I Got Hurt at Work. Who Do I Tell and When?

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If you have been injured on the job in South Carolina, you likely have a viable claim for workers’ compensation benefits. But you have to follow a few rules to be able to collect on your claim, including who to tell about your injury and when.

It’s extremely important that you report any injuries to your employer immediately. If your employer does not know you were injured, you may not be able to receive benefits. It’s also important so you can get medical treatment and start the workers’ compensation process.

Under South Carolina law, you have 90 days from the time of the accident to report it to your employer in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you wait too long, you might not be eligible for benefits.

Reporting the accident is not the same as filing for workers’ comp benefits. Although you have a 90-day deadline to report the injury, you have up to two years to file the actual claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Exceptions to the above rules include when you can show the employer had knowledge of the accident, or that you were prevented from giving notice due to physical or mental incapacity or the fraud or deceit of a third party.

For cases involving a repetitive injury such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, the law says you have to give your employer notice within 90 days of the date you “discovered or could have discovered by exercising reasonable diligence” that you have the condition.

When you report the injury to your employer, you also need to request medical treatment. You are entitled to any treatment necessary to lessen your disability. Under workers’ compensation laws, your employer gets to choose the doctor. You should tell the doctor that you are covered by workers’ compensation.

Typically, your employer will file the claim. But if your employer doesn’t, you can file the claim personally with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. To do this, you should submit a Form 50 by registered mail, or a Form 52 if the case involves a death. These forms have a signature line that allows you to decide if you would like to request a hearing along with submitting the claim.

You can also choose to file the claim personally if your employer denies that you were injured or you don’t think you received all of your benefits.

In cases of repetitive trauma or occupational diseases, you have two years from the time you knew or should have known the injury is subject to compensation, or the date of diagnosis in the case of an occupational disease. But the claim must also be made within seven years of the “last date of injurious exposure.”

With the strict deadlines and complex processes, it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you receive all of the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve.

Sources:

  • C. Workers’ Compensation Commission – Information for Employees/Injured Workers/Claimants
  • C. Workers’ Compensation Commission –Workers’ Compensation Compliance Poster