Failing to provide notice of an on-the-job injury to an employer can seriously impact an employee’s ability to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. In South Carolina, an injured worker has 90 days to notify their employer of an injury. Ideally, you should notify your employer as soon as you’re injured to prevent delays in processing the claim. In an emergency, it’s important to take care of yourself first; however, once any life-threating issues are under control the employer should be notified as soon as possible.
In theory, once an employer has been notified of an on-the-job injury they should file the claim with their insurance company. The employer should also provide you with a form to fill out to document when the injury occurred and who witnessed it. Depending on the degree of the injury, the employer should either direct you to the emergency room or to their physician for a medical evaluation. After that, the workers’ compensation insurance adjuster should be in touch with you regarding authorizing future care and also to explain the benefits available to you.
But, what do you do if your employer refuses to file a claim with the workers’ compensation insurance company?
Documentation is very important in a situation like this. If an injured worker suspects or knows that their employer will not file their claim, they should immediately send an email to the employer to create a record of notice. The email should be brief, but professional: “Dear (Supervisor), Please be advised that I injured my back today while at work. Please advise which physician I should see and what steps I need to take to properly handle this injury.” The employee should retain a copy of the sent email as evidence that they notified their supervisor/employer.
Obtaining the necessary medical care as soon as possible is also important. Typically, doctor’s office will give patients an intake form to fill out that provides a space to lists the reason for the visit. This is an injured workers’ opportunity to document the work-related injury in the doctor’s files. If you are seen at the emergency room, be clear when speaking with staff members that the accident occurred at work. Emergency room records are created by each person that speaks with you during your visit. Sometimes you will see several nurses, physician’s assistants, and sometimes more than one doctor. Medical documentation can ultimately make or break a workers’ comp case, especially in situations where employers are refusing to document an injury.
Injured workers’ should be focused on getting better, not on managing their claim. If you believe that your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation coverage or just isn’t going to file your claim, your first call should be to a Myrtle Beach workers’ compensation attorney. An injured worker in South Carolina can contact Maguire Law Firm to learn more about how a workers’ compensation lawyer can help them. Call us at (843) 361-7549 or emails us at [email protected]