Suffering a work injury or developing an occupational illness can be physically, emotionally and financially catastrophic to workers, especially if they are the primary breadwinners for their families and/or the health complication has irreversible impacts.
While the South Carolina workers’ compensation system is available to help injured workers during such difficult times, the myths about workers’ options and responsibilities during the claims process can be as misleading as they may be costly.
That is why, below, we have presented the facts workers should rely on, rather than relying on the myths, when they are serious about protecting their interests and obtaining the full amount of benefits they may deserve after a work accident.
The Facts about South Carolina Workers Compensation Claims
Myth 1: I have plenty of time to report my work injuries to my employer.
Fact: Not true! South Carolina law sets the deadline for reporting work injuries to employers to be 90 days. This means that, if workers fail to inform their employers of the accident and injury within this 90-day window, they could lose out on some of their benefits.
Myth 2: If my employer doesn’t file a workers’ compensation claim for me, I’m out of luck and cannot get benefits.
Fact: Wrong! If you report your work injury to your employer and the employer fails to take action to file a claim with its insurer (because the employer forgets to or is outright denying that you were injured at work or in a work accident), you will not be out of luck when it comes to benefits. This is because you CAN take the initiative to file your claim even if your employer refuses to.
In these situations, injured workers will typically have to complete and submit a Form 50 or 52 to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commissions (WCC).
Myth 3: I can go to any doctor I want for the treatment of my work injuries, and the insurer will cover it.
Fact: Wrong again! In South Carolina, if you are injured at work and want your medical treatments to be covered by insurance, you are required to see a doctor selected by your employer or its insurance provider. If you go to your own doctor who was not an option provided by an employer/insurer, you can generally expect to have to pay for these treatments.
Myth 4: I can count on the insurance company and my doctor to make the right calls regarding my injury and workers’ compensation claim.
Fact: Unfortunately, this is not usually true because:
- Insurance companies are not generally on injured workers’ sides; instead, insurers are typically focused on protecting their clients (i.e., the employer) and their profits (which usually means limiting claim payouts whenever possible).
- Doctors can have relationships with insurance companies, making them inclined to issue decisions (such as those regarding when workers can go back to work) in favor of insurers. Additionally, doctors can make mistakes, make wrong calls about patient’s progress, etc.
All of this boils down to the fact that it’s usually in injured workers best interests to retain a lawyer who WILL be on their side to:
- Look out for them
- Stand up to insurers or doctors who make the wrong calls
- Fight in order to help injured workers secure the maximum benefits to which they may be entitled.
Contact a Columbia SC Injury Attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law
If you have been injured at work, contact the Columbia SC injury attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for effective legal advocacy moving forward.
Call our firm at 866-881-8623 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.
From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.