Many injured workers who run into problems with their workers’ compensation claims have made an avoidable mistake. It can easily happen. After all, the South Carolina workers’ compensation system can be complex in many ways.
No one expects you to understand on your own the ins and outs of obtaining workers’ compensation. Instead, you should seek help from a lawyer who has years of experience in this area of the law.
When you work with Harrison White, your lawyer will explain how the system works and advise you on how to avoid crucial mistakes with your workers’ compensation claim. These mistakes include:
Failing to report your accident.
You must report a workplace injury to your employer immediately, or as soon as it can be reported thereafter (within reason). In no circumstance can you wait more than 90 days from the day you knew (or should have known) you suffered a work injury to report it to your employer in order to maintain your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits
Do not just tell a co-workers about a workers’ compensation injury – be sure to inform your supervisor, lead-person, foreman, human resources department know, and/or someone else in administration or ownership. Companies have different ways in which they handle such reports, but reports in writing are preferable.
Keeping your appointments with medical providers.
It is very important that you get medical treatment as soon as possible following a work-related injury, and that you continue to be on-time for each appointment thereafter (doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, x-rays or MRIs, etc.). If you expect your employer, the insurance company and your doctors to take your injury seriously, then it is crucial that you take it seriously as well and make your medical appointments a priority.
If something comes up that makes it impossible to make a medical appointment, be ready to explain why you cannot make the appointment and work to have it rescheduled as quickly as possible. In these instances, having an attorney can make a huge difference, in that we can work with everyone involved to ensure such matters are taken care of correctly and with as little disruption to your treatment and/or benefits as possible.
Failing to follow doctors’ orders.
The objective of workers’ compensation is to help you recover from your injury or illness and return to work. If your doctor says you are not doing what is necessary to recover, you could lose your right to needed benefits. Be sure to follow instructions for medication and treatment, (including rehabilitation therapy), and stay within any physical restrictions or limitations the doctor places on you.
Not accepting work you can do.
In most instances, you will be released back to work at some point following a work-related injury. Whether you are released with or without restrictions, you are expected to return to your job if your employer says you can be accommodated. It is important that you make an attempt to see whether you can handle any such work being offered. If you are paid less because of a limitation on your hours or because particular work is not available given your restrictions, you may qualify for reduced-earnings benefits to make up for your lost wages. These matters can got complicated, and having an attorney guide you through this phase of a workers compensation claim can be invaluable.
Seeking workers’ compensation benefits without an attorney.
It may be months or years before you fully recover from a serious workplace injury. You deserve to receive all of the benefits you are legally entitled to receive without having to fight you employer or their insurer for them.
The help of an attorney with a deep background in South Carolina’s worker’s compensation law can level the playing field for you.