Whether you work in construction, manufacturing, health care or any other field, you can easily get hurt or sick on the job in Spartanburg. If so, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits can cover your medical expenses. They can also replace a portion of the income that you may lose due to your work injury or illness.
Stewart Law Offices, LLC in Spartanburg SC, can help you to pursue workers’ compensation benefits that you are entitled to receive and explore all other options available to you. When you work with us, we will treat you like family – and protect you like family, too. We will fight for you and won’t let employers and their workers’ compensation insurers bully you around.
To learn more about how we can help call or reach us online today. We are available 24/7 to take your call. We can provide a free consultation at our Spartanburg office or meet you at your home or the hospital – wherever is most convenient for you.
Common Workplace Accidents and Injuries in Spartanburg
If you suffered an on-the-job injury in Spartanburg, you are not alone. Workplace accidents happen all of the time at construction sites, factories, hospitals, nursing homes, stores, restaurants and other workplaces. Sadly, many of these accidents occur because employers fail to properly train and supervise employees or to give them a safe work environment. The workers we assist at Stewart Law Offices, LLC, often suffer injuries in accidents such as:\
-Car, truck, forklift or crane accidents
-Falls on the same level (or slip and falls)
-Falls from heights (such as roofs, ladders and scaffolding)
-Machine or heavy equipment entanglement
-Fires and explosions
-Exposure to harmful substances
-Getting struck by objects
-Violence (involving co-workers or customers).
In many cases, the injuries are severe. They prevent a person from going back to work for a long period of time. Many workers can never return to their jobs, or they can only return to work on light-duty status. Some of the most common injuries are:
-Sprains and strains
-Head and brain injuries
-Back and spine injuries
-Loss of limbs (or use of limbs)
-Vision and hearing loss
-Soft tissue damage (musculoskeletal disorders).
Additionally, workers can suffer illness such as mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to inhaling smoke, dust, chemicals or other pollutants in the workplace.
What You Should Do After a Workplace Injury or Illness in Spartanburg
The steps you take immediately after you get injured in an on-the-job accident or discover that you have an occupational disease can affect your ability to collect workers’ compensation benefits. For that reason, you should try to do the following:
-Get medical attention. You should see a doctor immediately – even if you are unsure about your injuries. Make sure to let the doctor know that you were hurt at work.
-Give notice to your employer. You should report your injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible. As we discuss below, if you fail to report it within a certain time period, you could lose your right to receive benefits.
-Get names and contact information of witnesses. If possible, you should get the names and phone numbers of anyone who saw your accident happen such as a co-worker.
-Keep all of your bills and documents. You should hold on to your medical bills, receipts from other out-of-pocket expenses and any letters, emails or other documents that you receive from your employer and/or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
-Contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t wait to get legal help. If your employer denies your claim, or if you encounter any other problems with your benefits, the skilled and experienced Spartanburg workers’ compensation attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC, want to help you.
What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Most employees are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina if they suffer from an injury or illness that arose in the course of their employment. It does not matter whether you are a full-time or part-time worker, adult or minor. You can receive these benefits regardless of who was at fault. However, many employers claim that workers are ineligible because they are “independent contractors.” If this happens to you, contact us immediately.
The South Carolina workers’ compensation system can provide many types of helpful benefits. The two primary types are:
-Medical benefits – Workers’ comp should cover all medical treatment related to your work injury or illness. It can also cover treatment-related transportation costs. However, to be covered, you must go to a health care provider that your employer or its insurer approves. However, if you are not satisfied with the care that you receive, you should contact our law firm right away to discuss your rights and options.
-Disability benefits – You may also be eligible to receive monetary benefits if you suffer from a partial or total, temporary or permanent disability due to your work injury or illness. These benefits will represent a portion of the average weekly wages that you cannot earn due to your condition.
If a third party caused your injury or illness, you may be eligible to go beyond workers’ compensation benefits. For instance, you may have been hurt by a non-employee, another contractor at a construction site, a negligent driver or a defective product. A third-party injury claim can seek medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering damages and more.
How Do You File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Spartanburg?
To file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina, you must complete two basic steps:
Report Your Injury or Illness
First, you must report your injury or illness to your employer. With few exceptions, you must report it within a certain period of time, or your employer (or its insurer) can deny your claim. Those time periods are:
-Within 90 days of an accident-related injury
-Within 90 days after you discover or with reasonable diligence could have discovered that you suffer from repetitive trauma (such as carpal tunnel syndrome)
-Within 90 days after you receive a definitive diagnosis of an occupational disease.
You should submit the report in writing or use a form that your employer provides. After you report your injury to your employer, the employer should then give notice to its workers’ compensation insurance provider. The insurance company should then give notice to the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission.
File the Claim on Your Own
If your employer fails to report your injury to the insurer, or if the insurer denies your claim or refuses to pay what you are owed, then you may need to file your workers’ compensation claim on your own or with help from one of our experienced workers’ comp attorneys. To file a claim, you must submit:
Form 50 for injury, repetitive trauma or occupational disease-related benefits. You must check the box in line 13b and pay a $50 fee if you request a hearing.
Form 52 if you submit a claim for death benefits based on the loss of your loved one. If you request a hearing, you must check line 12b and include a $50 fee.
You may wonder, “How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?” The answer depends on the nature of your claim. Generally, the time limits are:
-Injury or death by accident – Within two years from the date of the accident or within two years from the date of your loved one’s death
-Repetitive trauma – Within two years from the date you knew or should have known about your condition
Occupational disease – Within two years from the date of your definitive diagnosis.
What Can You Do If a Commissioner Denies Your Claim?
If your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim, you typically will go through mediation to see if you and your employer can resolve the dispute. For instance, our firm can help you to pursue a workers’ compensation settlement with your employer. If you cannot resolve the dispute, then you can proceed to a hearing before a single workers’ compensation commissioner. The commissioner will review the evidence and arguments presented by both sides and issue a decision.
If the commissioner denies your claim, you can appeal to the full S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission. You must give notice of your appeal within 14 days after you receive the single commissioner’s decision. To give notice, you must submit Form 30 along with a $150 filing fee.
Should the full commission deny your claim, again, you can file an appeal with the South Carolina Court of Appeals. You must give notice within 30 days after you receive the commission’s decision. There is no appeal beyond the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Why Do You Need a Spartanburg Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation can be difficult and confusing. You must make sure that all documents are filed in an accurate and timely manner. You may also need to compile and present medical records and employment records and present your case at a hearing. These are all reasons why you should get help from an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney.
At Stewart Law Offices, LLC, we can provide the skilled and compassionate legal assistance that you need to navigate the workers’ compensation claims process in South Carolina. We can also help you to explore all options available to you beyond workers’ compensation benefits, which may include filing a third-party injury claim. To learn more, contact us today and discuss your case in a free consultation.