Workers Compensation in Charleston, SC
You aren’t alone if you ask “How does workers comp work?” Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by South Carolina state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Charleston, SC workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in Charleston, South Carolina?
It may surprise you to learn how many people around may already need workers’ compensation. Charleston County employees work in professions with some of the highest rates of injuries or illnesses in South Carolina. Over 380,000 people worked in the city in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor reports 4.5 out of every 100 government employees got hurt on the job across the state. With that in mind, you should also consider the fact that over 67,000 people work in the public sector in Charleston alone.
How Does Workers Comp Work in Charleston, South Carolina?
Unfortunately, going through the process of applying for workers’ compensation begins with getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to your problems are especially crucial. For example, the injury had to occur during your regular work duties. While an event that happens during your lunch break wouldn’t apply, getting into a car accident while running an errand for your boss would qualify for a claim.
If a business in Charleston, SC has more than four employees, it must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Like most other states in the U.S., some exemptions do apply for federal employees, farmworkers, or casual employees. After finding medical attention, you must complete an Employee’s Notice of Claim and or Request for Hearing. Your employer will complete the imaginatively titled Employer’s Answer to Request for Hearing to admit or deny what occurred. For most cases, a hearing happens three to five months later so the organization you work for can present its case.
For example, say your supervisor asked you to drop something off on your lunch break. While running this errand you then get in a car accident on your way to the destination. Any resulting injury is eligible for workers’ compensation. However, if you are on your lunch break, performing no such task when you get in an accident, it does not qualify for a claim.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Charleston, SC are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay seeking help from a Charleston, SC healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process. Having a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occured is the first step in the process. Your employer cannot file a claim with their insurance carrier without this information.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is either the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to bring a copy of the doctor’s report to submit with the report of injury.
Residents of Charleston, SC have two years to claim benefits for injuries or illnesses related to employment. Any attempt to obtain workers’ compensation benefits after that time will result in a denial of your claim. You must find medical attention right away and notify your employer of what you believe to be a qualifying condition. The organization you work for has 24 hours to return the First Report of Injury or Illness form for the Workers’ Compensation Commission. If approved, the state pays up to 66% of your average salary for the last year, along with medical benefits, lost wages, and mileage.
Timeline and Other Information
Your timeline may vary depending on the details, but you can create reasonable expectations by understanding the law. Your employer has ten days to send a letter denying the claim to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. During the first 150 days after the incident, benefits can become denied even if payments have started. After that time, suspension or termination cannot happen without an evidentiary hearing.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. In the meantime, the workers’ comp insurer may begin paying medical benefits while the investigation into your claim continues.
Why You Should Hire a Charleston, South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
While workers’ compensation claims may be straightforward for some cases in Charleston, South Carolina, in others, it may be more difficult. For example, your employer may decide to question whether you were hurt on the clock or your own time. It’s also common for a company to question the full extent of your injury. Hiring a Charleston workers’ comp lawyer ensures that you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer In Charleston, South Carolina
If you are hurt or contract an illness as a result of your job in Charleston, SC you need to find the right people to help. Since the workers’ compensation claims process can have pitfalls, you should consider getting a local attorney who knows how to avoid them.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!