Have you sustained an injury while at the workplace? If so, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation, and it is essential to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. For more than 40 years, our workers’ compensation attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers have been fighting to protect the rights and well-being of injured workers. We have become recognized for our award-winning representation, and our ability to help clients obtain the compensation they deserve after a work-related injury. Browse through the commonly asked workers’ compensation-related questions we have answered below, and if you still have any concerns, feel free to contact our office today.
- Who is covered by South Carolina’s workers’ compensation?
Most employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses are covered under South Carolina workers’ compensation law. Exceptions include railroad and railway express companies and employees, federal employees, businesses with fewer than four employees, certain casual employees, agricultural workers, and certain real estate salespeople. Employers are required to maintain sufficient workers’ compensation insurance to cover eligible employees and must furnish proof to the state Commission.
- Will I be able to sue an employer if they are responsible for the accident?
South Carolina workers’ compensation law typically bars individuals from suing their employers if they are hurt during the course of their duties. However, you may have recourse if you believe your employer intentionally caused you harm. Seek legal counsel to review the options available in your specific case.
- If I’m receiving workers’ compensation, what benefits can I expect to receive?
Workers’ compensation law allows you to receive compensation for things like medical expenses, loss of wages, and for any permanent disability. You are entitled to compensation at the rate of 66.67% of your average weekly wage, which is based on your earnings during the four quarters prior to your injury. The maximum award for total disability is limited to 500 weeks of benefits. Workers’ compensation usually pays for surgery, hospitalization, medical supplies, prosthetic devices, and prescriptions. Remember that in order to receive benefits, you must immediately report your accident to your employer – any delay could cost you your benefits.
- Will I get compensated for missing time from work because of my injury?
Before benefits can be paid, there is a seven day waiting period. If you are out of work for more than seven days, payments come from your employer’s insurance. If you are out of work for more than 14 days, you can receive compensation for the first seven days. These payments should continue until the doctor releases you to go back to work.
- What should I do if my injury prohibits me from returning to work?
If you’re unable to return to your previous position at work, the South Carolina Workers Compensation Act allows for the injured employee to be placed in vocational rehabilitation, which is provided by the workers’ compensation carrier. Vocational rehabilitation is the process of rebuilding work skills in order to help others recover from a work-related injury or illness with the aim of gaining employment.
- Do I have to see the company’s doctor, or can I choose my own doctor?
Under current law, your employer can choose the doctor who will treat you. If you see your doctor without permission of the employer, your employer might not be held liable for medical expenses. The doctor’s report can determine which benefits you will receive, and in some cases, the doctor will minimize the seriousness of your injury in order to retain business with the employer or insurance company. If you would like to see another doctor, you can ask the insurance carrier for a second opinion or request a hearing by filling out Form 50 where a commissioner will make a decision on your case. This process can be complicated, and seeking help from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help walk you through this process and protect your rights.
- What if my work accident was my fault? Do I still have a case?
Yes, you could still have a case. When injured in an accident at work, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault. However, there are exceptions to this general rule, such as if the injury was caused by your use of drugs or alcohol or horseplay.
- Should I tell my boss that I got hurt at work?
Yes. In order to receive worker’s compensation benefits, you must inform your boss so that he/she can report your accident to their insurance company, which is reported to the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- Will I get fired if I make a workers compensation claim?
No, your employer can’t fire you in retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim. If your employer does fire you, you may be able to seek damages in civil court.
- My injury happened over time. Can I still get compensation?
Yes, you can still receive compensation, depending on your injury and the circumstances surrounding it. A worker’s compensation injury may happen suddenly or over time. Talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to find out more about your rights under workers’ compensation laws.