The maximum out of time you can collect workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina will vary depending on several factors, including the severity of your injury, your disability and impairment ratings, and the type of injury you sustained.
Generally, you can expect to collect workers’ comp for as much as 500 weeks, but most injured workers collect benefits until they can return to work, which is often much sooner. With help from a workers’ compensation lawyer, you can make sure your benefits are not terminated early so you can get the financial support you need to recuperate.
How Workers’ Comp Benefit Timelines Are Determined
Generally, once you have been out of work for at least seven days, on the eighth day after your accident, you can begin receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The amount you can expect to receive will be based on your average weekly salary.
You can expect to collect approximately 2/3 of your average weekly wages. If your injuries will prevent you from being able to work for a minimum of 14 days, you will also be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from the first day of your injury. Workers’ comp benefit timelines are determined by:
- The date in which your injury occurred
- The type of injury you sustained
- The severity of your injuries
- The affected body parts
- Your impairment rating
- Your disability rating
What Happens to Your Workers’ Comp Benefits When You Go Back to Work?
Once you begin collecting workers’ compensation benefits, you can typically continue to do so until you are capable of going back to work. However, you may be wondering what will happen to your workers’ compensation benefits when you go back to work.
Usually, once your healthcare provider determines you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), they will allow you to go back to work. However, that does not necessarily mean you will be able to return at the same rate of pay and without restrictions.
If you are returning to work on light duty or have restrictions, you may be able to continue collecting workers’ compensation benefits at a reduced rate. If you are offered light-duty job responsibilities temporarily, you must accept the opportunity. Otherwise, you could expect your workers’ compensation benefits to be terminated.
However, if you are going to be able to return to work at your pre-injury rate of pay, you can expect your weekly workers’ compensation benefits to be stopped.
The Impact of Disability Ratings
When you are not offered light-duty job responsibilities, or you have restrictions in place that make it impossible for you to continue working, your healthcare provider will assign you a disability rating. During this time, you will continue receiving your weekly disability benefits up to the maximum number of weeks allowable based on the type of injury you have suffered.
For example, in most cases, you can only collect workers’ compensation benefits for a maximum of 500 weeks. However, if you have suffered permanent brain damage or paralysis that leaves you permanently disabled, you may be entitled to lifetime workers’ compensation benefits.
You may also be given an impairment rating if you have suffered a partial disability. For instance, if your job requires you to do a lot of heavy lifting but you have suffered a severe arm or shoulder injury that left you 50% disabled, you may be assigned an impairment rating to determine how long you can continue receiving benefits based on your scheduled losses.
What to Do if You Disagree with Your Impairment Rating
It is not uncommon for injured workers to disagree with the impairment rating their physician sets. When this happens, you have the right to a second opinion paid for by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. You might also have the right to request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC).
During your hearing, you can expect your employer and their insurance company to present evidence that the work restrictions or impairment rating are valid. With help from your workers’ compensation attorney, you could present additional medical evidence to support your case, introduce personal journal entries that attest to the significance of your injuries, and request an independent medical exam. If the independent medical examiner’s decision is different from the initial healthcare provider’s opinion, you can expect the SCWCC to review your application and determine what your impairment rating should be set at.
How to Maximize Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you hope to maximize the workers’ compensation benefits you are awarded and take advantage of the maximum number of weeks you are allowed to receive financial support, be sure to:
- Report your injury within 90 days to your employer
- Make sure your employer files your workers’ compensation claim
- Obtain a medical evaluation
- Follow your physician’s treatment plan
- Keep a personal journal and copies of your medical records
When to Call a Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Help
As soon as you have been involved in a work-related accident, get a workers’ compensation attorney working for you. The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims might be two years, but the evidence needed to support your case will only be available for a limited time.
If your employer is being uncooperative, the insurance company is denying you the benefits you deserve, you have not received your benefits in a timely manner, or you believe you are being retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim, having an experienced workers’ comp lawyer could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Meet with a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
Every person’s case is different. While one injured worker may collect workers’ compensation benefits for up to 500 weeks, another may only be eligible for workers comp. for as much as 240 weeks. There are many factors that can influence the amount of time you will continue receiving workers’ compensation.
Make sure you get the legal guidance you support you need when you need it most. Contact an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm to find out how long you can receive workers’ compensation benefits and protect your rights. You can schedule your free, no-obligation consultation when you fill out our online contact form or call our office today.