You may be worried about providing for your family, whether you will be able to keep your job, and whether you will ever fully recover so you can go back to work…
On-the-job accidents happen every day, and workers’ compensation insurance may be the only source of relief for many on-the-job injuries. .
If you’ve recently suffered a work injury, you need to know how workers’ compensation benefits can help you. You can find the answers to several commonly-asked workers’ compensation questions below.
1. What is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation is designed to provide benefits to employees who are hurt on the job by reimbursing the costs associated with a workplace injury.
As a matter of public policy, workers’ compensation serves two purposes – it provides a safety net for workers, and it protects employers from most personal injury lawsuits as long as they make workers’ comp insurance available to their employees.
2. How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
Once you file a workers’ compensation claim and if your claim is approved, you’ll receive workers’ compensation benefits until your doctor clears your safe return to work.
If your claim is denied or limited, you may have to fight the insurance company to get paid. If the insurance commission denies your claim, you may have to file appeals to contest their decision.
3. What are the Benefits of Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a safeguard for employees in case they are injured on the job.
Workers’ compensation laws prevent employees from suing employers for injuries suffered in the workplace while fulfilling job responsibilities. In exchange for immunity from most work-related personal injury lawsuits, employers must provide workers’ comp insurance for their employees.
4. How Do I Claim Workers’ Compensation?
First, immediately report your injury to your employer, who should give you a claim form to complete.
Complete the claim form as soon as you’re able to avoid delays in receiving your benefits. Give the form to your employer. Your employer will then contact their insurance company to process your claim.
There are deadlines for when you must report the injury and file your claim – in many cases, employees will contact their workers’ comp attorney before filing the claim, but you must act quickly. Your attorney will be able to review the paperwork, help you to file your claim, and challenge any denials or limitations of coverage.
5. Do I Need Workers’ Compensation?
To determine whether you’re eligible for workers’ compensation, ask yourself:
- Was I injured on the job?
- Does my workplace injury affect my ability to perform my job duties?
- Are my injuries long lasting?
If the answers to the above are yes, you’ll likely need (and be eligible for) workers’ compensation.
6. Can I File Workers Compensation for Stress?
Maybe, but stress-related workers’ compensation claims are not very common and are extremely difficult to prove. If you feel you have a strong case for work-related stress, talk to your workers’ compensation attorney about whether your stress-related injury qualifies you to receive benefits.
7. Who Pays Workers’ Compensation?
South Carolina requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. When a claim is made, the insurance company pays the benefits.
If there is no workers’ compensation insurance, your employer may be violating federal or state laws and you may have a personal injury claim or other remedies against your employer.
8. Does Workers’ Compensation Pay for Pain and Suffering?
Not usually. When you apply for workers’ compensation, you’re agreeing to give up your ability or right to sue for pain and suffering.
If the injury was on the job, you may not have a choice – depending on the nature of the injury and who was responsible, you may be limited to the benefits available through workers’ comp or you may have a personal injury claim against a third party.
9. How Long Does Workers’ Compensation Last?
Your workers’ compensation benefits will last as long as your doctor says you are unable to work. Once you’re cleared to return to work, your workers’ compensation benefits will end. Talk to your SC workers’ comp lawyer to find out what benefits you are entitled to receive and whether there are limits on them.
10. What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Any injuries that are work-related are covered under workers’ compensation. Your injury had to happen while you were doing something required by your job or on behalf of your employer.
That could mean an injury on the jobsite, while running errands for work, or even while on the way to or from work under some circumstances.
If you are a true independent contractor or if you are engaged in an activity that is not reasonably related to your job, your injury may not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Have questions about your workers’ compensation case?
If you’ve been hurt on the job, you can protect your rights and your workers’ compensation benefits by talking to your SC workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible after your injury happens.