How To File A Workers' Compensation Claim In Rock Hill
Rock Hill is the largest city in York County and the fifth-largest city in South Carolina. Major employers in Rock Hill include 3D Systems, Amida Industries, INC., and Carolina Energy, but there are many other employers in the city in a wide variety of industries.
Employees in most occupations in Rock Hill are protected by workers’ compensation insurance, which is intended to cover all of the medical costs a victim incurs because of an injury on the job. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) is the state agency that handles workers’ compensation claims.
While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, disputes often arise concerning the amounts of some benefits and even whether an accident is covered. When you believe that you are being denied benefits, you have the right to a hearing.
Did you suffer a severe injury on the job in Rock Hill? Contact Stewart Law Offices as soon as possible. Our firm will fight to help you seek all of the benefits that you are entitled to. You can have our attorneys provide a comprehensive evaluation of your case when you call us or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
What Is Workers’ Compensation and How Does It Work?
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law is found in Title 42 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. The state law gives a person injured on the job the right to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and disability benefits.
Any business in South Carolina with four or more workers is required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is usually the sole means of employer-based recovery for injured workers. A civil lawsuit cannot be filed against an employer that maintains a workers’ compensation insurance policy. If a non-employer third party was responsible for the accident, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against them outside the workers’ compensation system.
Some employers or their representatives may seek reduced benefits or argue for claims to be denied. Workers’ compensation commissioners conduct hearings to resolve disputes between workers and employers or their representatives.
You may need to apply for a hearing if your claim has been denied or you do not think that you are receiving all the benefits you deserve. You could also apply for a hearing if your employer denies that your injury was caused by an accident on the job or does not report your accident.
Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Claims in Rock Hill
People can be injured in many different kinds of accidents in workplaces. Falls are among the most common types of most workplace accidents but many other cases can involve fires explosions being caught in machinery being struck by objects motor vehicle accidents and a wide variety of other situations.
Some of the common injuries victims can suffer in such accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Nerve damage
- Neck injuries
- Muscle strains
One of the more contentious aspects of a workers’ compensation claim can be disability benefits. Disability benefits are either permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD) awards and are two-thirds of a worker’s average weekly wage up to a maximum limit.
A waiting period of seven days applies before workers’ compensation benefits can be paid. A person is still compensated for those seven days when they are out of work for more than 14 days. Payments from the employer’s insurance representative should be made directly to the injured worker until a doctor releases them to return to work.
Workers’ compensation wage-replacement benefits will be stopped when a doctor releases a person to return to work, with or without restrictions, and a person must accept light work if it is ordered. You can request a hearing if you believe you are unable to do the job assigned to you.
Tips for Obtaining Workers’ Comp Benefits
Accidents in the workplace can quickly become more complicated than most people expected. Some cases involve people attempting to work through injuries only to learn that their conditions are too debilitating.
Not all workplace injuries display immediate symptoms. For this reason, you must make sure to take specific steps as soon as you are involved in any workplace accident.
All workers in South Carolina should try to follow these five steps after an accident on the job:
- Report the Accident — You should immediately report the accident to your employer, as failure to report an injury within 90 days can result in a loss of benefits. Strongly consider putting your report in writing so you can make a copy of the report to keep in your records.
- Get Medical Care — Do not wait to go to a hospital. Some symptoms of severe injuries can be delayed. The costs of treatment should be covered by the employer when you receive care from the employer’s chosen medical care provider, but you do have the right to see your personal physician, usually at your own expense.
- Collect Evidence — When it is possible, try to photograph the scene of your accident. Get pictures of all potential contributing factors and take these photographs from multiple angles and distances. If any co-workers saw your accident, you should get some contact information such as a phone number or email address in case you need to contact them to provide testimony about the accident.
- File the Proper Forms — Many cases will require the filing of WCC Form 12-A, Form 50, or Form 52. An employer also must complete some forms and submit them to the appropriate parties.
- Contact an Attorney — It is often critical for injured workers to quickly seek the help of an experienced lawyer like those at Stewart Law Offices. You should not say anything to any insurance company that contacts you until you have legal representation. The attorney can represent you in all dealings with insurers and then negotiate for a fair and full settlement to your case.
The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation benefits is two years in South Carolina. The limitations period typically begins on the date of an accident for an injury claim, but the limitations period for a death claim begins running on the date of the person’s death, which could be well after the date of an accident.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Rock Hill
A worker injured on the job must report their injuries to their employer within 90 days. If an employer does not report an accident, denies an injury by accident, or a person believes they are not receiving all of their benefits, they should file a Form 50 or Form 52 with the WCC.
South Carolina generally gives people two years to file a workers’ compensation claim, but specific injuries are more complicated. Repetitive trauma injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome develop over the course of several months or years and can create severe work limitations for victims. When a person has been diagnosed with a repetitive trauma injury, they have two years from the date that they knew or should have known about the injury.
Denial of Workers’ Compensation Claim Appeals
It is undeniably deflating for a person to endure the time and effort required to apply for workers’ compensation only to learn that their claim has been denied. The good news is that you do not have to accept the initial decision and often have the power to appeal most decisions.
A single WCC commissioner hears an initial appeal, and the full commission hears any subsequent appeal. The next step would be a lawsuit that has to be filed within 30 days of notice of the decision, and any subsequent appeal is made to the South Carolina Court of Appeals South Carolina Supreme Court.
How Our Law Firm Can Help After a Workplace Accident in Rock Hill
Applying for workers’ compensation can be challenging enough, but matters can quickly become overwhelming for most people when there are requests for medical records or informal conferences relating to workers’ compensation claims. Legal representation is often beneficial for individuals in such circumstances.
If you sustained an injury on the job, an experienced Rock Hill workers’ comp lawyer at Stewart Law Offices can help seek all of the compensation that you are owed for your recovery. Do not try to handle the challenges of the South Carolina workers’ compensation claims process by yourself.
Stewart Law Offices is prepared to represent you during any hearings and work tirelessly to help you seek appropriate benefits. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.