If your workplace injury prevents you from working, discovering that your workers’ compensation claim was approved can be a huge relief. However, checks for lost wages are rarely issued immediately, often leaving injured workers struggling to pay bills after an injury.

While you will likely receive your check within a few weeks of filing your claim, the process will take longer if complications arise in the filing. Learn the timeline for getting your workers’ comp check and how Joye Law Firm can help you if your checks are delayed.

The Waiting Period for Workers’ Compensation

Some workers’ compensation benefits, like temporary or permanent disability payments, cannot be paid out immediately. South Carolina Code § 42-9-200 prevents injured employees from receiving wage benefits for the first 7 days of their injury.

If the injury is serious enough to keep an employee out from work for more than seven days, they can receive wage benefits beginning from the eight day. However, if the injury is serious enough to keep them out from work for more than 14 days, they can retroactively receive benefits for those first seven days as well.

Medical care benefits are not subject to this waiting period. Section 42-15-60 requires that workers’ comp cover medical treatment for your injury, even during the first seven days. Consult with a workers’ compensation attorney if your employer’s insurance refuses to cover medical treatment during this time, because you are legally eligible for compensation.

When Will I Receive My Workers’ Comp Checks?

Most employees can expect to receive weekly workers’ comp checks within 2-3 weeks of filing their claim. Your first check will cover the wages you lost in the second week after your injury since you usually cannot receive compensation for the first 7 days.

Because workers’ compensation is paid by your employer’s insurance, not your employer themselves, the insurance company must review the claim before beginning payments. This review process can take several weeks, further delaying your check.

What Can Delay Workers’ Comp Checks?

If there are problems with your workers’ comp claim, receiving your workers’ comp checks can take much longer. Here are some of the most common reasons workers’ comp checks are delayed.

Your Employer Refuses to File a Claim

Both you and your employer must file a workers’ comp claim for you to receive payment. Once your employer knows about the accident, they are legally required to report the accident within 10 business days.

If you file a claim before your employer, you will not receive checks until your employer files. The insurance company will deny your claim if your employer does not file within 10 business days.

Your Employer Disputes Your Claim

Your employer has the right to dispute your workers’ comp claim in some circumstances: for example, if they believe your injury did not happen while performing work duties or that it is not serious enough to prevent you from working. Once your employer files a dispute, the insurance company must investigate, which will delay your checks.

Insurance Suspects Your Claim is Not Valid

If insurance has any reason to believe your claim is invalid, they will delay your checks while conducting an investigation. They may suspect that your injury was caused by an ineligible accident such as roughhousing, that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury, or that your injury is a pre-existing condition. This investigation will delay further workers’ comp checks.

What to Do When Your Checks Are Delayed

While you shouldn’t expect to receive your checks immediately, it’s important to receive checks in a timely manner, especially when you aren’t receiving your usual paycheck while you are off work recovering. If you haven’t received your benefits checks after several weeks, schedule a consultation with a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney can work on your behalf to discover the cause of the delay and help you resolve it.

Your attorney can also assist you with other aspects of a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if your claim is denied, they can help you gather evidence of your damages and file an appeal with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Joye Law Firm

Injured employees often don’t have the time or energy to battle with workers’ compensation insurance. Joye Law Firm can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

The attorneys at Joye Law Firm have helped many injured employees recover the delayed workers’ compensation checks and benefits they are owed. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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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