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Most Common Mistakes When Filing for Workers' Comp Benefits

workers’ compensation policyIn South Carolina, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This law protects employees in the case of a work accident or injury. It is important to understand your rights as a worker when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits and to educate yourself on workers’ compensation issues if you are pursuing a claim due to a work-related injury.

If you have any questions regarding your claim or if you are unsure as to whether you need the assistance of a lawyer, our firm would be happy to assist you.  

Simply call Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., today or reach us through our online form. We assist injured workers and their families in Manning and communities throughout South Carolina. We can provide a free consultation.

When you work with us, we can help you to avoid the following mistakes that, unfortunately, many workers make in the aftermath of a job-related injury:

Failing to Recognize an Injury as Work-Related

Many people mistake work-related injuries for injuries sustained outside of work. For instance, when injuries result from an accident that occurs in a company car, the injured worker may see this as a regular car accident and may even view the accident as his or her fault.

The fact of the matter is that most workers’ compensation claims arise from car accidents. If your job involves driving a vehicle, or if you were driving a company car when you were injured, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You should consult with an attorney to learn more about filing a claim.

Failing to Report an Injury

Once you notify your employer of your injury, he or she is required to notify the insurance company. This starts the workers’ compensation benefits process.

If you fail to provide notice of your injury to your employer within 90 days after it arises, it could result in a loss of workers’ compensation benefits.

Report your injury to your manager, supervisor or human resources department immediately. It is advisable to file the report in writing and to keep a copy. This will document that you complied with the reporting requirement and will help you to avoid future issues regarding notice of injury.

Using Health Insurance Instead of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Under South Carolina workers’ compensation law, all of your work injury-related medical expenses should be fully covered. So, you should use the workers’ compensation system to pay for your surgery, tests, casts, rehabilitation, prescription medications and all other costs that arise due to your injury. You should not use your own health insurance policy.

However, to have your medical bills covered through the workers’ compensation system, you must receive care and treatment from the medical care provider chosen by your employer (or its workers’ compensation insurer). You must also get authorization from the employer/insurer to see another physician such as a specialist.

If at any time your employer tells you to use your own insurance or pressures you to not seek workers’ compensation benefits, the employer is trying to avoid its duties as prescribed by law. If you are confused about what to do and are in a situation where your current employer is trying to discourage you from using workers’ compensation benefits, it is in your best interests to speak with an attorney.

Not Seeking a Second Medical Opinion

Even though you must receive treatment from an employer-assigned doctor to be eligible for workers’ compensation medical benefits, you are not barred from seeking a second (or even a third) opinion about your treatment.

Your health is what is most important. If you are skeptical about the diagnosis or care you are receiving, then you should certainly feel free to seek another medical opinion. An attorney can help you to navigate the workers’ compensation laws so you get the medical treatment you believe is best for you.

Assuming an Injury is not Covered by Workers’ Compensation

Many people make the wrongful assumption that pre-existing medical conditions do not qualify for coverage under South Carolina workers’ compensation law. However, if the pre-existing condition was worsened or aggravated by work duties, you may still be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. In such a case, having an attorney review your circumstances can help you to understand your best course of action.

Filling Out Forms Without a Lawyer’s Guidance

While you are not required to be represented by a lawyer when you file for workers’ compensation benefits, you should be aware of the risks of “going it alone.”

In particular, a workers’ compensation claim requires the filing of specific forms. These forms must be complete, accurate and filed on time. If you omit or misstate information, or if you miss a filing deadline, it could cost you the right to benefits you need and deserve.

An attorney will ensure your claim is correctly and timely filed and will take many other steps to protect your rights as you go through the claims process.

Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

The workers’ compensation lawyers of Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., can bring more than 120 years of combined legal experience to your case and help you to avoid potentially costly errors. We would be glad to speak with you about your case. If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job in Manning or a surrounding community in South Carolina, contact us today for a free consultation.

Sources / More Information

  • Frequently Asked Questions, South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission