After you’ve been injured on the job, your first priority is getting well. Filing for and receiving workers’ compensation benefits is also a crucial part of your recovery. It’s important to follow the deadlines for seeking workers’ compensation in South Carolina so you don’t miss out on the benefits you are entitled to receive.
You need to act quickly following a workplace accident. The most important thing is to seek medical treatment for your injuries.
The next step is to tell your employer about your injuries as soon as possible. South Carolina law requires you to notify your employer within 90 days or risk losing benefits. It’s a good idea to do it sooner and get the process going, especially if you are unable to work because of your injuries.
Exceptions to the 90-day rule include when there is evidence your employer had knowledge of the accident, if you were prevented from telling your employer because of a mental or physical incapacity or due to a third party’s deceit or fraud.
If your injury is a repetitive trauma injury such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, you need to tell your employer within 90 days of the date you found out you have a condition that is eligible for compensation.
When it comes time to filing official paperwork for workers’ compensation, you have a longer period of time: two years. Sometimes an employer may report the accident or deny the claim. In some situations you may feel you haven’t gotten all the benefits you deserve. In situations such as these, you can file your own claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
To file a claim, you submit a Form 50. For a workplace accident involving a death, surviving family members have two years to submit a Form 52 for benefits. These forms have a box near the signature line that states, “I am filing a claim. I am not requesting a hearing at this time.” You should check that box unless you want to have a hearing for your case. Under South Carolina law, you can file this claim by registered mail.
Exceptions to the two-year filing deadline include situations in which the injured person is mentally incompetent or is a minor with no guardian, as well as cases involving repetitive trauma injuries or occupational diseases.
For repetitive trauma injuries such as carpal tunnel surgery or back problems, you must file a claim within two years after you know or should have known that the injury may merit benefits. But you also have to file the claim within seven years from the last time you had exposure to repetitive trauma at work.
For an occupational disease such as asbestos-related mesothelioma, the two-year filing period does not start until you have been diagnosed as “definitively as having” an occupational disease.
If you’ve been injured on the job, contact an experienced workers compensation lawyer as soon as possible to help guide you through the process of making a claim. Lawyers who regularly deal with workers’ comp claims are familiar with the required time limits and can help you avoid missing a critical deadline.
- C. Workers’ Compensation Commission – Information for Employees