Suffering a work-related injury is never easy. Not only are you stuck dealing with your physical injuries, but the psychological distress and financial losses can be too much to bear. Thankfully, workers’ compensation benefits are often available to individuals who are injured in on-the-job accidents.
However, the workers’ comp claims process can often be complex. Understanding how the process works in South Carolina can go a long way in helping you get your application for benefits approved. When you need legal guidance or help to appeal a claim denial, do not hesitate to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at Shelly Leeke Law Firm for help.
How to File a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim
You may be anxious to recover the compensation you are entitled to after being involved in a work-related accident. However, you may have no idea how to get started on your workers’ compensation claim, where to file, what evidence you need, and the steps to take if your claim is ultimately denied. However, getting the paperwork completed properly is crucial if you hope to reduce your likelihood of denial and get your application approved more quickly.
Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney
Dealing with the workers’ compensation claims process will likely be challenging immediately after your accident. For this reason, hiring an attorney to take on your case as soon as possible after the accident is critical. Even though you may enjoy your work and have respect for your employer, it is important to remember that when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits, they may not be on your side.
It is crucial to have a legal advocate working for you to protect your rights and avoid having the insurance company take advantage of you. Since your employer will pay more in workers’ comp insurance premiums if their provider has to pay out on your claim, they may discourage you from applying for workers’ comp. Worse, they may argue that you do not qualify even if you meet the eligibility requirements.
The Cost of an Attorney
If you have concerns surrounding how you will afford to hire an attorney while you are out of work and without a source of income, there is good news. Most respected workers’ compensation lawyers are willing to work with their clients on contingency agreements. This means your lawyer will cover any court filing or appeal fees, the costs of hiring experts, and any other expenses that may arise along the way without requiring you to put down a retainer.
Once you win your case, a percentage of your workers’ comp award will go towards your attorney’s fees. However, your lawyer will not get paid unless they win your case, which means there is no risk to you in getting help from a powerful legal advocate.
Report the Accident to Your Employer
As soon as you have a workers’ compensation attorney on your side, your next step should be to notify your employer of the accident in your resulting injuries. Even if they already know of your accident and injury, it is crucial to notify them in writing so you can leave a paper trail of evidence to support your case along the way.
Your employer must be notified of the injury and accident within 90 days of the incident. Otherwise, they may have legal standing to deny you the workers’ comp benefits you might have otherwise deserved. For this reason, reporting your injuries to your employer as soon as possible after the accident is of utmost importance.
Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Comp Claims
Despite the fact that your employer must be notified within 90 days of the accident, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina is two years from the date of the accident. This is true whether you are filing a claim for workers’ comp or you are a surviving family member seeking death benefits. However, failure to file your application before the deadline passes could be devastating for your case, as the insurance company will have every right to deny your claim.
Make Sure Your Employer Files Your Workers’ Comp Claim
You might be surprised to learn that it is not your responsibility to file your workers’ compensation claim. Instead, it is up to your employer to file your claim with the South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission (SCWCC).
Once you notify your employer of your injuries and intend to pursue workers’ comp, you should begin receiving benefits soon after claim approval. However, if you have not heard anything about your claim, it may be that your employer has not filed your application.
Even if your employer is discouraging you from seeking workers’ compensation benefits, perhaps even arguing that you have no sense of loyalty, accessing this coverage is your right when you are injured in a work-related accident. If your employer does not want you to seek workers’ comp benefits, they are more than likely prioritizing their own financial interests over yours.
Appeal a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim
Do not be surprised if your claim is initially denied. Insurance companies lose money paying out on workers’ comp claims, so they often look for every opportunity to reduce benefits or deny claims outright.
Fortunately, you can request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Committee to pursue an appeal. Your workers’ comp attorney can help you prepare the necessary forms, gather evidence to support your case, and stand by your side to advocate for you during your hearing with the Commission.
Get Help from a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in South Carolina Today
This is just a basic idea of what you can expect when you file for workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina. Do not be surprised if your initial application is denied by the insurance company. They lose money by settling claims and will do everything possible to avoid payouts.
With help from a reputable South Carolina workers’ comp attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm, you can access the benefits that are rightfully yours. Learn more about the claims process and how to approach your denial when you contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. You can reach us through our online contact form or phone to get started as soon as today.