What is Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation is a mandated insurance program to compensate employees who are injured while at work. With accidents happening in the workplace each and every day, it is important to have a program set up to aid those who need to be compensated for their injuries so they can safely return to work.
Does Every Employer Need To Offer Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
South Carolina requires all employers with four or more employees working in the state to carry workers’ compensation insurance, barring employee exceptions.
Some of the employee exceptions include;
- Licensed real estate agents working for a broker
- Federal employees (these employees generally have another form of workers’ compensation available to them through the government)
- Individuals who sell agricultural products and agricultural employees
- Railroad company employees
- Unpaid volunteers
What if an Employer Isn’t Carrying Valid Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
If an employer mandated to carry worker’s compensation insurance doesn’t have a valid policy, there is still a way to get benefits. The South Carolina Uninsured Employers’ Fund will step in and pay the benefits for an uninsured employer.
What Does Worker’s Compensation Cover?
If an employee is injured while on the job, there are many things that workers’ compensation coverage will pay for.
The cost of medical bills related to the injury. Bills can include immediate treatment, follow-up physical therapy, and even surgery.
Illness directly caused by the employee’s working environment-costs associated with medical bills or lost wages due to illness are also, in most cases, covered.
The amount of lost wages-while the employee is out of work to address the injuries sustained and adequate time to heal, they will lose wages. Compensation benefits pay two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, subject to a cap.
Funeral or burial costs-if an injury leads to death while on the job, workers’ compensation will cover part or all of the costs associated with a funeral or burial of the employee, up to $12,000.00.
What Should I Do if I am Hurt While on the Job?
Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. If you refuse initial treatment, this can bar you from obtaining the benefits offered to you through workers’ compensation.
Speak with your employer to find out who the preferred doctor or medical facility is. In South Carolina, the employer can choose the preferred doctor. You can seek care from your personal doctor as a second opinion, but the costs may not be covered if the employer has a preferred doctor and you choose to go elsewhere.
Report the injury to your employer immediately. If they are unavailable, it is important to report the injury to a higher-level staff such as a manager or supervisor, rather than just a co-worker.
Time is of the essence. If you fail to report an injury for more than 90 days after it occurred, you may not be able to obtain benefits from workers’ compensation.
Be thorough at your appointments. Ensure the doctor and medical staff are aware of all of the injuries sustained.
Follow all instructions given by medical staff as prescribed.
If you are given “light duty” restrictions once back at work, it is important to accept and follow them. Compensation may cease if you are given light duty work and you refuse.
You have a right to refuse the work that is assigned to you if you feel that you aren’t capable or that it will worsen your injury. You can attend a hearing and explain why you think you aren’t capable of the assigned work.
Why Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Chances are, you aren’t familiar with workers’ compensation or the laws surrounding it unless you have suffered injuries on the job before. Due to being unfamiliar with the process, you can make errors and disqualify yourself from the benefits that you deserve after a work injury.
Perhaps your employer is not within regulations, and you want guidance on how to deal with it, or you may not receive the compensation you feel you deserve. Either way, we are here to assist you and guide you based on our years of experience and compassion for our clients.
Contact our office at (803) 500-0000, so we can make sure that, whether your employer has workers compensation coverage or not, you get the best possible outcome for your case!