If you suffer an injury on the job, you may have certain rights through the workers’ compensation system. In many circumstances, you can get medical benefits and, if your injury keeps you from working, you can get weekly benefits to replace your lost wages.
If you suffered a workplace injury or a job-related illness, a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Goose Creek, SC can help you get the money that you deserve for your work-related injuries. Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers now at (888) 612-7001 for a free consultation.
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Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Suffer an Injury on the Job
In South Carolina, most employers who have four or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer qualifies and either has coverage or should have coverage, you will be able to file a claim against their insurance for workers’ compensation benefits. The burden isn’t only on your employer however, and you also bear some responsibilities in getting your claim started.
What You Must Show to Recover Workers’ Compensation
You do not have to prove that your employer was at fault for your injuries in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits. If you were acting within the scope of your employment and your work caused the injury or condition, or even if you were simply at work and an accident occurred, you may be eligible for benefits.
Giving Notice of Your Injury to Your Employer
If you suffer an injury on the job, report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible and explain how the injury was related to your work. For example, if you were lifting a heavy box when you felt a pain in your back then tell your supervisor when and how the injury occurred. You can report your injury verbally, but it is helpful if your report can be made in writing so it is easier to prove that you reported your injury in a timely manner.
If you do not know immediately that your work caused your condition, report it as soon as your doctor makes the connection. In South Carolina, you typically have up to 90 days to report your injury. Waiting to report the injury may make your employer believe you suffered the injury somewhere other than work.
Going to the Doctor for Your Work Injury
Under workers’ compensation law, your employer will generally select the doctors that you see for your injuries. When you go to the doctor, be as accurate as possible when reporting your symptoms. This will help the doctor accurately diagnose and treat your condition. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will be reading your medical records when deciding whether to approve your claim, so it is important to be as clear as possible when describing your injuries and how they occurred.
Follow the doctor’s instructions. If the doctor imposes restrictions such as lifting limits, follow those restrictions. If you do not and your actions cause your injuries to worsen, your employer’s insurance company may use your actions as an excuse to deny additional benefits.
When Your Wage Benefits Start for a Work Injury
Workers’ compensation wage benefits will generally begin after you miss 7 days of work because of your injury. If you miss more than 14 days of work, however, you will then be entitled to benefits for those first 7 days as well. These wage benefits are called temporary total disability benefits, or TTD.
Did you suffer an injury at work? Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Goose Creek, SC immediately to learn more about your rights.
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Receiving Compensation for Your Work Injury
South Carolina law outlines workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits differ from the type of damages you receive if you suffer an injury in a personal injury accident like a car wreck. For example:
- You receive payment for your medical expenses under workers’ compensation, but you usually must go to an authorized physician chosen by your employer.
- You do not receive any compensation for pain and suffering under workers’ compensation.
- Under workers’ compensation you do not receive all of your lost wages or lost earning capacity at the end of your case like in a car accident claim. Instead, you receive a portion of your normal wages in weekly payments while you are out of work because of your injury.
Receiving Temporary Disability Benefits for Your Work Injury
If your injury precludes you from working for more than seven days, you start receiving temporary total disability (TTD) benefits:
- The amount of your TTD payments is calculated using a legal formula; however, most injured parties usually end up receiving approximately two-thirds of their gross weekly wage up to the maximum allowed under South Carolina law. The amount you receive is called your Compensation Rate.
- Your TTD benefits continue until you either return to work or reach maximum medical improvement, which is usually when your doctor releases you from continuing medical care.
- If you are able to work light duty, but receiving less wages as a result, you may be eligible to receive part of the difference between what you were making before the injury and what you are making now under your new light duty pay rate.
Receiving Permanent Disability Benefits for Your Work Injury
Once you reach maximum medical improvement, your doctor will examine you to determine if you have a permanent residual impairment or permanent physical restrictions. The doctor may assign a permanent impairment rating to either your whole body or to specific parts of your body permanently affected as a result of your injury. You will be eligible for certain benefits depending upon your unique situation:
- South Carolina assigns a certain number of weeks for specific body parts. For example, a leg is assigned 195 weeks. If you injured your leg, and were determined to have a 20 percent permanent disability to your injured leg, you would be entitled to benefits equivalent to 20 percent of 195 weeks multiplied by your Compensation Rate.
- You can receive up to a maximum of 500 weeks of total disability benefits for certain injuries, including the loss of both hands, the loss of vision in both eyes, or the loss of a hand and a leg, for example.
- You are not limited by the 500 week maximum, however, and may instead qualify for lifetime benefits if your injury renders you a paraplegic,or quadriplegic, or if you suffered severe physical brain damage.
Did you suffer an injury on the job? Learn more about the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today. We will help you with your workers’ compensation claim.
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How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Serving Goose Creek, SC Can Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
You do not have to hire a lawyer for your workers’ compensation claim, but a workers’ compensation lawyer from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help you in ways that you may not even know you need.
- You will need medical evidence to show how your work caused your injury. Our lawyers can depose your doctors to explain how your work, and not an underlying condition such as arthritis, caused your injury.
- You will need to show the extent of your permanent disability. Our lawyers can question your doctors about how your injury affects your ability to perform your job or other jobs in the labor market, as well as the impact that your disability has on your day-to-day life.
- Disputes may arise over your medical care. You may disagree with your plan of treatment or whether surgery is necessary. If so, our lawyer can work with the insurance carrier and your doctors to resolve the dispute. If an agreement can’t be reached, we may be able to pay to get you an independent medical evaluation to find another doctor who will support you.
Depending on the circumstances of your work injury, we may be able to hold a third party liable for additional losses through a personal injury claim. This can be another beneficial avenue for you to pursue, as personal injury claims will also allow you to seek money for general pain and suffering.
If you suffered an injury on the job, call a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Goose Creek, SC from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers at (888) 612-7001 to receive a free consultation.
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