If you’ve been injured on the job, you’re in the precarious position of facing mounting medical bills and lost earnings, and you may not have any idea about how best to move forward toward recovery. The surest way to protect your workers’ compensation claim (and to support your recovery as a result) is with an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney on your side.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shares important statistics related to work accidents in its Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in South Carolina – 2020, and the most notable include the following:
- The incidence rate for total recordable cases of employee injury or illness was 3.9 incidents per 100 full-time workers for those working in private education and health services.
- Two primary sources of employment in private industry that make up 38 percent of the sector accounted for 55 percent of total occupational injuries and illnesses, including trade, transportation, and utilities, as well as education and health services.
- The total recordable cases for injury and illness rate for private industry ranged from 2.9 per 100 full-time workers for those employers that employ 20 to 249 workers to .8 per 100 full-time employees for those employers that employ fewer than 11 employees.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports the most commonly cited OSHA violations on the job, including:
- Fall protection on construction sites
- Safety standards related to hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- General requirements for scaffolding on construction sites
- Ladders on construction sites
- Control of hazardous energy
- Requirements for fall-protection training
- Protection requirements for eyes and face
- Machinery and machinery guarding
If you are injured on the job, you will look to workers’ compensation to cover your claim. Workers’ compensation is insurance coverage that is carried by your employer, and that is intended to balance your right to compensation for your covered losses with your employer’s need to protect itself from multiple accident-related lawsuits that could put the business in jeopardy. As a result, negligence is taken out of the equation. This means that if you are injured on the job, you will very likely be covered by workers’ compensation (regardless of who is at fault for the injuries you suffer), but this does not mean that obtaining just compensation is going to be straightforward or easy. The insurance company covering your claim is a for-profit business that does whatever it can to keep its profits high, which makes having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney backing you up an excellent idea.
The losses (legal damages) you suffer as a result of being injured on the job can be immense, and workers’ compensation is designed to cover specific aspects of this overall damage.
All the medical care you receive that is designed to help improve your condition (as it relates to your job-related illness or injury) should be covered by workers’ compensation. However, it’s important to know that only medical treatment and care that the workers’ compensation insurance carrier authorizes will be paid for (except in emergency situations in which you don’t have the ability to contact the insurance carrier). The fact of the matter is that obtaining approval – even for treatment that your attending physician recommends – can be exceptionally complicated without the skilled legal guidance of a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney.
If your doctor determines that you either need to be off the job (or that you can only return to work within specific restrictions, and your employer cannot accommodate these requirements), you are entitled to compensation for your lost earnings. Workers’ compensation generally pays about two-thirds of one’s average weekly salary or wages (pre-tax).
If your injury is serious, your doctor will ultimately assign what is called an impairment rating, which can entitle you to additional compensation (dependent upon the nature of your impairment and other factors). It can, however, take a considerable amount of time to reach your maximum medical improvement and receive an impairment rating, which can make the journey forward that much more difficult.
It’s important to note e that workers’ compensation does not address the matter of your physical and emotional pain and suffering the way a personal injury claim would. For this reason, it’s always advisable to explore whether you can file a personal injury claim in addition to pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.
As an employee, you have rights under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, and they include all of the following:
- You are entitled to be compensated for injuries (or occupational illnesses) that are caused by your work.
- You have 90 days to report your injury or illness to your boss or supervisor and two years to file a workers’ compensation claim, but you are well-advised to move far more quickly.
- You have the right to request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission if you don’t receive the compensation that you believe you are entitled to, if you believe your workers’ comp claim was wrongfully denied, or if your employer failed to file your claim in the first place.
In most situations, however, you will not have the right to choose your own physician. Further, you give up the right – except in extreme situations – to sue your employer for the injuries you’ve suffered (even if you deem your employer solely responsible). This is because South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system is no-fault, which means that neither party’s fault in the matter is taken into consideration.
If you have been injured on the job, obtaining just compensation is likely paramount to your ability to recover, and the savvy South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at McCravy Law are standing by to help. We have a wealth of experience successfully guiding claims like yours toward advantageous outcomes, and we’re here for you too. For more information about what we can do to help, please don’t wait to contact or call us at 864-388-9100 today.