An on-the-job injury can be frightening, and not only for the employee. Workplace injuries are as life-changing for their victims as they are for those victims’ families. Work-related injuries often mean that an employee cannot return to work in a timely manner, if at all. Debilitating losses can even threaten to leave an employee with no source of income.
In the meantime, medical bills and other daily living expenses continue to mount. Fortunately for many South Carolina employees, workers’ compensation may be available to provide the financial relief that is so desperately needed. You can work with a workers’ compensation lawyer in South Carolina from Shelly Leeke Law to secure the support you need.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance designed to protect employees who are injured while on the job. This coverage provides compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. It is further designed to apply regardless of who is at fault for the injury or how the accident occurred.
In exchange for providing these benefits to employees, employers receive the benefit of avoiding lawsuits brought by employees seeking compensation for the costs associated with their medical treatment, disability, or lost wages. Injured workers must report their injury to their employer, preferably in writing, within 90 days of the accident.
In turn, the employer must ensure that you receive medical attention and notify the insurance company of the injury. The insurance company then notifies the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC).
You Need to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim on a Deadline
You have 90 days from the day your accident occurs to bring your intent to file a workers’ compensation claim to the attention of a supervisor. Your employer is then required to submit the appropriate forms to the SCWCC.
An employer who refuses to submit the appropriate paperwork does not prevent you from a workers’ compensation case. Instead, you can file either Form 50 or Form 52 to continue pursuing your compensation. It is in your best interest to bring the appropriate information to the attention of the SCWCC within a year of your injury.
Employees Are Only Eligible to Receive Workers’ Compensation Under Certain Circumstances
A large portion of employees working in South Carolina may find themselves potentially eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, an employee is eligible if they meet the following criteria:
- Employees who are injured while working or who develop an illness related to their employment conditions in the workplace environment
- Employees whose injury or illness occurred or was caused in the workplace or was related to the work
- Employees working for companies with four or more employees
When you meet with South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers, you can determine whether or not you fall into any of the aforementioned roles.
What to Do if You’re Not Eligible for a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you aren’t eligible for a workers’ compensation claim, or if your compensation claim is denied, you still have options on the table. You can work with an attorney to transform your case into a personal injury lawsuit brought against your employer or another liable party.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Civil Court
The process of filing a civil claim looks similar to that of filing a workers’ compensation claim in the beginning. In both cases, you need to prepare to gather evidence of an employer’s negligence in the workplace. You should also be prepared to elaborate on the economic impact of your losses.
Once you begin compiling this data, however, the story changes. In a personal injury claim, you need to prove that your employer owed you a duty of care and that said duty of care was violated. You should also present an estimate of the total compensation you believe you’re owed.
Finally, personal injury claims in South Carolina have a more generous statute of limitations than workers’ compensation claims. South Carolina Code of Laws § 15-3-530 dictates that you will have three years to bring your case forward. Do note, though, that if you take longer to build your claim, South Carolina civil courts may reject your suit.
Workers’ Compensation Settlements Versus Personal Injury Settlements
Workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims cover different aspects of your losses. Specifically, workers’ compensation payouts will only address the billable losses you endure due to your workplace injury. This means you are medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.
If you have the opportunity to pursue a personal injury claim instead, your opportunity to request compensation expands. You may include billable and non-billable losses in your personal injury claim. In addition to the damages mentioned before, you may also be eligible for compensation based on emotional distress, PTSD, and even the wrongful death of a loved one.
When to Worry About Limited Liability
Limited liability is a concept that allows certain corporations to remove themselves from responsibility for employees’ or consumers’ accidents. In some cases, limited liability can impact the settlement which you might receive in return for your losses.
In most cases involving a workplace injury, you do not have to worry about limited liability. Even if your employer does not offer you workers’ compensation, our personal injury attorneys can help you advocate for your right to support in court.
The only time when limited liability may come into play is when it appears that your employer is trying to outsource responsibility for your damages to another party. If it appears some manner of misconduct is occurring behind the scenes, our South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys can step in, investigate the situation, and bring instances of disingenuity to light.
Attorneys Can Help You File Workers’ Compensation Claims
Contending with the complexities of a workers’ compensation claim can be challenging before you consider its tight deadline. Should your complaint be denied, you may not know how to begin a personal injury claim.
Fortunately, you don’t have to undertake the filing of either document without help. Instead, you can collaborate with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney.
Our team understands that you need to spend the days following your accident focusing on your recovery. That’s why we’re prepared to step in and begin Gathering evidence of employer negligence to include alongside your claim. We can make sure that the appropriate documents make it to the SCWCC within state deadlines.
Should your claim be denied, we can take the evidence we’ve already gathered and use it alongside a personal injury complaint. As your case progresses, we can give you the means to negotiate for a settlement or bring your case before a judge.
Schedule Your Case Evaluation Today
Determining one to pursue workers’ compensation and one to chase a personal injury claim can be challenging. What’s more, the process can be intimidating, particularly if you are already contending with losses at home. The good news is that you don’t have to undergo this process on your own. You can work with a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney instead.
Shelly Leeke Law stands alongside its clients in negotiations and trials. No matter what your needs look like, our workers’ compensation team can make sure that we address your losses from all angles. You can contact the office over the phone or reach out through our website to learn more about the services we can offer you.