Imagine this. You are a hard worker. You pride yourself in not just getting the job done, but getting it done right. Through no fault of your own one day you suffer an injury on the job. Maybe it’s a minor injury, such as a cut or bruise. But what if it’s not? What if you or a loved one suffers a severe, debilitating injury, such as the loss of a limb? Or something in between?
Being injured on the job creates a need for medical care for the injury. But it goes beyond that. A work injury can result in lost time from work and a loss of wages, making it difficult or impossible to pay the bills. If the injury is severe enough, you may not be able to work in your chosen field anymore.
The idea of workers' compensation came into being in the early 20th century. The concept is that employers pay for occupational injuries regardless of whose fault is the accident is or how the injury occurred. By assuming these costs up front employers don't become engaged in law suits from employees required to prove the company's negligence in order to be compensated for medical treatment, disability, and lost wages from work.
If you are injured on the job, you are responsible for reporting the injury to your employer within 90 days of the accident. Although you can report the injury to your employer or supervisor verbally, it is best to report the injury in writing, just in case you need to provide proof later on. It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure you receive medical attention and to notify the insurance company of the injury. In turn, the insurance company notifies the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC).
In accordance with South Carolina law, businesses with four or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. It is through this insurance that you receive medical care and reimbursement for lost wages. Unfortunately it isn’t always as simple as it seems.
Your employer, and its insurance company, will want to keep their costs to a minimum. They do this by requiring you to visit the doctor used by your employer's insurance company. You must be able to prove the wages that you would have made if you had not suffered the injury.
Oftentimes, regardless of how good your relationship was with your employer prior to the accident, conflicts arise. You want the medical treatment and lost wages that you are entitled to.
In order to protect your rights in a workers’ compensation situation, it is very important to speak with a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer soon after the accident. Initial consultations are usually free and most workers’ compensation attorneys handle work injury cases on a contingency fee agreement, so there are no out of pocket costs to you.
For more information on workers' compensation:
Read Our Most Frequently Asked Workers' Compensation Questions
Find Out The Steps To Take After An On-The-Job Injury
View Workers' Compensation Cases in the News