How Can A Lawyer Help Me With My Workers' Compensation Claim?

South Carolina workers' compensation laws are designed to provide a satisfactory means of handling occupational disabilities. The South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission oversees, manages and rules on all workers' compensation claims. While the process is set up to allow claimants to file forms and request compensation without legal assistance, a lawyer who knows the compensation laws can be critical in ensuring that you get the benefits you deserve.

You must report your injury within 90 days. If you neglect to report the injury within 90 days of the accident you may lose your benefits. You may personally file a claim if your employer does not report your accident, or denies your injury by accident. With the many complex forms that must be completed, the medical process you are dealing with and the potential for a dispute with your employer, a lawyer can help file your paperwork and ensure that all forms are thoroughly prepared, and that you meet all imposed deadlines.

You are entitled to an informal conference for you and a representative of your employer's insurance company to meet with a commissioner or claims mediator to discuss the settlement of your workers' compensation claim. Designed to reach an agreement on the amount you will be paid if you have any permanent disability or loss of use as a result of an on-the-job accident, the settlement figure will be final upon your agreement. You can have your personal lawyer present to ask any appropriate questions, make sure that the parties have thoroughly reviewed all of your records and to provide you with guidance on what to do next.

If during the informal conference you cannot come to an agreement, your claim automatically will be set for a formal hearing before a commissioner. The hearing will be held three to four months later. Again, having a lawyer present will not only afford you the peace of mind that all of the appropriate preparation has been made, but also that the payments you will receive are representative of your disability and injuries. You are entitled to receive medical treatment and payment of medical expenses, as well as weekly payments while you are unable to work. Note that you cannot be paid for pain and suffering or loss of companionship under workers' compensation.

Am I Entitled To Any Other Benefits?

Workers' compensation is mandatory for employers in South Carolina with more than four employees. In South Carolina, workers' compensation is a no-fault approach that limits the employer's liability to those benefits provided by the Workers' Compensation Act. It is an inclusive remedy for on-the-job injuries. However, in some cases, you may be able to collect additional benefits beyond workers' compensation.

While you cannot sue your employer, but if someone other than your employer or a co-worker caused your injury, you may be eligible to receive additional benefits. For example, if you are injured due to equipment malfunction, you may be able to sue the equipment manufacturer. There may be many other circumstances in which your injury is the result of negligence or carelessness due to other parties. In order to claim additional benefits, a lawsuit will need to be filed against those responsible parties.