Four Ways to Handle a South Carolina Workers' Compensation Dispute
When you are hurt on the job or become ill due to hazardous substances, South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits provide the help you need. These benefits offer access to medical care and treatments while helping to make up for any lost wages you suffer. Unfortunately, when on the job accidents and injuries do occur, workers may find themselves facing significant hurdles in getting their claim approved. Depending on the specific types of issues involved in your claim, there are four potential ways to handle workers’ compensation disputes that arise.
Dealing With Workers’ Compensation Disputes
When filing for workers’ compensation benefits, there are many situations that can delay your claim, reduce the amount of benefits you receive, or even result in your claim being denied altogether. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) provides several ways for resolving disputes:
Worker’s Compensation Mediation
Worker’s Compensation mediation is often the first step in resolving disputes in cases where your employer has failed to file your claim, is disputing the types of compensation you are entitled to, or is the extent of your injuries or how they occurred. A certified mediator hears both sides to the case, then makes a recommendation as to how the situation should be resolved.
Worker’s Compensation Informal Conferences
If you have been approved for workers’ compensation benefits, but are released by your physician for return to work before you are able or have benefits you have not received, you may request an informal conference. At this conference, representatives from the WCC and your employer will attempt to arrange a settlement that is agreeable to all parties.
Worker’s Compensation Hearings
When mediation or informal conferences fail to resolve issues between injured workers and their employers, a hearing may be requested. Hearings are conducted by one of seven South Carolina Workers’ Compensation commissioners and are held in the district where your injury occurred. The commissioner will hear evidence presented by all parties, then make a ruling in the case. If you disagree with this ruling, you are entitled under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act to file an appeal.
Worker’s Compensation Appeals
You must file your appeal within 14 days after a ruling is handed down by a commissioner. Your case will then be heard by a panel of three commissioners, excluding the one whose decision you are appealing. Evidence will be presented on all sides, and a ruling will be made whether to overturn or uphold the decision. If you disagree with this ruling, you may file an additional appeal, this time requesting your case be heard by the Full Commission.
At any step in this process, it is important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney by your side. An attorney can help ensure the proper procedures are followed and that all evidence in your favor is presented.
Get Help From A South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you are injured or become ill while on the job, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm immediately. While you are not required to have an attorney represent you at mediation or informal conferences, having professional legal representation early in the process can help you avoid further hearings and delays in your benefits.