Workers’ Compensation systems are designed to cover injuries and lost wages after a worker is injured on the job. While these systems have some drawbacks, the benefits paid through this system are often available in cases where the victim would otherwise have no one to sue. This can help injured workers get the compensation they need when they need it most.
For help with a Workers’ Compensation claim, you should always work with an experienced attorney. Our lawyers can guide you through the process of filing with your employer and getting the benefits you need. We can also appeal denials and fight terminations when they arise. If possible, we can also seek to file your case as a lawsuit instead of a Workers’ Compensation claim, potentially opening access to additional damages Workers’ Compensation will not pay.
For a free case review, call the Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Sumter, SC
When you are injured at work, you may have to file a Workers’ Compensation claim as your primary route to compensation. This process typically starts with victims seeking medical care, reporting the injury to their employers, and following up with a lawyer to ensure that all steps are followed closely.
Injuries must be treated to create a record of the injury that can be used as part of your claim. These medical records will show what injuries occurred, and your doctor can make statements and estimates about how your ability to work will be impacted and how long you will be out of work. You will then need to report the injury to your employer, as they will actually be the party that files the claim with insurance.
If your employer does not properly file your claim or they try to reject or deny your right to file, our Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help. There are ways to file directly with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, and we can pursue all avenues to support your claim, fight denials, and appeal any negative outcomes.
After filing, following through with all recommended medical care is vital to keep your benefits. You should also not return to work until given the go-ahead from your physician and double-checking with your Workers’ Compensation lawyers.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Pay for Work Injuries in Sumter, SC?
Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina covers, typically, 66 2/3% of lost wages as well as all expenses for medical care. To get these benefits in the first place, you must prove that the injury was work-related, but there is no need to prove that anyone was at fault.
These benefits are often incredibly helpful for injured workers. Medical expenses often make up most of the burden on injured workers, and Workers’ Compensation should cover these damages in full. However, the trade-off is that your lost wages are not fully reimbursed.
Benefits are typically paid for any missed days of work after the first 7. If your injury goes on for 14 days, then the first 7 days will also be compensated. While there might be a bit of a delay in these payments actually coming through, they should be paid quite quickly and regularly.
However, another trade-off also affects these benefits. While you do not need to prove fault to get these damages paid, all non-economic damages are blocked entirely. You might be more familiar with these damages under the title of “pain and suffering” damages – damages paid to compensate you for your physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, and other effects of the injury. If you pursue your case through Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina, these damages cannot be paid.
Can You Sue Instead of Filing for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina
The Workers’ Compensation system in South Carolina is the “exclusive remedy” for work injuries. This means that Workers’ Compensation is intended to be the only way to receive compensation for a work injury, and you cannot instead choose to file a lawsuit against your employer. However, there are some exceptions.
Claims Against Third Parties
Our Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help determine if there are any alternative parties that you can sue for damages. In order to sue someone for causing your workplace injury, you have to have sufficient evidence to prove that they were negligent. That means you need evidence demonstrating that they did something careless or in violation of a specific legal duty that ended up causing your injuries.
Often, claims are filed against customers, vendors, drivers, or equipment manufacturers who might have caused your accident. However, if none of these parties were involved in your accident, there might be no other route to compensation except for using Workers’ Compensation.
Court cases in South Carolina have established that independent contractors are exempt from Workers’ Compensation coverage and cannot file claims. This means that if you work as an independent contractor, the person that hired you will not cover your accident with Workers’ Compensation insurance, but you might be able to sue them for injuries.
When determining whether you qualify as an independent contractor, your specific job title and contract are not the ultimate deciding factors. Courts instead use a specific test based on how much control the boss exerts over the worker. Our Workers’ Compensation attorneys can apply this to the facts of your case and advise you on how to proceed.
This is especially common with truckers and construction workers.
Certain Types of Employees
Other types of workers are also exempt from coverage under South Carolina law and can instead sue for injuries. This primarily involves “casual employees,” agricultural workers, workers in very small businesses, rail workers, real estate agents, and anyone working for the federal government.
For Help, Call Our Sumter, SC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
Whether your case is better filed as a Workers’ Compensation claim or a lawsuit, our Sumter Workers’ Compensation lawyers can help with your case. Call Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000 for a free case review today.