The process of obtaining workers’ compensation can be long and complex, not to mention frustrating for workers who have suffered an injury and are unable to work. One means of settling a workers’ compensation matter is by attending an informal conference.
An informal conference is an opportunity for you, your lawyer, a representative from your employer, and a representative from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to meet and discuss settling a workers’ compensation claim. However, insurance companies and employers sometimes use these conferences to intimidate injured workers and to encourage them to accept a low settlement for their injuries.
A Charleston workers’ compensation informal conference lawyer could be an extremely useful resource during an informal conference to help ensure that you receive appropriate benefits and compensation for a workplace injury. Contact a workers’ compensation attorney if you need guidance navigating the crucial process of obtaining a settlement in South Carolina.
Process of an Informal Conference
Workers’ compensation provides injured workers a means of covering their medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term disability expenses as a result of a workplace accident. According to S.C. Code §42-1-160A, a worker is generally entitled to receive compensation for any injury or accident arising out of and in the course of employment.
In a nutshell, an informal conference is an opportunity for all parties involved in a workers’ compensation claim, as well as a Charleston workers’ compensation informal conference attorney representing the injured worker, to meet and discuss that claim. During an informal conference, either the commissioner or a representative from the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Commission reviews a worker’s medical reports as well as that worker’s current benefits.
The meeting may determine if a worker is healthy enough to return to work if they suffered a permanent disability and otherwise ensures they are receiving all the benefits and compensation to which they are entitled. In an ideal scenario, all parties involved can use this conference to ensure the worker is being treated fairly and obtains a fair agreement and settlement. For more information about the informal conference process, contact a well-established attorney.
What happens if an informal conference fails?
If an informal conference does not resolve a workers’ compensation claim, the case could be scheduled to be heard before a judicial commissioner. Even if an agreement is reached, the Commission’s representative may determine that the settlement is not fair to all the parties and subsequently schedule a hearing before a judicial commissioner.
Benefits to Which a Charleston Worker is Entitled
An informal conference assesses whether a worker is receiving the appropriate compensation for their workplace injury, so it is important to understand what benefits are available under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation System. Workers’ compensation benefits generally fall into one of three broad categories:
- Payment for lost wages – a worker is entitled to collect an average weekly wage—meaning the average of their weekly earnings during the period of 52 weeks immediately preceding the date of the injury, up to a maximum of $838.21 per week—for the time they miss from work due to an injury
- Medical care – workers may be entitled to receive compensation to cover all necessary and appropriate medical care
- Permanent disability – workers may receive compensation for the permanent disability of a body part
An informal conference may determine the extent and impact of an injury, as well as which of these benefits a worker may be entitled to. In both of these respects, support from a workers’ compensation informal conference lawyer in Charleston may be helpful to an injured worker seeking a positive resolution to their case.
Contact a Charleston Workers’ Compensation Informal Conference Attorney
If you have suffered an injury in the workplace and were sent a notice of an informal conference, you may want to consider contacting a Charleston workers’ compensation informal conference lawyer before that meeting occurs. While an informal conference may not seem as important as a hearing before an administrative judge, an informal conference can be binding and may impact your right to receive fair and appropriate compensation for your injuries and losses. Talk to a local worker’s compensation attorney today who could help you pursue a favorable outcome for your health and future.