In South Carolina, all employers with four or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers in the event of a job injury or illness. Workers’ comp benefits provide medical care and a portion of the employee’s lost wages while they recuperate.
Obtaining full and fair workers’ compensation benefits is not always as easy as filling out an application and waiting for a payout. There are specific rules and procedures that must be followed in order to obtain proper benefits. Claims can get hung up in several places, making it difficult for workers to get the treatment and income they need.
Struggling to obtain workers’ compensation in South Carolina? Already been denied benefits? You should talk to an experienced workers’ comp attorney for advice on how to resolve these disputes.
Finding the best lawyer for you is a highly personal process. The skilled Manning workers’ comp lawyers at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A. have put together the following suggestions about how to find a good workers’ compensation attorney in South Carolina.
Questions? Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Find a S.C. Lawyer with Experience Handling Workers’ Compensation Claims
Much like you wouldn’t see a heart surgeon to have brain surgery, you wouldn’t see a family lawyer for a workers’ compensation case. If you’ve been hurt in a workplace accident or diagnosed with an occupational illness, you need a workers’ compensation lawyer to handle your case.
It’s important that you speak specifically with a workers’ compensation lawyer in South Carolina. Workers’ compensation laws vary state by state, so you need someone familiar with the laws and procedures in South Carolina.
In addition, experienced workers’ compensation lawyers have built relationships with doctors and medical providers that accept workers’ comp patients. This alone can significantly improve the medical treatment you receive for your injuries.
Do Your Research
Search for workers’ compensation lawyers in your area. Read reviews online, browse law firm websites, and look at lawyer biographies.
- Talk to friends who have hired a workers’ comp lawyer before: Personal references can be a great resource because they come from someone you trust.
- Interview at least three lawyers: Most workers’ compensation lawyers offer free initial consultations to prospective clients. Don’t pick the first one you meet, even if you like him/her. Take the time to meet with at least three potential attorneys. That way, you can select the one that you are most comfortable with.
- Review the S.C. Bar’s “For the Public” section on their website: You can talk to volunteer lawyers, search for attorneys in your area, and get general information about legal services in the state.
Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Who Focuses on Your Health, Not Just Your Financial Award
Your settlement, of course, is a vital part of your workers’ compensation case. But it’s not the only important part. Your health and wellbeing should be your No. 1 priority. Make sure whoever you hire will help you get the best possible medical care and will fight for you if the insurance company denies you specialized treatment that you need.
Factors To Consider When Comparing Attorneys
When evaluating workers’ comp attorneys, consider the following factors:
- Experience: You want an attorney with many years of experience working with workers’ compensation claims. Ask about whether the lawyer has handled claims like yours before and what the outcomes were.
- Knowledge: Look for a lawyer who knows about your particular injury. If your lawyer knows the treatment and recovery associated with your type of injury, then you will be at an advantage during settlement negotiations. A skilled attorney will also be able to anticipate any challenge that could interfere with your claim.
- Success: No lawyer should ever guarantee you a successful outcome in your workers’ compensation claim. The facts of every case are unique, even with seemingly identical injuries. Ask to look at your attorney’s results, not just the law firm’s overall history of success. Select an accomplished lawyer with a proven track record of winning workers’ compensation cases and settlements.
- Communication: As an injured employee, you want answers. A reputable South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer will be ready to answer all of your questions. Also ask for the attorney’s policy on returning phone calls and e-mails so that you know their preferred method of communication when you have concerns.
- Attitude: Your attorney should maintain a positive attitude and work hard on your behalf. That is at the core of what it means to be a lawyer. While it can be difficult to judge personality during an initial consultation, trust your gut. Ask a lot of questions to get a feel for how that particular lawyer operates and whether it meshes with your own needs and goals.
Questions to Ask Your Work Injury Lawyer
How long have you helped South Carolinians with workers’ compensation claims?
It’s important you hire a lawyer who has extensive experience with workers’ compensation claims. If you find that the attorney you are interviewing handles mostly personal injury cases, it’s best to keep looking until you find one who dedicates the majority of his/her practice to workers’ compensation.
How much experience do you have representing those who have suffered similar injuries?
Any knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney will know what it takes to represent you before the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission. However, it would be ideal to find a lawyer who has handled your specific type of injury before.
For example, obtaining workers’ comp for carpal tunnel syndrome can be more difficult than more obvious injury claims, such as a brain injury sustained after falling from a scaffold. That’s because a key element in any workers’ comp case is proving that an injury is work-related. The insurance company could argue that you engage in a recreational activity that involves repetitive wrist movements (e.g., tennis, sewing, etc.), and that your carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of those hobbies instead.
If you are suffering from an unusual injury or one that is frequently challenged, it may be best to find an attorney who has experience with these specific types of injuries.
How much does it cost to hire you?
Most workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay no upfront costs for them to work on your case. Instead, they take a percentage of any compensation you are awarded. Before hiring a workers’ compensation attorney, be sure that you are clear on the fee agreement.
Does it matter if the work injury was my fault?
Normally, workers’ compensation benefits should be provided regardless of fault. If you deliberately injured yourself or came to work intoxicated, you may be denied benefits. But in most other circumstances, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Will my case go to a hearing?
Early on, it will be difficult to know whether your case will proceed to a hearing. It may depend on how far you have gone in the workers’ compensation claims process on your own. If you work with a lawyer from the beginning, obtaining a settlement will be the more likely resolution.
Keep in mind that cases evolve. As new issues arise, your attorney’s recommendations about proceeding to a hearing could change. That’s why it’s important to hire one who is committed to regular communication with you.
When will my case settle?
If you suffered a catastrophic industry, you are likely facing a long recovery period. Although your employer’s insurance company may be swift to settle, your attorney will likely have a different opinion. He/she will want to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point at which a doctor declares that you have recovered as much as reasonably possible given the severity of your injuries.
From the insurance company’s standpoint, it’s smart to settle quickly. If you agree to a settlement before you truly understand the ultimate impact of your injury, you are likely to receive less money than you deserve. Waiting for MMI will increase your chances of receiving a full and fair settlement offer.
Final Tip — Listen to Your Gut
If you feel uncomfortable at any time during your free consultation, it’s a sign that the attorney is not the right one for you. You could be meeting with a highly qualified workers’ compensation attorney, but if you feel unsure or nervous for any reason, you need to keep looking.
Our Trusted Workers’ Comp Lawyers Demand Maximum Results
At Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., we know that workers’ compensation benefits are a vital lifeline for people who have been injured on the job. When you call our law firm, you will speak directly with a Manning, S.C. workers’ compensation attorney who is committed to getting you the benefits you deserve.
There’s no risk to learn how we can help. Call (803) 500-3942 or use our online contact form to arrange a free consultation today.