When injured at work or having developed a work-related illness, employees can file a workers’ compensation claim on their employer’s insurance policy. Once the insurance company accepts the application, it will propose an initial settlement amount or a workers’ compensation offer, which could include coverage for:
- Medical bills
- A percentage of lost wages
- Temporary disability payments
The settlement is usually offered as a lump sum, but could also be paid as a structured payment plan over a fixed period. The employee can then either accept the offer or negotiate for a larger settlement through discussions between their chosen legal representation and the business’ insurance company.
Workers’ Compensation Claims: the Process
Being injured at work can affect not only your health but your finances as well. As such, the South Carolina workers’ compensation system is designed to support you through this challenging time.
According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC), to begin the process, you will generally need to inform your boss within 90 days if you were hurt at work; otherwise, you may lose your right to receive benefits. Your employer should then report the accident to their insurance company and the SCWCC within 10 days. The Commission oversees the payment of benefits to you.
You can apply for a hearing before a commissioner if there are problems, such as:
- Your employer has not reported your accident
- Your employer denies your injury or illness is work-related
- You have not received all of the benefits owed to you
- You cannot reach an agreement with your employer about compensation
After the hearing, you will receive a decision about your claim from the commissioner, which can still be appealed for review if you are unsatisfied with the finding.
If you have received a workers’ compensation offer, or have had a claim denied and are unsure how best to proceed, it is a good next step to seek legal advice from a legal professional with experience in this type of claim. They may help you explore your legal options, make sure your rights are protected, and ensure that you are fairly treated.
Knowing What You Are Entitled to and When to Expect Payment
The benefits you are entitled to depend largely on the extent of your injuries or illness.
Compensation for lost wages usually begins if you are unable to work for seven days or longer due to your accident or illness. However, payments are assigned at a reduced rate of around two-thirds of your average weekly wages, according to the Social Security Administration.
If your workplace injuries prevent you from working for some time, you will likely be entitled to temporary total disability payments until you return to work.
If you have been permanently disabled in an occupational accident and are unable to return to work, you could be eligible to receive permanent total disability payments, which are paid at the same rate as temporary total disability payments but for a longer period, and for life in some situations.
Should I Accept the Initial Workers’ Compensation Offer?
Accepting the initial workers’ compensation offer from your employer’s insurance company means you waive your rights to pursue any future expenses, as it releases your employer and their insurance company from their liability to you. If your condition gets worse, or you need more treatment, there can be no further claims.
If you have received an initial compensation offer and are unsure if it is enough to meet your needs, it may be beneficial to discuss your situation with a workers’ compensation legal professional. They can review the offer and determine its fairness based on your circumstances.
Getting Advice from a Lawyer About a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Offer
If you have received a settlement offer and have questions or concerns, it can be beneficial to seek legal advice before accepting it. Remember, signing the settlement releases your employer and their insurance company from their liability to you, and you forfeit your right to pursue any further legal action.
The team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers fights for the rights and wellbeing of injured workers. We offer a free consultation so that you can discuss a workers’ compensation offer at no obligation to yourself.
With over 40 years helping our clients with workers’ compensation claims, we examine every detail of your case and work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. In addition, you could be entitled to further awards for losses such as pain and suffering, depending on your circumstances.
In addition to helping you understand your rights under workers’ compensation and helping you file your claim, we can appeal a decision if your employer or their insurance provider has denied your claim for benefits. Call us or fill out our online form today and get the information you need to make an informed decision about your settlement offer.