If you have been injured on the job, in most cases, you will be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under South Carolina law. However, recovering the benefits you deserve is usually not so simple in practice. Workers’ comp cases are often complicated, with a host of legal issues.

A qualified and experienced workers’ compensation attorney can guide you through the process, increasing your chances of making a successful claim and recovering the money you need and are entitled to under the law.

Here are seven reasons you should get help from a lawyer when making a workers’ compensation claim:

  1. A lawyer can help you avoid common mistakes. Filing for workers’ compensation can be complicated. There are a number of rules to follow, making it easy to make mistakes when you file a claim. Experienced attorneys deal with the workers’ compensation bureaucracy every day. They know the system, and they can help make sure you don’t make errors that could put your claim in jeopardy.
  2. A lawyer can help you determine if you really have a claim. Some injured people make the mistake of not filing for workers’ comp because they think they don’t have a claim, or they may not report an injury because they didn’t miss time from work. Others fail to make a claim because the injury only made an existing condition worse, the injury did not come from an isolated incident or because they think their health insurance will take care of it. Don’t make decisions like these on your own. A qualified attorney can review your situation and help you determine whether you have a valid claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
  3. A lawyer can help you gather evidence to support your claim. Employers and their insurance companies may contest a workers’ compensation claim. For example, your employer may say that your injury is not as severe as you say it is. A lawyer can help you seek an independent medical exam to determine the true extent of your injuries. An employer may claim that your accident did not happen within the course and scope of your employment. An attorney can present evidence to refute this claim.
  4. Your claim could get denied. There are a number of reasons why a workers’ compensation claim could be denied. Having an attorney by your side can greatly reduce the chance of rejection. If your claim has already been denied, it’s crucial that you speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer right away to help you through South Carolina’s multiple stages of appeals, which include strict deadlines and the need for persuasive evidence for a successful reversal of the denial.
  5. You may need to secure funds for future medical care. Setting up ongoing medical coverage is complicated. When settling a claim, most workers’ compensation insurers will set up a small fund for future medical expenses, with the expectation that Medicare will cover most future medical expenses, or set up a larger set-aside account for bigger workers’ compensation claims. In South Carolina, an attorney may advise you to request a hearing before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, which can decide your claim and protect your right to funds to pay for ongoing medical treatment.
  6. You may need to protect Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If you are unable to work after your injury due to a disabling medical condition or long-term injury, you may be entitled to SSD benefits, and your settlement must be set up differently. An experienced attorney can make sure your workers’ compensation settlement is created in a way that does not put your eligibility for full SSD benefits at risk.
  7. Your case may be eligible for a third-party claim. While workers’ compensation is the only legal remedy against your employer for an on-the-job injury in almost all cases, South Carolina does allow injured people to bring a lawsuit if a third-party’s negligence contributed to the injury. For example, if you were hurt by a defective piece of machinery at work, you may be entitled to bring a product liability claim against the company that made the machine. An experienced attorney can evaluate your case and investigate all potential avenues for recovery related to your on-the 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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