Workers' Compensation Claim Filing Process

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Filing a workers’ compensation claim may seem relatively straightforward, but it can be complicated, especially if your employer denies your claim or a dispute arises about your benefits. The initial steps are giving notice to the employer and requesting medical care, and filing a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission if your employer has not reported your claim or your claim has been denied. If you need to appeal a denied claim, having an experienced attorney can make the process go more smoothly.

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Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm can guide you through the process of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits if you have a work-related injury or disease. Respect, compassion, and care are what you can expect from our workers’ compensation lawyers and staff from the first time you contact us until your case is resolved. It is one of our law firm’s standing commitments that we return all phone calls within 24 hours or one business day.

By treating clients with respect and consideration and offering effective legal representation, Joye Law Firm has been in business for more than 50 years. Joye Law Firm has offices in North Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, and Myrtle Beach. We have helped injured workers and their families throughout South Carolina seek workers’ compensation benefits and recover not only compensation but their lives.

You can reach us at 888-324-3100 or fill out an online form for a free case review.

Experience Counts During the Workers’ Comp Process

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Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law Firm are committed to our clients. With more than 150 years of collective litigation experience, multiple attorneys at Joye Law Firm have received a coveted AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highly regarded legal directory. Several of our attorneys have been recognized by the Super Lawyers publication.

While every workers’ compensation case is different and past results are in no way intended to guarantee that a similar result can be obtained in another case, the results obtained by a law firm are indicative of the firm’s experience when it comes to serious injury and wrongful death cases. For more details about the results obtained by previous Joye Law Firm clients, click on the results tab on our home page.

How To File a Workers’ Comp Claim in South Carolina

The first step in the claims process is to give notice of your injury to your employer and request medical care. The S.C. Workers’ Compensation Act requires you to give notice to your employer at the time of the accident or as soon as possible thereafter. However, the law requires you to give notice within 90 days of the accident, unless certain exceptions exist.

These exceptions include situations where it can be shown that the employer had knowledge of the accident, or that you were prevented from giving notice due to physical or mental incapacity or the fraud or deceit of a third party.

In repetitive trauma cases (carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis, for example), you must give your employer notice within 90 days of the date you “discovered or could have discovered by exercising reasonable diligence” that you have a compensable condition.

If your employer accepts your claim, you should start receiving workers’ compensation benefits almost immediately.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim Statistics

A total of 64,205 workplace accidents were reported to the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission in the fiscal year 2018, according to the Commission’s annual report.
The Commission reported a total of 11,287 workers’ compensation claims settlements.
The average cost per claim in 2018 was $13,984.

Receiving a Denial Letter

Employers and insurers often dispute valid injury claims or attempt to pay injured workers less than they deserve.

There are numerous reasons an employer or insurance benefits administrator may deny a workers’ compensation claim. The common reasons include “off-the-job” injuries, pre-existing medical conditions, employment status and lack of timely notification of the injury.

If your workers’ comp claim has been denied or challenged, then you should speak with a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

You may be able to secure workers’ compensation benefits by going through the appeals process. The appeals process is complicated and having the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney can prevent delays.

Appealing a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim in South Carolina

If your employer denies your injury was due to a workplace accident, or you think you didn’t get all of your benefits, then you may file a claim requesting a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

To do so, you must submit either a Form 50 or, if it’s a case involving a death, a Form 52. On these forms, there is a box at the signature line that states, “I am filing a claim. I am not requesting a hearing at this time.”

You should check that box unless you wish to have a hearing set for your case. The statute provides that you may file your claim by registered mail.

You may seek a hearing if your employer disputes that your injury is attributable to your workplace. A hearing is a judicial process. While it is not mandatory, you are well advised to have an attorney representing you at a hearing.

Before a hearing is scheduled, you may be required to try mediation to resolve the dispute over your benefits. Mediation is a meeting between you, your employer’s representative and a certified mediator to try to find a resolution before the issue is scheduled for a hearing. The mediator is neutral and will try to find an acceptable resolution.

If the mediation is unsuccessful, a hearing before a workers’ compensation commissioner may be scheduled in three to four months.

Important Deadlines During the Workers’ Comp Process

There are certain deadlines that you must meet in the workers’ compensation process in South Carolina.

The first deadline is for reporting your injury to your employer. Your injury must be reported to your employer within 90 days of the workplace accident. If you fail to report the injury within 90 days, you may lose your benefits.

Generally speaking, you must file a claim within two years after an accident. If the injured person is mentally incompetent or a minor and had no guardian, trustee or committee, the two-year limit does not apply.

After fatal workplace accidents, the worker’s dependents or parents have two years from the date of death to file a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits.

The deadline for filing a claim works differently with repetitive trauma injuries or occupational diseases. In a repetitive trauma case, you must file within two years of the time when you knew or should have known that the injury was compensable. However, your claim for a repetitive motion injury will be barred if it is filed more than seven years after the last date you were exposed to the source of the repetitive trauma in the workplace. The seven-year limit applies regardless of whether you were aware that your repetitive trauma injury was related to your employment.

If you are claiming workers’ compensation benefits for an occupational disease (asbestos-related mesothelioma, for example), the two-year filing period does not start until you have been diagnosed as having an occupational disease and have been notified of that diagnosis.

How Long Will My Workman Comp Claim Case Take in South Carolina?

Every workers’ compensation case has specific factors that affect how long it will take to settle the case.

The workers’ compensation claims process has several steps including mediation, an informal conference with a workers’ compensation commissioner and a formal hearing process.

South Carolina workers’ compensation commissioners conducted 2,972 informal conferences and 899 hearings for injured workers in the fiscal year 2018, according to the annual report.
A total of 274 decisions by workers’ compensation commissioners were appealed to the full Workers’ Compensation Commission.

If you cannot come to an agreement during the mediation process or informal conference process, a formal hearing will be scheduled in three to four months before a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.

If there are multiple appeals, your claim may take twelves months or longer to settle.

Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims Lawyer

If you are having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury or diagnosis of a work-related disease in South Carolina, contact the attorneys at Joye Law Firm for help. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law Firm help injured workers seek full benefits to recover and rebuild their lives. Joye Law Firm has offices with workers’ compensation attorneys in North Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, and Myrtle Beach and represents injured workers throughout South Carolina.

Call us for a free, no-obligation review of your workers’ compensation claim or use our online case evaluation form.

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