A work-related injury can be devastating for an employee and their family. The employee might be out of work for weeks or months to heal from a workplace injury. During that time, the injured worker needs medical care and resources to pay their living expenses.
The South Carolina workers’ compensation system provides benefits for injured workers. However, even though workers’ comp is a no-fault system that should be easy to navigate for injured workers, that is not always the case.
Many times, the workers’ compensation process can be complicated. Insurance providers and employers may unjustly deny claims or underpay benefits.
Our Aiken County workers’ compensation lawyers at Hawk Law Group have over 71 years of combined legal experience. We have diligently represented injured parties for decades and recovered millions in awards and settlements for our clients.
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How Our Aiken County Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Do you feel you are being forced to jump through hoops to receive your workers’ comp benefits? Is the workers’ comp insurance company or your employer stringing you along by making excuses regarding why you have not received your benefits? If so, you are not alone.
Unfortunately, many injured workers have trouble receiving their benefits after a workplace accident. Our South Carolina personal injury attorneys are fierce advocates for our clients. We have extensive experience standing up to large, powerful insurance companies and holding them accountable for their violations of workers’ compensation laws.
Our lawyers have received recognition as “Super Lawyers”, “Rising Stars” and “Top Lawyers”, among other top legal directories such as Justia, and more.
Our legal team at Hawk Law Group is here to help you through the workers’ compensation process in Aiken County, SC by:
- Reviewing your case and providing straightforward legal advice regarding your rights as an injured worker
- Investigating the cause of your injury or illness at work to determine your legal rights
- Gathering evidence proving that your injury or occupational illness is job-related
- Retaining medical specialists and expert witnesses to assist with your case as necessary
- Completing and filing all documents for your workers’ compensation claim
- Defending you against allegations of pre-existing conditions or wrongdoing
- Appealing workers’ comp denials and representing you in court
Our Aiken County workers’ comp lawyers will fight to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve, including negotiating top-dollar lump sum settlements for permanent disabilities.
Contact Hawk Law Group to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about how our Aiken County workers’ compensation attorneys can help you maximize your benefits.
What Is Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law governs workers’ comp claims filed for injured workers. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system that provides benefits for workers injured on the job.
Because workers’ comp is a no-fault system, you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent to recover benefits. However, injured workers do not have the right to sue their employer if workers’ compensation covers an injury.
Do I Qualify for South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Most South Carolina employers are required to have workers’ comp insurance unless:
- They have less than five employees
- The employees of the company have annual payrolls of less than $3,000
- Railroad employees are exempt under FELA (Federal Employers Liability Act)
- Agriculture employees exempt under Farm Labor Laws
You should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance unless an exception applies. The injury must have occurred while you were performing duties in the ordinary course of your employment. You might also be denied workers’ compensation benefits if you intentionally caused your injury or if you were intoxicated or drugged when you were injured.
What Is My Aiken County Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
Injured employees receive very limited benefits under workers’ compensation. They are not compensated for pain and suffering damages.
However, you might be entitled to additional benefits if you sustain a serious job-related injury.
The value of your workers’ comp claim depends on factors such as:
- The type of injury or illness you sustained at work
- The duration of your recovery (length of time it takes to reach maximum medical improvement)
- How much time you missed from work
- Your earning capacity before and after the accident
- Whether you sustained a permanent impairment or disability
The insurance company might underestimate the value of your workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, before accepting a workers’ comp settlement, call our office to discuss your case with an experienced Aiken County workers’ compensation attorney.
What Benefits Can I Receive in a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Aiken County, SC?
You are entitled to receive medical treatment for an injury on the job. Your employer’s insurance provider should pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses.
However, your employer has the right to choose the medical provider. In emergencies, you should go to the nearest emergency room for treatment.
The doctor may or may not be approved by your employer. Therefore, you should always ensure the doctor treating you is approved by your employer, or workers’ comp might not cover the medical bills.
Temporary Disability Benefits
If your work injury prevents you from returning to your job while you recover, you could be entitled to temporary disability benefits.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits are paid when you cannot perform any work after a workplace accident. You receive approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wages as weekly benefits. However, the amount cannot exceed the current maximum weekly compensation rates the state sets.
Some workers are released to return to work with specific restrictions. This type of restriction is often referred to as “light duty.” For example, the worker cannot lift more than 10 pounds or stand for more than 30 minutes.
If your employer can provide work that meets the restrictions, you are required to return to work. However, if you earn less because of the work restrictions, you can claim Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits. These benefits equal two-thirds of the difference between what you earned before the injury and what you earn while on light duty.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Some work-related injuries cause permanent impairments. Workers can receive partial or total disability payments through workers’ compensation.
However, insurance companies often fight permanent disability claims. You might be required to submit to an independent medical examination (IME) to verify that your disability is permanent. The IME may also verify the extent of a partial disability.
Permanent disability benefits for workers’ compensation can be incredibly complicated. If you sustained a permanent impairment from a work injury, you could benefit by contacting our Aiken workers’ compensation lawyers for a free consultation. If you accept a settlement and sign a release, you waive your right to more money for your work injury.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
Workers who cannot return to their previous position because of a job-related injury might qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits can include retraining for a new job or job modification services.
Family members can file a death benefits claim when a loved one dies because of work injuries or illnesses. Death benefits can include reasonable burial expenses and wage benefits for up to 500 weeks.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina?
Workers are required to report injuries and accidents to their employer within 90 days. Failing to report a work injury within 90 days could disqualify you from receiving workers’ comp benefits.
However, it is best to report the injury or accident to your employer immediately. Then, request medical treatment and see a doctor approved by your employer.
There could be exceptions if you did not realize you were injured. For example, repetitive trauma injuries develop over time. Therefore, the employee must notify the employer within 90 days of discovering the injury or 90 days of when the employee could have discovered the injury using reasonable diligence.
The 90-day deadline is to inform your employer of an injury or workplace accident. However, you have up to two years from the injury date to file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Can I File a Lawsuit If I Am Hurt on the Job in Aiken County, SC?
Generally, you cannot sue your employer for an injury covered by workers’ compensation unless the employer intentionally injured you. However, you might have a third-party claim for a workplace accident.
A third-party claim is a personal injury claim against a party who caused your injury. For example, you could sue a driver for causing a car accident while making work deliveries on the clock.
Another example could include a product liability claim against a manufacturer because a defective tool caused your work injury. A premises liability claim against a property owner could be possible if you are injured while working on a customer’s property because of their negligence.
A third-party claim provides additional compensation not available under workers’ comp. You could receive full reimbursement of all lost wages and economic damages. You could also recover compensation for non-economic damages, which are not allowed in a workers’ comp case.
Our Aiken County injury lawyers evaluate each case to determine all causes of action that could result in compensation for our clients. We strive to maximize the recovery amount for each of our clients.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Aiken County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Did you sustain an injury at work or develop an occupational illness? If so, hiring an experienced Aiken County workers’ comp attorney can be essential for your fight for benefits. Call Hawk Law Group now so we can fight for your right to workers’ compensation after a work-related injury.