It’s an unfortunate fact that injuries occur every day in workplaces across South Carolina. Most employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if injured on the job. But many workers do not know what to do if an employer or a company’s insurance administrator disputes their claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Joye Law Firm has helped thousands of injured workers pursue workers’ compensation benefits. Based on our experience, we have prepared an introductory video to South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system. Joye Law Firm’s Managing Attorney Ken Harrell discusses the common issues that injured workers may have questions about when seeking workers’ compensation benefits, such medical coverage, disability benefits and how disability checks are calculated.

Our compassionate workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law Firm understand the disruption that a serious injury can cause to you and your family. We consider it a privilege to use our legal skills to help injured workers seek the full benefits needed to rebuild their lives. At Joye Law Firm, our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of everyone who turns to us for help so we hope the video will be informative.

If you have specific questions about your rights to workers’ compensation benefits or about how to appeal a disputed claim, don’t hesitate to contact us at Joye Law Firm. We offer a free consultation to review your job-related injury and explain your legal options. We do not charge a legal fee unless we are successful in obtaining benefits for you.

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act

South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. Injured workers are eligible for medical care and other benefits regardless of how their workplace injury occurred. Workers do not have to prove anyone was at fault to secure benefits. You are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits even if the accident was your fault. You only have to prove that you were an employee performing your job when you got hurt.

Most employers in South Carolina are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers injured on the job. Workers’ compensation benefits are the only option available for most injured employees in South Carolina. The law prohibits an injured employee from suing his or her employer or a co-worker who caused a workplace accident.

Medical Care Benefit

The most important benefit provided by the workers’ compensation system is paid medical care. Injured employees have the right to full medical coverage for a work-related injury. There is no limit on the amount of medical care you can receive for a work injury, as long as the care is reasonable and necessary for your recovery.

Another benefit is there is no co-payment or deductible that the injured worker has to pay out of pocket. Workers’ compensation is required to pay all of the authorized medical costs including the costs of the medications you are prescribed. You should not have to pay any co-payment or have any out-of-pocket costs for the treatment of a work-related injury or illness, once your workers’ compensation claim is accepted by the insurance administrator.

The insurance administrator does have a right in South Carolina to select the doctors that provide your medical care for on-the-job injuries. To ensure that your treatment costs are covered, you need to go to the doctor chosen by the insurer for treatment.

You have the right to be reimbursed for your travel costs to receive medical treatment including the mileage to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. It is important to keep track of your mileage.

Disability Benefit Payment

The second important benefit is a weekly check if you are disabled from your injury and out of work for a period of time. If you are out of work for a prolonged period of time, this check will become your paycheck. You will be paid an amount equal to two-thirds of the average weekly gross wages that you earned during the 12-month period prior to your injury.

Ken Harrell offers the example of a worker who earns $26,000 a year, which equates to $500 average weekly wage. That worker’s disability check would be $333 a week, which is two-thirds of $500. You don’t pay any taxes on workers’ compensation benefits so the disability checks are roughly equal to what your check would be after taxes and Social Security are taken out.

The weekly disability benefits are typically paid until you return to work or until the doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement. In other words, you have recovered as much as possible.

Permanent Impairments and Disabilities

An injured worker who is left with a permanent impairment or disability as a result of an on-the-job accident may be eligible for a workers’ compensation settlement. A disability is an effect that an injury has on a worker’s ability to earn a living. Some impairments limit the use of a particular body part but are not severe enough to interfere with a worker’s ability to perform work.

In approximately two-thirds of the cases that Joye Law handles, our clients receive a recovery based on a degree of impairment. It is important to understand that there is a lot of leeway for your workers’ compensation attorney at Joye Law to negotiate with the insurer regarding your assigned impairment rating and how much you should receive as a settlement. Negotiating a better impairment rating is one of the ways we can help clients in these cases. It is important to have one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers handling your claim.

We have tried to briefly highlight some of the points from the video overview. The most important point to emphasize is that the workers’ compensation appeals process is complex, and you are well-advised to seek the guidance of a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney if your claim has been disputed or denied. Joye Law Firm has law offices in North Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, and Myrtle Beach and handles workers’ comp cases throughout South Carolina.

If you are unsure whether you should appeal a denied claim, contact Joye Law Firm for a no-obligation review of your workplace injury. There is no charge for the initial consultation. You can trust the attorneys at Joye Law Firm to make every effort to get you all the workers’ compensation benefits provide by law.