The workers’ compensation system is a complex insurance program. It is administered by the State of South Carolina through private insurance companies that sell policies to individual companies to protect employees from the costs of workplace injuries and illnesses.
There are many hurdles between an injured employee and a benefit check to cover medical expenses and replace lost income. Each of the steps represents a potential obstacle to the worker getting the workers’ comp benefits he or she deserves. Not the least of these is an insurer’s reluctance to part with the money required for an appropriate benefits settlement.
In South Carolina, the attorneys at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., work with injured and ill workers to overcome the obstacles between them and the workers’ compensation benefits they have a right to receive. Our lawyers have combined experience of more than 120 years. Let us put that experience to work for you.
Contact us now for a free consultation about your claim.
Employers Find Many Ways to Dispute Workers’ Comp Claims
There are many things that can go wrong with a workers’ compensation claim. For people trying to recover from an injury or illness that makes them unable to work, the last thing they need is to fight the bureaucracy of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission or an employer and their insurer who disputes their claim.
Land, Parker & Welch can help you get the benefits you deserve for a work-related injury or illness. The potential obstacles to a successful workers’ compensation claim are numerous. Just a few of the more common problems include:
Employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance.
Employers in South Carolina that regularly employ four or more full-time or part-time workers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Because some companies break the law, South Carolina maintains an uninsured employer workers’ compensation fund. An employee can apply to the State Accident Fund (formerly known as the South Carolina Second Injury Fund) if his or her employer does not have workers’ comp insurance.
Employer does not file workers’ comp claim.
It is an employer’s responsibility to file a workers’ compensation claim for an employee who reports being injured in a workplace accident or sickened by an occupational illness. But an employee may file a claim if the employer fails to. To file a claim, you must submit a Form 50 or Form 52 to the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Employer disputes workers’ comp claim.
The cost of worker’ compensation benefits filters down to the employer through higher insurance premiums. To save money, some employers dispute claims. Common tactics are to claim that:
- The employee was not on the job at the time of an accident.
- The real cause of an injury or illness is a pre-existing condition.
- The injury does not require medical care or should not require the employee to miss work.
- The employee is an independent contractor and not eligible for benefits.
An injured employee must request a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Commission to fight a disputed benefits claim.
Approved benefits are too low.
Workers’ compensation benefits should include reimbursement for all medical expenses, and payments to replace a portion of lost wages during a temporary disability. Workers’ compensation also compensates employees who suffer a permanent partial or total disability, or disfigurement. A doctor who is approved by an insurance company determines the employee’s degree of disability or disfigurement, which ultimately decides the benefit amount. An employee who disagrees must ask for a hearing and present evidence to counter the physician’s opinion.
Doctor orders return to work too soon.
The insurance company-approved doctor also determines if and when an injured employee is ready to return to work, at which point workers’ comp benefits end. An improper decision can push a worker into a job he or she is not ready to perform or a workload that is unsustainable over the long-term. This may lead to failures that jeopardize the continued employment of a worker who has already cost the company money through a workers’ comp claim. But, again, the assigned doctor’s opinion carries the day unless the employee can get it reversed in an appeals hearing.
Contact an Experienced SC Workers’ Comp Attorney About Your Benefits
You don’t have to settle for the benefits of your employer and the insurance company offer for your workers’ comp claim. The workers’ comp attorneys at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., can help you get a benefits settlement that is appropriate for your needs and includes any disability or disfigurement you have suffered.
Call our Manning office now or use our online contact form to set up a no-cost claim review and talk with one of our lawyers for free.