Most people don’t think about what might happen if they get injured on the job, and they certainly don’t think about their essential workers’ comp benefits being denied after such an event. However, this scary situation is the reality for many South Carolinians, including a recent Joye Law Firm client, represented by Myrtle Beach workers’ comp attorney, Matt King with assistance from Case Manager, Kayla Ashley. Injured workers are entitled to benefits under South Carolina law and an experienced workers’ comp attorney can fight on your behalf to get the benefits you deserve, just like Matt did in this case.
Executive Chef at Myrtle Beach Resort is Injured on the Job
On a busy November day in the kitchen at a popular Myrtle Beach resort, the Executive Chef was cooking for guests when he slipped and fell on the kitchen floor. While falls happen all the time in industrial kitchens, this one was different. The chef immediately knew he seriously was hurt. The next day, he went to a local urgent care was diagnosed with lumbar radiculopathy. He returned to urgent care a little over a week later, and the practitioner noted he had also sprained ligaments in his lumbar spine, suffered sciatic nerve damage, and had injuries in his right shoulder/arm. Because of the extent of his injuries, he was also seen by an orthopedic clinic. The specialist confirmed, to a reasonable medical degree of certainty, that the incident was the reason for his injuries, and was told that he should not return to work until his condition improved.
Denied Benefits Based on a Coworker’s Statement
Before the chef contacted Joye Law Firm, he applied for workers’ comp benefits on his own. Unfortunately, his claim was denied. The chef remained out of work for two months before hiring our firm to represent him. His denial stemmed from another employee making a statement that the chef had complained about back issues prior to the incident. Attorney King began to investigate and deposed witnesses to uncover the truth. During depositions with the staff member who made the statement about the client’s prior back complaints and their managerial staff, no one could say that Matt’s client was unable to do his job prior to this incident, making the claim about a preexisting condition null and void.
Favorable Settlement Provides the Means to Move Forward
Through Atty. King’s skilled negotiation, the workers’ comp insurance company agreed to a settlement of $150,000. This amount covered all benefits that were initially denied as well as future lost wages and medical care since the client is still unable to go back to his previous position. “We were able to reach an appropriate settlement without having to do a workers’ comp hearing, but if we had a hearing, I am confident he would have gotten his back pay benefits,” explains King. He continues, “Avoiding a hearing allowed my client to receive a lump sum settlement which means he will be able to choose his own doctors to continue his treatment, which was important to him.” If an injured worker is receiving weekly benefits through South Carolina’s workers’ compensation program they are required to see doctors selected by the workers’ compensation commission. While these doctors are reputable, some clients would prefer to use their own doctors.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Assistance Quickly After a Work Injury
When it comes to applying for workers’ compensation benefits, it is pertinent to seek the assistance of an experienced workers’ comp lawyer. The South Carolina workers’ compensation system is complicated. Not taking the correct steps can make it very difficult to get the benefits an injured worker is owed. “A lot of people don’t think they need an attorney, they think they can do it on their own,” says King. “Often we have clients contact us 6 months to a year after the injury and we end up having to work backward and try to fix things we could have helped with earlier on.”
When asked what King wants people to know about the workers’ comp system, he had this to say. “The process has nothing to do with the employer, and everything to do with the employer’s workers comp insurance company. Clients don’t need to take offense to what’s being said because it has nothing to do with their work as an employee, most of the time the employer has no idea what is going on.”
Grateful Clients Make Our Day
This particular client was very anxious about the process, but Atty. King and Case Manager Ashley worked hard to quell his fears. When a client is represented by Joye Law Firm, they gain access to a law firm with over 55 years of experience. To help our clients understand the process, we have created educational videos and keep them updated on their case throughout the process. We also encourage our clients to reach out with any and all questions. After all, these matters affect their lives in significant ways, and it is our duty to guide them through the process while helping them obtain the most favorable outcome. This client wrote a very thoughtful letter and delivered printed copies in folders to our staff. We have included a photocopy of the letter below with the client’s personal information redacted: