A single incident such as a slip and fall at work or an on the job car accident can give rise to several potential legal claims. If you have been injured on the job, an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you strategize and bring the appropriate claim based on your unique situation. If the work injury was caused by an outside third party, the injured worker has three options: (1) The worker can file a workers compensation claim only; (2) the worker can file a personal injury claim only; or (3) the worker can file both claims. Typically, the worker obtains a more full recovery by filing both. However, in doing so, the claims must be filed in the proper order and certain forms must be served on the employer, the workers compensation insurance company, and the South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission. Filing the third party lawsuit or accepting a settlement from the third party without taking these steps can actually waive the workers compensation claim as an election of remedy.
Benefits in Personal Injury and Workers Compensation
Benefits payable in Workers’ Compensation claims include payment of medical expenses, two thirds of the worker’s average weekly pay while he is temporarily totally disabled, and an award for any permanent disability that can be shown. These benefits are paid along as the claim progresses. In a personal injury claim any settlement or verdict is paid at one time at the end of the case. This can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and potentially punitive damages.
Burdens of Proof in Workers’ Compensation vs Personal Injury
In a Workers’ Compensation claim, the worker must prove that he suffered an injury that both arose out of his employment and was sustained in the course of his employment. Fault does not matter so it is not necessary to prove the employer caused the accident. In a personal injury claim, the injured party must show that the negligent actor had a duty and somehow breached that duty causing the accident. In South Carolina, an injured worker cannot file a personal injury claim against his employer no matter how negligent the employer may be. He does, however, have the right to proceed in a Workers’ Compensation claim which is known as his exclusive remedy.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Victims of Work Injuries
If you have been injured at work, the experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you choose the appropriate legal strategy. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality of legal services in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, South Carolina.