If you have been injured at work in South Carolina, you are likely entitled to financial protection through the workers’ compensation system. This system allows injured workers to recover money for medical expenses, lost wages and disability benefits, even if your employer didn’t do anything to cause the workplace accident that resulted in the injury.
On-the-job injuries are common – nearly 2.9 million were reported in a single recent year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These injuries range from relatively minor sprains and strains to more serious health issues.
The laws for claiming and collecting workers’ compensation in South Carolina are complex and require the injured worker to follow certain rules and meet strict deadlines. It is best to get help from a qualified lawyer to help ensure you get all the benefits you deserve.
If you have been injured on the job, here are the six things you should do:
1. Get medical help.
Going to the doctor should always be your first priority after a workplace accident. You will also need medical records to document your injury. Even if you think your injury doesn’t need medical attention, go anyway. Problems can creep up later on, or a doctor may notice something you haven’t yet.
2. Tell your doctor everything about your accident and injury.
Your doctor wants to take care of you and make you better. But the doctor can’t do that if you don’t detail all your symptoms and how the workplace accident occurred. If your workplace injury aggravated a pre-existing condition, make sure to tell the doctor about the prior condition. Having a pre-existing condition does not mean you can’t qualify for workers’ compensation.
3. Notify your supervisor.
It’s important to tell your supervisor as soon as possible about the accident and how it happened. Your supervisor, especially if he or she is on duty when you are injured, needs to know what happened and it’s important for reporting the incident up the chain of command.
4. Get help from a qualified workplace injury lawyer.
Workers’ compensation laws are complex and the filing process has important deadlines. Consulting with a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney will help you through the process and make sure all documents are complete and submitted in a timely manner so you can get all of the compensation you deserve under the law.
5. File an incident report with your employer.
You should never assume the doctor or someone else will tell your employer about your injury. South Carolina law requires you to give your employer notice of the injury within 90 days of the accident. This written report should be as accurate and complete as possible. A qualified attorney can help make sure you file a timely, complete report.
6. Keep appointments and follow doctor’s orders.
Under workers’ compensation laws, your employer typically has the right to select your treating doctor. The doctor may order certain operations, medications or other treatments. The doctor may also order a reduced work schedule or other changes. It’s an important part of the process to follow all of the doctors’ orders. If you disagree with the treatment plan, you may be able to seek a second opinion. Once a course of treatment is agreed upon, you should follow through with the steps you are supposed to take, including taking all medications and going to all follow-up appointments.