted injuries
- Starting a fight
- Purposely trying to hurt someone else or acting recklessly
- Not on the job
Workers’ comp doesn’t cover
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
These types of damages would only possibly be covered through a civil claim rather than through the personal injury coverage from workers’ comp. Or vehicle damage may be covered by the other driver’s auto insurance policy if they were at fault.
A driver who has Personal injury protection Insurance (PIP insurance) through their car insurance may also find that lost wages, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and even other expenses may be covered through the PIP insurance.
Be sure to keep all medical records and police reports (and any communication from the police department) if you are in a car crash so that your lawyer can use that information for your case.
Why would you need a workers’ compensation attorney if you have workers’ comp?
Employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation for their employees. In most states, this means that employers must buy workers’ compensation insurance from an insurance company. Some states allow larger employers to self-insure. And some laws allow very small companies to be exempt from providing workers’ comp coverage.
But, like any insurance company, workers’ compensation insurance companies will try to pay the minimum they can on each claim. This is why an employee who has been injured at work may need to consult with a workers’ comp lawyer.
Your lawyer will keep your employer’s worker’s comp insurance from taking advantage of you.
An experienced lawyer can help ensure that an employer’s workers’ comp insurance doesn’t cut any corners on a case but pays to the maximum of their liability limits. They will push to get the insurance to provide appropriate compensation.
What types of injuries or illnesses might workers’ comp cover?
If your injury or illness is clearly related to your work, workers’ comp will generally cover it. However, they may try to prove that your injuries are not related to work and that your health insurance should cover your expenses.
It is important for you to keep thorough records of all of your medical history and treatment and to be in touch with a trusted lawyer to handle your injury case. They can review all the details of your situation to make sure that workers’ comp pays for everything they should on your compensation claim.
Common types of personal injury cases often covered by workers’ comp
- Slip and fall accidents at work (property owners have premises liability)
- Car accidents (if you are driving on the clock)
- Truck accidents (if you are driving a truck for a trucking company, for example)
- Bodily injuries sustained on the job due to dangerous conditions
- Illness related to your job (ie: if you were exposed to asbestos on your job and that leads to mesothelioma or other lung diseases)
- Death benefits to families who were financially dependent on the employee who died
Are you looking for a workers’ compensation lawyer in South Carolina?
We are a workers’ comp law firm in Columbia, SC. We have years of experience working with all kinds workers’ comp cases. We’d be glad to talk with you about how we might be able to help you receive all the compensation you deserve from your employer.
Contact us today for a free consultation!
We’d love to put our experience and compassion to work for you to make sure no one takes advantage of you.
We have locations in Columbia, Orangeburg, and Lexington, SC. And we can often do virtual consultations, as well.
Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits by NOLO