On-the-job work injuries happen far more frequently than you might have expected. Some types of industries are more dangerous to work in than others, but nearly any kind of job has the potential to cause catastrophic or life-threatening injuries and damages.
Thankfully, South Carolina requires nearly every employer to provide their employees with workers’ compensation protection coverage. However, many claimants make mistakes when filing for workers’ compensation in SC. With help from an experienced workers’ comp attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm, you can avoid some of these common mistakes and protect your right to compensation and benefits.
Failure to Report the Accident or Injury in Time
One of the top mistakes work injury victims make is failing to report their accident or injury to their employer before time runs out. Under South Carolina workers’ compensation laws, you have a maximum of 90 days to notify your employer of your injury unless extenuating circumstances apply.
As soon as possible after the accident, it is critical to file an incident report, ideally in writing. This will provide you with valuable supporting evidence to prove how your accident occurred and can include information you might not remember later on.
If you do not report the accident or injury to your employer before 90 days have passed, you may lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits. You should be sure to notify your employer of your accident and injuries in writing to create a paper trail of evidence that can be used to help you if your employer refuses to file your workers’ compensation claim or the insurance company denies you the benefit you deserve.
Many work injury victims have concerns that reporting the incident will lead to retaliatory action, such as the motion or firing. However, South Carolina employment laws protect you from retaliation. These laws provide for sanctions against your employer should they discourage you from pursuing the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.
Exaggerating or Lying About Former Injuries or Pre-Existing Conditions
You should never exaggerate or lie about previous injuries or pre-existing conditions. If you have previously filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits or have been involved in any other type of accident, such as a slip and fall, car accident, truck accident, or another type of incident, this information will be uncovered as the insurance company investigates your claim.
Your past medical history could have an impact on the outcome of your case. Just because you have a previous injury or pre-existing condition does not mean that you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
If these conditions were exacerbated or worsened due to your work accident, you have every right to seek compensation for your losses and financial support while you recuperate. However, if you fail to notify the insurance company of your pre-existing condition or former injuries, it is likely they will accuse you of fraud and deny your application.
Failure to Report Every Injury
Depending on the type of work accident you were involved in, you may have suffered multiple bodily injuries. It is essential to report all injuries to your employer and the insurance company. Otherwise, you may find it challenging to get the insurance company to cover medical expenses and treatment related to the injuries you did not disclose.
For example, suppose you were involved in a slip-and-fall accident at work and suffered back injuries but are also experiencing pain in your arms or legs. You should be sure to disclose this to your treating physician, employer, and the insurance company.
You can expect the insurance company to look for every opportunity to reduce their obligations. This means if you seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic brain injury at work, but you did not disclose this condition as part of your claim, the insurance company may attempt to deny coverage for the PTSD treatment and care.
Attempting to Settle Your Workers’ Comp Case in SC on Your Own
Another significant mistake work injury victims make is attempting to settle their cases on their own. You may not want to hire an attorney to take on your case or have concerns that you will not be able to afford the costs.
However, most workers’ comp attorneys work for their clients on contingency, which means you do not need to pay anything out of your own pocket to hire a lawyer. They will not get paid if they do not win your case, so there is little risk to you. If you do not have a personal injury attorney on your side, you risk being taken advantage of by the insurance company and potentially your employer.
Failure to Obtain Necessary Medical Documentation
Evidence is everything in a workers’ compensation claim. You need sufficient evidence to prove your injuries were caused within the scope of your employment or that your injuries are significant enough that you need to take time off work. Otherwise, the insurance company will likely deny your claim.
It is also important to note that if you are offered conditional employment on a light duty or modified responsibility basis, you are required to accept it. If you refuse, your workers’ compensation benefits could be terminated. Failure to provide sufficient medical documentation is one of the top reasons for workers’ comp claim denials.
By providing the insurance company with these medical records and evidence upfront, you could avoid the hassles of denial and appeal.
Connect with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in South Carolina Today
Navigating the workers’ compensation claims process can be complex while you are still healing from your injuries and receiving medical treatment. Make sure you have a knowledgeable and experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm by your side advocating for your interests.
This way, you can avoid most of the previously mentioned mistakes and get your claim approved in a timely manner. Learn more about what is next for your workers’ compensation claim or appeal when you contact us for a free consultation. You can reach us through our online contact form or phone to start working on your case as soon as today.