The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act encourages prompt notification of work injuries, but requires injured employees to give notice of the accident or discovery of a compensable condition to employers within 90 days. It is best not to assume that your employer knows about the workplace accident simply because you went to the doctor. Doctors may not report your injury to your employer and you should report your injuries in writing to your employer as soon as possible so that the eligibility and benefits process can begin. Even if an injury does not seem serious, it may later develop into a disability. It is important to establish a record of your injury early on so that your medical records will show how your work-related injury led to the disability.
Do Not Assume That Your Claim Is Not Valid
Many people make the mistake of assuming they do not have a claim for various reasons. Some people, such as those suffering from repetitive stress injuries, may not realize that their injuries could entitle them to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers do not have to identify one particular accident in order to receive Workers’ Compensation; their injuries could have been caused by a series of events related to their job. Benefits are available to workers who develop repetitive stress injuries over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or neck and back strain.
Those who drive for work may also receive Workers’ Compensation even when accidents happen on the road, away from work. Those who were on the job and not merely traveling to or from work may be eligible for benefits. Workers who are running an errand for their employer or traveling in the scope of employment are considered to be on the job and therefore eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Injured workers may also think that they are not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits because they did not take time off from work. Although lost wages due to the injury would be compensable under Workers’ Compensation, having lost wages is not a prerequisite to receive other forms of Workers’ Compensation benefits such as compensation for medical expenses and rehabilitation.
Do Not Rely on Private Insurance
Employers will often suggest that injured employees claim benefits under private health insurance rather than Workers’ Compensation. This is not in your best interest. Health insurance typically requires co-payments or deductibles, whereas Workers’ Compensation does not. Workers’ Compensation pays for all reasonable and necessary medical costs without any pre-established limits on the amount that will be paid.
Additionally, private health insurance often limits your choice of physicians, whereas Workers’ Compensation allows you to choose your physician. Workers’ Compensation also provides benefits that private health insurance does not, such as disability benefits, medical expense reimbursements, and other rehabilitative services.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Injured Workers Navigate All Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you suffered a work-related injury, call an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We understand the complex South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system and can help guide you through it. Our offices are conveniently located throughout South Carolina and we provide effective legal advocacy to clients, including in the communities of Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County, and Kershaw County. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to consult with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.