While on-the-job accidents are common in workplaces across South Carolina, very few people actually prepare for what they will do if they are involved in such an accident. Workplace accidents often result in much confusion regarding what steps need to be taken once medical care has been provided.
You need to know that while you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in most workplace accident cases in South Carolina, you need to do certain things to preserve and exercise your rights. Land, Parker & Welch, P.A. provides the following information as a helpful step-by-step guide to helping you recover the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury on the job in South Carolina, do not hesitate to contact our firm. We understand how to successfully file a claim for benefits and ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
Our firm has have helped families in communities throughout Clarendon County, Sumter County, and Williamsburg County. Call (803) 339-1503 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured at Work
Report the injury to your employer
You need to report your injury to your employer within 90 days or you could lose your right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. When you submit your report, try to get it in writing with a date so you can make a copy for your records. Make sure that you describe the extent of your injury.
If there is a disagreement about whether an injury occurred because of an accident on the job, you may need to file either a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission Form 50, Employee’s Notice of Claim and or Request for Hearing, or a Form 52, Employee’s Notice of Claim and/or Request for Hearing, Death Case. Filing a Form 50 or Form 52 will serve as notice of a claim, but the employer must report an injury to their insurance company within 10 days of notice of the injury.
Get the names and contact info of witnesses
If other co-workers or third parties saw your accident, be sure that you know their names and contact information. These individuals can be valuable witnesses in cases in which liability may be disputed.
If you do not know the co-workers particularly well, you can still ask them if they will be willing to provide their phone numbers. Even if some people refuse to give their names and numbers to you, an attorney may still be able to determine their identities when accidents were caught on video.
Take photos and make notes about what happened
While you are at the scene of your accident, try to use some kind of camera (the one usually found on cell phones will work fine) to take as many pictures as possible of everything involved in the accident. You want to do this before the accident scene is cleaned up and evidence disappears.
Try to take photographs from multiple angles and distances. Again, you should take as many pictures as you can, as you will never be told that you took too many. Photographs can be especially valuable forms of evidence in many workers’ compensation cases.
Get closeups of certain kinds of damage, but also be sure to get wider angle shots that take in the whole scene. Also, take pictures of your own injuries before they have time to heal.
Seek immediate medical attention
Always makes sure you get medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident on the job – even when you do not think you were seriously hurt. Many injuries have delayed symptoms and going to hospital days or weeks after the accident can cause all sorts of complications with workers’ compensation claims. Some insurance companies may claim that your injuries are not compensable because they were not properly treated, while other insurers may argue that you are exaggerating your injury claims.
Keep in mind that workers’ compensation only covers medical treatment provided by the employer’s selected doctor. Victims are entitled to all necessary medical treatment that is likely to lessen their disability, and workers’ compensation in South Carolina will pay for prescription drugs, surgery, medical supplies, hospitalization, and prosthetic devices.
Keep records of all medical treatment
As soon as you begin receiving medical treatment, make sure that you are able to file all of your medical records somewhere safe. You will want to keep these readily available in case you begin receiving health care from a new provider. Having these records easily available for a new provider will allow them to better understand the nature of your condition and the treatment you have received so that you can continue to get the best possible treatment for your injury.
If your provider uses electronic health records, you may still be able to print out the information to keep for your own records. Try to retain copies of imaging test results such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scans) often stored digitally on DVDs, operative report(s) in surgery cases, and discharge summaries.
If you are nervous about asking for medical records, you should make sure that you turn to a lawyer for assistance with such issues. Remember that you have a right to your own medical records guaranteed under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Get Free Legal Advice from an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney
Did you sustain a catastrophic injury or was your loved one killed in an accident at work in South Carolina? If so, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure that your right to benefits is protected. It could be the most important call you’ll make, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help as soon as you are able to after a workplace accident.
Land, Parker & Welch, P.A. has been helping people injured in workplace accidents for more than three decades. You can have our South Carolina workers’ comp attorneys review your case as soon as you call (803) 339-1503 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.