why you need a lawyer to receive workers' comp benefits

Under South Carolina law, if you work from an employer as an employee any injury claim you have is subject to South Carolina Workers’ Compensation law. South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation law provides certain benefits for employees, which include medical payments and future compensation for any permanent impairment or disability.

However, recovering these benefits without representation can become a difficult task. Filing a workers compensation claim is very complex and should be completed by an experienced workers compensation attorney who can guide you through the process, ensure that your claim is filed correctly on time, so your rights are protected.

Here Are Six Reasons You Should Get Help From a Lawyer When Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim:

Avoiding common mistakes

In my experience, people find it complicated to complete and file a workers’ compensation claim after being injured at work. The last thing you should be worried about is trying to handle a case yourself. I would often have to mention to clients that the insurance company and the employer oftentimes are looking out for their best interest.

Therefore, filing a claim requires following a number of rules, making it easy to make mistakes. Experienced attorneys deal with the workers’ compensation bureaucracy every day. They know the system, and they can help eliminate errors that could put your claim in jeopardy.

Determining if you have a valid claim

In order to protect your rights to compensation, the injured party must file a workers’ compensation claim. Most people come up with reasons for why they should not file a claim before actually knowing if they have a valid claim.

In my experience many people make the common mistake of not filing a workers’ comp claim for the following reasons: they were injured at work, reported the injury, and continued to go to work, or because the injury made an existing condition worse, or because they are sacred, if they file a claim, they might lose their job.

Please do not make decision like these on your own. It is a workers’ comp attorneys’ job to review your situation with the upmost skill and help you determine whether you have a valid claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Evidence to support a valid claim

man filling workers compensation formYour employer and the insurance company may challenge your workers’ comp claim. For example, your employer may question the severity of your injury.

A lawyer can help by seeking out an independent doctor so a thorough examination can be done to determine the true extent of your injuries.

Another example, your employer may claim that your injury did not take place during work, or within the scope of employment. A lawyer can provide contradictory evidence to disprove this claim.

Claim getting denied

A denied claim is one in which the insurance company or employer does not accept or believe that they have a responsibility to provide compensation for your injury or conditions. There are multiple reasons for why a workers’ comp claim can be denied.

That is why I would advise retaining an attorney that will work by your side to reduce the chance of rejection. If your claim has already been denied, you should fight the insurance company with the help of a lawyer. A lawyer can determine if the appropriate time limits have been applied and can determine if your claim meets one of the exceptions.

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits

Certain injuries may leave you unable to work due to disabling medical condition or a long-term injury. In these situations, you may be entitled to SSD benefits. A seasoned attorney can make sure your workers’ comp claim does not interfere with your eligibility in receiving full SSD benefits.

Third-party claim

Under South Carolina law, an employee cannot sue their employer for being injured while performing a job assignment. A workers’ comp claim is the only venue for compensation by the employer for the work-related injury.

However, South Carolina does allow injured people to bring a lawsuit if a third-party’s negligence contributed to the injury. For example, if you are working on the highway and a vehicle speeds through the construction zone and accidentally hits you, the driver is a third-party and maybe be liable for your injury.

In this case, you can seek compensation through the third-party’s negligence and a workers’ comp claim. Therefore, you should take advantage of having an experience attorney to evaluate and investigate all potential avenues for recovery related to your on-job injury.

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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