Workers' Compensation for Healthcare Workers in SC
Healthcare workers are an essential part of the American workforce. They also suffer a disproportionate number of work injuries every year. Needle sticks, exposure to pathogens, muscle strains, stress, and assaults are just a few examples.
Data shows that healthcare is one of the most hazardous professions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that injury rates in the healthcare field are higher than the rates for both construction and manufacturing, which have long been thought to be the most dangerous industries.
If you are a nurse, doctor, or medical assistant who was injured on the job in South Carolina, you likely are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to provide financial support while you recover. A skilled healthcare work injury attorney from Stewart Law Offices can guide you through the process of applying for benefits so that you are fairly compensated.
For 30 years, Stewart Law Offices has been fighting for the rights of injured people throughout the Carolinas. Our tough, family-focused legal team will pursue maximum workers’ compensation benefits for you, including money for medical treatment, lost wages, and disability benefits.
Get experience and compassion on your side. Call or contact Stewart Law Offices now for a free consultation.
Common Injuries and Illnesses for Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers face a number of hazards on the job. They are exposed to sick or injured people every day and work long hours in crowded, busy environments. Some of the most common injuries and illnesses they suffer include:
- Overextension and overexertion injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Back injuries
- Needle wounds
- Cuts from surgical instruments
- Slip and fall injuries
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
Understaffing is another problem that endangers healthcare workers. Nurses often suffer neck, shoulder, and back injuries from trying to move heavy patients when no other staff is available to help.
Is Workers’ Compensation an Option for Healthcare Workers?
The South Carolina workers’ compensation system is designed to support employees who are injured on the job or contract work-related illnesses.
All employers with four or more workers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance under state law. Healthcare workers are typically covered, whether they work in a hospital, outpatient clinic, nursing home, urgent care, or other health facility.
The key factor when it comes to securing workers’ compensation benefits is showing that an injury or illness is job-related. To be paid, you must have clear evidence that your injury or condition arose “out of or in the course of your employment.”
Workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Payment for the full cost of your medical treatment
- Partial wage replacement at two-thirds of your normal rate for any missed workdays
- Disability benefits
- Death benefits
You are not required to prove that anyone else was at fault in order to get workers’ compensation in South Carolina. However, your employer or its workers’ comp insurer may still deny your claim or offer minimal benefits to you. If you’re in that position, it’s important to speak to a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer to determine your legal options.
How Can an Injured Healthcare Worker Receive Workers’ Compensation?
There are several potential avenues of compensation for injured healthcare workers. Let’s break down your options.
First, you could file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. You have 90 days from the date of your injury to file a claim, but you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. Even if the employer is already aware of what happened, you need to provide notice or you risk losing benefits.
Once your notification is received, your employer has 10 days to notify its workers’ compensation insurer of your injury. The claim then goes to the Workers’ Compensation Commission for consideration.
If your claim is accepted, you will start receiving weekly workers’ compensation checks. If it’s denied or you disagree with the amount of benefits you are being paid, you can schedule a hearing to appeal the decision.
Another possibility is a personal injury lawsuit for damages. This is only an option if a third party is to blame for your injury or illness. For example, if renovations are being made in a hospital and a doctor trips over power equipment obstructing the hallway, he or she may be able to file a lawsuit against the contractor for negligence. This is because even though the injury happened on the job, it was not the fault of the worker’s direct employer.
While only possible in certain workplace accident cases, third-party lawsuits have to potential to recover more compensation for an employee than a straight workers’ comp claim. In a lawsuit, you can seek money for pain and suffering, which is not possible under state workers’ compensation law.
COVID-19 and Workers’ Comp for Healthcare Workers
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for healthcare workers. Just showing up to work puts them at risk of being exposed to a highly contagious and potentially fatal illness.
Healthcare workers can pursue workers’ compensation if they contracted COVID-19 and got sick. They will have to show that they caught the virus due to the nature of their work and not from another source (such as a sick friend or family member). For more information, check out our list of the Top 10 Key Facts About Workers’ Comp and COVID-19.
Stewart Law Offices Advocates for Healthcare Workers in South Carolina
Healthcare workers put themselves at risk daily to help the rest of us live well. Those who get sick or hurt on the job deserve compensation for that sacrifice.
At Stewart Law Offices, our healthcare work injury lawyers can help with every phase of the workers’ compensation process. We can assist with applying for benefits, identifying and addressing any potential challenges, and collecting the evidence needed to present a strong claim for full and fair benefits.
We’ll also investigate whether you have any alternative sources of compensation, such as a third-party negligence claim against the at-fault party. At all times, our only goal is to help you secure the maximum amount of compensation possible to support you during your recovery.
Let us help get your life back on track again. Schedule your free consultation with Stewart Law Offices by calling or visiting our contact page. With offices in Rock Hill, Columbia, Spartanburg, Beaufort*, and Charlotte, N.C., our lawyers can meet you wherever it is most convenient for you.