Filing a workers’ compensation claim can initially seem straightforward, especially with so many online resources available. Many injured South Carolina workers start their claim without the guidance of an attorney, hoping to handle everything on their own.

Regardless of the status of your claim, whether there are issues or not, hiring an attorney will put you in the best position to maximize your medical and monetary benefits.

Knowing when you can hire a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney and how they can help at different stages of your claim can help you receive the full benefits you are entitled to as an injured worker.

When Can You Hire an Attorney After a Work Injury?

Hiring a lawyer at the onset of the claims process—immediately after your injury—ensures your best chance of getting approved and receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. However, an attorney’s help is beneficial during the entire process and you can hire an attorney at any stage of your claim.

Although the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission offers online resources allowing you to file without legal representation, having an attorney helps protect your rights as an injured worker. They can guide you through the process and ensure you report the injury within 90 days of the accident, increasing your chances of quickly securing the benefits you deserve.

What Can an Attorney Do for Your Workers’ Comp Claim?

Navigating the intricacies of a workers’ compensation claim can become challenging, regardless of the stage you’re at in the process. Whether you’re just starting or deep into the proceedings, hiring an attorney offers legal clarity, strategy, and advocacy.

Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you with the following aspects of your workers’ compensation claim:

  • Compiling and reviewing existing documents: An attorney can help you gather all necessary documents, or if you’ve already filed, review all your submitted documents to ensure accuracy and comprehensiveness. This reduces the chances of errors or possible denial.
  • Updating your claim: As situations evolve or if new medical information comes to light, your lawyer can modify your claim documents to ensure they remain current and reflect your injuries.
  • Handling all communications: Instead of leaving you to deal directly with the workers’ compensation board, your attorney will manage all interactions, ensuring all correspondence is timely, relevant, and in your best interest.
  • Assisting with appeals: If your initial claim faces rejection or you believe the benefits awarded are insufficient, a lawyer can guide you through the appeals process. They can safeguard your rights and present your case effectively.
  • Negotiating for maxiumum benefits: If your case requires negotiations for benefits or a settlement, your attorney can use their expertise to negotiate  an outcome that is not only fair, but potentially maximizes the benefits you are entitled to.
  • Ensuring compliance: Several strict rules and deadlines govern workers’ comp claims. Your attorney can ensure that all actions related to your claim comply with these regulations, reducing the risk of unnecessary delays or denials.

Are There Any Situations Where a Workers’ Comp Attorney is Required?

There are certain scenarios where your workers’ compensation claim can require the representation of an attorney. While it’s not mandatory to have representation, a skilled attorney who understands workplace injury law can help in the following complex circumstances:

  • Employer’s lack of insurance: If your employer operates in South Carolina and has four or more employees, they must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer illegally operates without workers’ compensation insurance, your attorney can help you explore other avenues of compensation, such as a personal injury claim.
  • Third-party involvement: If your workplace injury was caused by someone who doesn’t work for your employer, like a vendor, contractor, or another third party, your claim might involve more than just workers’ comp. An attorney can advise you on potential lawsuits or third-party claims.
  • Disputes over treatment or benefits: If there’s disagreement over the necessary treatments or the benefits you should receive, an attorney can advocate on your behalf to ensure you get the proper care and compensation. This includes advocating for you to receive a second medical opinion.

 

Did I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in the First Place?

Truth be told, not all work injuries rise to the level of needing a lawyer. Most injured workers who’ve suffered a minor injury will have a pretty straightforward workers’ compensation process, and likely won’t need an attorney. However, anyone facing a longer recovery process, possible surgery, time away from work, or pushback from their employer or their employer’s insurance provider, will almost certainly need an attorney involved to get their workers’ compensation claim resolved fairly.

 

Can I Change Attorneys During My Workers’ Comp Claim Process?

If you have already hired an attorney and begun the claims process but you are not happy with the representation you are receiving, you can switch attorneys. However, under South Carolina Judicial Branch Laws ‘In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law or a court order.’ Meaning that you must have your existing attorney release you before another attorney can discuss your case. If you are considering seeking a new attorney during your workers’ comp case, sit down and discuss your concerns with your attorney before requesting a release.

Get the Representation You Need for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Facing the complexities of a workers’ compensation claim doesn’t mean you have to handle your claim by yourself. At Joye Law Firm, our knowledgeable legal team is equipped to guide you through every aspect of your claim, protect your rights, and help you receive maximum benefits.

If you suffer a workplace injury, contact Joye Law Firm as soon as possible for a free consultation. We will streamline your claim and help you get restitution for your injuries.

About the Author

I primarily practice in workers’ compensation law. That is about 85 percent of my cases. Over the past year, I’ve also been doing more personal injury. What I’ve taken from my clients is how to be a better listener so that I better understand their life and their situation. Then I use that information to represent each client more effectively.

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