Most workers in Columbia have a general awareness of a workers’ compensation. If you are injured in an accident while on the job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to seek benefits. However, many Columbia workers do not realize that they are also entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for long-term injuries. These type of injuries are sometimes referred to as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). Put simply, they typically occur slowly over time as a result of doing a similar task over and over again. Still, some long-term injuries can be very serious. They have the potential to be completely debilitating. This is especially a major issue when it comes to back injuries. Many back injuries occur gradually and then lead to severe complications, including spinal cord damage. If you have suffered long-term back damage because of your job, you deserve fair workers’ compensation benefits. However, recovering benefits in this type of case can be especially challenging. It is imperative that victims of long-term work injuries contact an experienced Columbia workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.

Long-Term Back Injuries and South Carolina Workers’ Compensation

Under South Carolina workers’ compensation law, not every workplace injury is entitled to benefits. Some of the exclusions appear to be relatively common sense. For example, an employee cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits if it is discovered that they intentionally injured themselves while on the job. However, in some cases, South Carolina employers have sought to exclude coverage for wholly legitimate injuries. This is particularly a problem when it comes to long-term injuries. In South Carolina, you may only receive workers’ compensation benefits if your injury occurred as a result of an ‘accident’. For many years, employers tried to narrow the scope of what type of injuries qualify as an accident. For example, some employers have argued that a long-term injury, caused by repetitive stress, must be excluded from coverage. Under that interpretation, employers would try to argue that a worker who suffered debilitating back damage due to the fact that he spent 30 years lifting heavy boxes at a Columbia manufacturing plant should not receive any benefits. Fortunately, the Supreme Court of South Carolina took a look at this interpretation in the case of Pee v. AVM, Inc. In that case a South Carolina woman named Miriam Pee developed carpal tunnel syndrome due to the frequent and repeated use of her hands while she was on the job. Her employer challenged her workers’ compensation award on the grounds that her injury was not sustained as a result of an accident. In the end, the Supreme Court came down on the side of the worker. They awarded Miriam Pee her rightful workers’ compensation benefits. In doing so, the court noted that a long-term injury is covered as long as it is an ‘unexpected’ occurrence. There is no requirement in South Carolina that an injury must be caused by a single distinct accident. Injuries sustained in a gradual manner deserve compensation too.

Establishing a Link Between Your Spinal Cord Injury and Your Job

However, while that Supreme Court decision was a good news for injured workers, that does not mean that these types of claims are easy. Unfortunately, victims of long-term work injuries still face a challenging path towards recovery of benefits. The main issue is relatively straightforward: victims must be able to prove that their injury was actually sustained at work in order to receive workers’ compensation. That seems fair enough, right? In reality, the issue is much more complicated than that. The simple fact of the matter is that it is inherently difficult to prove the root cause of many long-term injuries. Victims of long-term workplace back injuries must counteract this by taking swift action. If you have suffered spinal cord damage, or any other long-term workplace back injury, you need to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Your lawyer can help you gather and assemble the key medical evidence that you need to establish the necessary causation between your job and your injury.

What Type Compensation is Available for Long-Term Workplace Spinal Cord Damage?

In South Carolina, injured workers are entitled to a wide variety of a benefits. As a victim of long-term workplace spinal cord damage, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical treatment: It is no secret that medical bills can add up fast. You may be able to receive benefits for all of your necessary medical treatment. This includes hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, needed medical equipment and required medications.
  • Lost income: In the event that you sustained a long-term back injury in Columbia, and you are going to be out of work for the time being, you may be able to seek recovery for lost income. This income, known as temporary total disability (TTD), is usually paid at two thirds of a worker’s previous salary.
  • Permanent Disability: Finally, if your injury will reasonably prevent you from returning to work ever again, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits. For many injuries, permanent disability benefits will be paid for up to 500 weeks. However, in some cases, such as those involving paralysis, some workers have been awarded lifetime benefits. If your long-term work injury caused severe spinal cord damage, it is critical that you consult with a lawyer who can help you recover the fair benefits that you deserve.

An Experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help

Anyone who has ever had a back injury knows just how debilitating they can be. Victims of long-term workplace back damage deserve full and fair workers’ compensation benefits.

The experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at the Joye Law Firm are standing by, ready to help. Our team has assisted many injured workers, and we have extensive experience dealing with claims involving long-term injuries. If you have suffered a long-term workplace spine injury, or any other serious injury while on the job, please contact our Columbia office today (803) 771-3100 to schedule a free review of your claim.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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