Have you been injured on the job? Are you unsure of how to access your workers’ compensation benefits? Contact the South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Anastopoulo Law Firm for help applying for workers’ compensation or appealing a denial of benefits. Our team of workers compensation attorneys in Charleston SC can assist you with the entire workers’ compensation process in order to help you receive the payment for lost wages and medical bills that you deserve.
Reach out to us when you are ready by calling (800) 313-2546. We offer free initial consultations and if there’s no recovery, there’s no fee.
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation System
In South Carolina, under the Workers’ Compensation Act, employees injured while on the job are entitled to receive compensation for their injuries and lost wages. The Act also applies to employees who suffer an illness as a result of their job-related duties or activities. In order to access workers’ compensation benefits, an employee must file their workers’ compensation benefits claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years of the injury or illness. Furthermore, an injured employee should report their injury/illness to their employer as soon as possible and immediately seek medical treatment.
Reporting an injury to an employer begins the process of accessing workers’ compensation benefits. Once they have received notice of an employee injury, an employer should report the employee’s injury/illness and contact their insurance provider. Once reported, the workers’ compensation claim process can commence and benefits can be paid out by the employer’s insurance provider. However, employers may seek to avoid making the workers’ compensation payments that an employee deserves.
Workers’ compensation claims should be filed directly by the employee when:
- An employer does not report that an accident/injury/illness has occurred in relation to employment
- The amount of workers’ compensation benefits to be received is in dispute
- The employer denies that an injury or illness was sustained by an employee at the workplace
Workers’ compensation payments are paid out at a rate of 66 ⅔ percent of a worker’s average weekly wages, as based on the worker’s previous four work quarters before the injury or illness arose. There is a seven-day waiting period before payment can be made within which the employee must be unable to return to work. Workers’ compensation payments encompass both a portion of the wages lost as a result of the employee’s injury/illness, as well as funds to be used to pay for medical care and treatment. Workers’ compensation payment may include compensation for those who have a disfigurement or permanent disability.
Most Common Causes of On-The-Job Injuries
While some on-the-job injuries are minor, others are more severe and require multiple days off the job before the injured employee has recovered enough to return to work. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers in this country suffered over 1.1 million work-related injuries requiring days off work in 2014. These injuries were spread out over both private industries as well as state and local government employees. While police and firefighters, medical care providers, workers in the construction field and those in the transportation industry all had higher than average on-the-job injuries and work-related illnesses, the common causes of these injuries and illnesses can affect workers in any field. According to the BLS, the most common causes of work-related injuries in 2014 include the following:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Being struck by or against something
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Burns, cuts, and lacerations
- Overuse injuries
- Workplace violence
Injuries That May Be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Program provides benefits to workers who are injured during the course of their employment. The types of benefits provided include payment for medical expenses arising out of your injury or illness, reimbursement for lost wages, and compensation for any disfigurement or disabilities.
The types of injuries that may be covered under workers’ compensation include the following:
- Muscle or tendon strains, sprains, and tears
- Bone fractures
- Repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Head and neck injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries, including ruptured or herniated disks
- Injuries and scarring as the result of thermal and chemical burns
- Diseases caused by exposure to toxic substances, such as asthma or certain cancers
- Heart disease and/or strokes that are work-related
- Certain types of mental health conditions associated with employment
When assessing the nature of your disability and your entitlement to workers’ compensation, one thing to consider is whether the injury is a partial or total disability and whether it is temporary or permanent.
- Partial Disability - When your ability to perform your job is only partially, or somewhat, impaired. There may be certain tasks you can’t perform, but you are still able to work. Under Title 42 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 42-9-30, provides a comprehensive list covering partial compensation for injuries, such as the loss of use of a hand, foot, or back.
- Total Disability - When it is determined that your injury prevents you from working at all.
- Temporary Disability - When an injury impairs your ability to work. For example, say you hurt your back at work. Perhaps, based on the severity of the injury and the type of work you perform, your physician recommends you not return to work for 16 weeks. That would be a temporary impairment, and you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation on a temporary basis.
- Permanent Disability - When your injury will prohibit you from performing your job duties permanently. For example, say your injury not only strained your back but actually ruptured several disks, and your movement became severely limited. Under these circumstances, a determination might be made that you are now totally disabled, with workers’ compensation benefits awarded accordingly.
As you can see, determining the amount of workers’ compensation is not an exact science. Regardless of the nature of the injury, if you have been hurt at work, please contact our experienced South Carolina workers' comp attorneys at Anastopoulo Law Firm to work with you to get the benefits you deserve.
Get Started Today with a Free Consultation
A workplace-related injury or illness can have lasting effects and even prevent an employee from returning to work. In order to access the compensation that you deserve under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act, you will need the skilled and effective assistance of a legal counsel. Reach out to the South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Anastopoulo Law Firm. We are prepared to help you in any way that we can.
Call our workers' compensation attorneys in Charleston SC at (800) 313-2546 or contact us online today for a free consultation.