When you have an accident at work, your life can feel turned upside down and inside out.
You may have to miss work so you can focus on your recovery. You may worry about paying the bills and taking care of your family as your medical bills begin piling up.
Unfortunately, you might also find yourself at odds with your employer.
You always expected that your employer would be there for you if you were hurt on the job, but the truth is that employers and their insurance companies often try to shortchange or even deny coverage for injured employees to cut down on their costs.
When you have to fight your boss and the insurance company’s attorneys who want to deny your compensation, you need your own experienced SC worker’s compensation attorney to help you win your case.
How can a Lawyer Help me to Win My Workers’ Comp Case?
Insurance companies will deny or limit claims any way that they can at any stage of your case. Remember, the insurance company (and your employer) are in business to make money which means paying out the least amount possible.
Your SC worker’s comp attorney can help you at every stage of your worker’s comp case, including:
- Submitting your initial claim;
- Negotiating to ensure you receive a fair settlement that covers your costs;
- Representing you at hearings in your case; and
- Appealing adverse decisions to a higher court.
Particularly in situations where your employer or the insurance company is disputing your claim, when you have pre-existing medical conditions, or when you have suffered a permanent disability on the job, it is critical that you have an experienced SC worker’s comp attorney on your side.
3 Primary Goals of a Workers’ Comp. Case
Each workers’ comp case is unique. However, you’ll likely share the following three goals with others who have sought workers’ compensation:
- Not paying out of pocket for the costs of medical care related to the accident;
- Receiving all compensation to which you’re entitled after your accident; and
- Being able to provide for yourself and your family until you can get back to work at full capacity.
The insurance company has one goal: Keep as much money as possible and deny your claim whenever they can.
What Damages are Available If You Win?
If you win your workers’ comp case, you’ll be entitled to receive damages—monetary compensation—to cover the costs of your medical care and other bills. You may receive these damages in one or more of the following ways.
Workers’ comp functions as income protection. If you’re unable to work due to an on-the-job accident or illness, then you may be eligible for weekly workers’ comp benefits.
According to the South Carolina Employment Security Commission, weekly workers’ comp benefits are calculated as 66 ⅔ percent of your average weekly income from the past year. You may receive a maximum weekly benefit of $806.92, which is the maximum average weekly wage in the state of South Carolina as of January 2017.
How long benefits last depends on the severity of the work-related illness or injury. Your injuries will be classified as a partial disability or a total disability. If you have suffered a partial disability, you may receive benefits up to 340 weeks following the injury. If your injuries are considered a total disability, you may receive benefits up to 500 weeks. The more severe your disability, the longer you’ll receive benefits.
Permanent Impairment Benefits
If you’re permanently impaired due to your work-related injury or illness, you’ll be eligible for specific benefits. For example, South Carolina law outlines how many weeks of benefits will be awarded for certain types of injuries as follows:
- Loss of an arm equals 220 weeks of benefits;
- Loss of a hand equals 185 weeks of benefits; and
- Loss of a thumb equals 65 weeks of benefits.
Payment of Medical Bills
Whether you’re temporarily or permanently disabled as a result of your injury, you have the right to seek compensation for all necessary medical costs, including:
- Doctor visits;
- Hospital visits;
- Prescription medications;
- Physical therapy; and
- Travel to and from medical appointments, such as fuel, tolls and parking.
When a partial or total disability leaves you unable to return to your job, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation.
The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) offers its services to residents struggling with physical or mental impairments that make it hard to get or keep a job. SCVRD’s services include:
- Disability management;
- Training; and
- Job search assistance.
To take advantage of these services, you must first go through an evaluation process to determine your eligibility. Once eligibility has been verified, an individualized plan will be created for you. The length of your rehabilitation will depend on the severity of your injuries.
How Can You Improve Your Chances of Winning?
No one can guarantee you a win in your workers’ compensation case. However, you can take the following steps to increase your chances of winning:
- Report your injury as soon as possible;
- Get names of witnesses;
- Don’t miss medical appointments; and
- Retain a SC worker’s comp attorney as soon as possible.
How do I Find a SC Worker’s Comp Attorney?
Coastal Law, LLC has offices in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, and Columbia SC. Call us for a free consultation about your SC worker’s compensation case at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online contact form to discuss your case.