Back injuries are among the most commonly occurring workplace injuries. In fact, according to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 180,000 American workers miss time on the job each year due to a back injury. This includes thousands of injured workers throughout the state of South Carolina and many within the Charleston metro area. While back injuries occur in a variety of different ways, the majority of them happen as a result of lifting heavy objects. Workers in a number of different professions are forced to lift large boxes every day. From manufacturing to the healthcare industry, many workers put their backs through considerable amounts of stress. If you have suffered a lifting-related back injury while at work, you can hold your employer liable. More specifically, you may be able eligible to receive South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits.

Does Your Back Injury Qualify for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina, you must be able to prove that your injury actually occurred while you were on the job. While this sounds obvious and straightforward enough, in many back injury cases, it turns out to be far more complicated than it initially appears. South Carolina uses the ‘course and scope of employment’ standard to assess the root cause of workplace injuries. As long as your back injury developed within the course and scope of your employment, you should be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. However, back injury claims can be challenging because many back injuries develop slowly over time and are merely aggravated by that one last lift of a box. Unfortunately, this leads some Charleston employers to try to deflect blame for the injury. They may try to shift the blame to an out-of-work activity. It is imperative that you protect your legal rights as a worker.

Protecting Your Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The best way to ensure that you will actually be able to recover South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits is to avoid making any mistakes during the claims process. Specifically, after suffering a workplace back injury, you should be sure that you do the following three things:

  • Seek professional medical attention: Back injuries typically do not get better on their own. Please seek immediate medical assistance after suffering a back strain. Not only will this help to ensure that you make a full recovery, but it is also important for your future legal claim. Without medical documentation, you may not be able to recovery the benefits you rightfully deserve.
  • Report your injury: Under South Carolina law, you must report your work injury to your Charleston employer within 90 days of the accident. The failure to do so could cost you your legal rights. Do not wait; take action.
  • Call an attorney: Finally, you should get your claim into the hands of an experienced Charleston workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Workers’ compensation claims are complicated and you do should not go through the process alone.

What Benefits are Available for a Workplace Back Injury?

Medical Expenses

Above all else, you are entitled to receive compensation for the full extent of your required medical treatment. South Carolina workers’ compensation insurance protects Charleston employees against any medical costs that are needed for an injury that occurs on the job. This includes any required rehabilitation expenses.

Partial Lost Wages Recovery

Back injuries can be extremely debilitating. Not only will you likely require extensive and costly medical treatment, but you may also be forced to miss a significant amount of time on the job. You are entitled to recover compensation for any lost time act work. In South Carolina, workers’ compensation will typically pay you two thirds of your average weekly wage for the previous year. Though, there is also a maximum weekly award limit of $784.03 (2016).

Long-Term Disability

Finally, in some limited back injury cases, you may be able to recover long-term disability benefits. This will generally only occur in a total disability case. While many back injuries fall short of that standard, you may have a total disability if you developed serious spinal cord damage as a result of your on-the-job back injury. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you must be represented by a qualified attorney.

Were You Injured on the Job in Charleston?

We can help. At Joye Law Firm, our Charleston workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience helping injured employees obtain full and fair benefits. If you injured your back on the job, please contact our Charleston office today at (877) 721-5638. Our compassionate team of professionals will review your claim free of charge, with no further obligations.

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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