If you’ve been injured on the job, there are a series of steps you must take to make sure that you get the benefits you are entitled to under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.
The law requires you to give notice of your injury and file a claim within certain time limits.
Sometimes potential South Carolina workers’ comp claimants miss out on the money and benefits they deserve simply because they wrongly assume their injuries were not covered.
We have listed and explained seven common mistakes that we have seen people make when handling their comp claims. To avoid these mistakes yourself, call Joye Law Firm and let our workers’ compensation attorneys help you.
Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
Our South Carolina workers’ comp attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you deal with the complex process of securing the benefits you deserve for a workplace injury or occupational disease. Respect, compassion and care are what you can expect from our lawyers and staff from the first time you contact us until your case is resolved. It is one of our firm’s client commitments that we return all our client’s phone calls within 24 hours or one business day.
Since 1968 we have helped injured people like you recover not just the money they are entitled to, but also their lives. Let us help you too. Call Joye Law Firm. You can reach us at (888) 324-3100 or fill out an online form for a free case review.
Joye Law Firm has offices in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Clinton, and Columbia, but our workers’ compensation attorneys are ready to take care of your case anywhere in South Carolina. We represent clients all over our state, including Florence, Richland County, Orangeburg, Columbia, Horry County (including Conway and North Myrtle Beach), North Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Summerville.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law Firm are committed to our clients. With nearly 250 years of combined litigation experience, multiple attorneys at Joye Law Firm have received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and several have been recognized as Super Lawyers.
While every case is different, and past results are in no way intended to guarantee that a similar result can be obtained in another case, past results obtained by a law firm are an indication of the firm’s experience when it comes to workers’ comp cases. For more details about the results obtained for previous Joye Law Firm workers’ compensation clients, please click on the Results tab on our home page.
Mistakes You Should Avoid In Filing Your SC Workers’ Comp Claim
Here are a few errors that people frequently make when it comes to reporting and filing claims for injuries they sustained at work or occupational diseases.
- Not giving your employer notice of your injury. South Carolina law requires you to give notice of your injury to your employer within 90 days of the accident. Failing to do so can result in disqualification from receiving benefits. If your injury stems from repetitive trauma (carpal tunnel syndrome, for example), notice must be given within 90 days of the date you discovered or, using “reasonable diligence,” could have discovered that your injury is compensable. Some claimants get tripped up when they assume their employer knows about their injury because it happened at work. Instead of trusting that your employer is aware of your injury and will do the right thing, make sure you report your injury to your employer in writing as soon as possible. The written report should be as complete and accurate as possible. Although you must give notice to your employer within 90 days, you have two years to file your claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. For occupational diseases (mesothelioma, for example), you must file your claim within two years after being definitively diagnosed with the occupational disease and notified of that diagnosis. Repetitive trauma injury claims must be filed within two years after you knew or should have known that the injury was compensable, but no more than seven years after the date of the “last injurious exposure.” In most cases where the injured worker had a physical job, the date of “last injurious exposure” will be found to be the last date the employee worked for the employer in question.
- Reporting your injury only to your doctor. Your first priority after being injured in a workplace accident is to seek medical help. However, you should not assume that simply telling your doctor or other medical professionals that you were injured at work will satisfy the notice requirement. It is your responsibility — not your doctor’s — to give your employer notice of your workplace injury within 90 days.
- Not reporting your injury because you think you don’t have a claim. You should report any work-related injury even if it happened away from your usual place of work and even if it didn’t result from a single, identifiable traumatic incident. For example, you could be entitled to workers’ comp benefits if you were injured in a car accident while driving for work purposes, even if your normal job duties don’t include driving. Or, perhaps you were injured in a slip and fall accident while attending an offsite meeting or conference. Such injuries could be compensable even though they didn’t happen at your normal place of work. Certain injuries called “repetitive trauma injuries” could also be compensable, even though they were not caused by a one-time accident. A good example of a repetitive trauma injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, a nerve disorder in the hands and wrists that results from repetitive motions like typing. In this case, the injury does not result from a single “ouch!” event, but rather from months or years of repeated workplace activity. Work-related repetitive trauma injuries are compensable and should be reported to avoid losing the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.
- Not reporting your injury because your workplace injury made an existing condition worse. If your workplace injury aggravated a pre-existing condition or impairment, you could still recover workers’ compensation benefits under South Carolina law. The same is true if the pre-existing condition aggravates your workplace injury. Cases involving pre-existing conditions and impairment are more complex than other claims, and it is highly advisable to seek the assistance of a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney like those at Joye Law Firm. In any event, you should not throw away your opportunity to recover the benefits you are entitled to simply by failing to report your injury.
- Not reporting your injury because you didn’t miss any time from work. Some injured workers are able to return to their duties immediately after a workplace accident without missing work. Because South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system is designed to cover more than disabilities that prevent people from working, you can still recover workers’ comp benefits even if you didn’t miss time from work. You should report a work-related injury even if it doesn’t require your absence from work because you could be entitled to benefits to pay for any medical expenses related to the treatment of your injury, including mileage payments for driving to doctor’s offices and pharmacies in certain circumstances. Also, an injury that seems minor at first could result in serious complications later on.
- Not reporting your injury because it didn’t come from an isolated incident. Not all compensable workers’ comp injuries spring from an isolated, identifiable mishap like a fall or a car crash. Two categories of workers’ comp claims arise from conditions that developed slowly over time. These include occupational diseases, such as asbestos-related cancer and silicosis, and repetitive trauma injuries, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Even though it is impossible to point to a single event that caused these workplace injuries, they can still entitle you to workers’ comp benefits. It’s important that you report occupational diseases and repetitive trauma injuries to your employer as soon as possible.
- Not reporting your injury because you think your health insurance will take care of it. People who are fortunate enough to carry private health insurance might be tempted to simply let their insurer pay for their treatment instead of filing a workers’ comp claim. This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, health insurance will not pay disability benefits if your workplace injury prevents you from working. Second, your health insurance likely has a deductible and probably a co-pay, too. It might even have a coverage cap. Workers’ compensation covers 100 percent of medical bills that are related to your workplace injury. Third, health insurance won’t compensate you if you need to travel long distances to see doctors or specialists. Workers’ comp will. Some unscrupulous employers might tell you to use your own insurance instead of filing a comp claim because more comp claims can increase their insurance premiums. It is illegal in South Carolina for an employer to require a qualified employee to pay for any medical treatment necessitated by a job-related injury.
Contact Our South Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured in a South Carolina workplace accident, you can trust our attorneys to work to get you the money and benefits you are entitled to.