After receiving a serious workplace injury, your mind may be filled with questions. How do I file a workers’ compensation claim? How do I know if I am entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Charleston? What would my benefits package look like? A professional Charleston workplace injury attorney can help answer your questions while providing counsel on what your best options could look like for compensation. Read on to learn if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Charleston, as well as the benefits of retaining an expert Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer today.
Requirements for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Charleston, one must be an employee of a company that has workers’ compensation insurance and have been injured at their workplace or while they were away from work performing job-related duties. Examples of these duties can include delivery, telecommuting from home, or celebrating at a company function.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
In Charleston as well as all of South Carolina, there’s a Workers’ Compensation Act that’s in Title 42 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. The quasi-judicial body that administers the act is the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission made up of seven commissioners who decide these cases when they are in dispute.
In terms of meeting the requirements of the act, when someone is injured, they should report the accident right away. While the act only requires notice, know that a written notice hand-delivered with a witness is the best method to report an incident as part of the Charleston worker’s compensation claim process. In this way, if a safety manager or other supervisor states they forgot that an individual reported the accident, the injured worker has written proof of the accident to help prove their claim.
The Role of the Employer
There is no requirement that an employer be at fault for the circumstances that lead to a workplace injury in Charleston. Employees are still eligible for workers’ compensation benefits even if they did something to contribute to or cause the injury.
In Charleston, workers are not eligible for compensation for injuries that occur as a result of one’s commute to or from work. Only employees are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If an individual is a full-time, part-time, or seasonal employee, they are entitled to benefits in the case of a workplace injury. Independent contractors, consultants, and volunteers are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
It should be noted that if an employee intentionally hurts their self, were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or fighting with a fellow employee, they will most likely not be eligible for benefits. If an individuals feels that they have a claim under these circumstances because this behavior has been condoned at the workplace, then they should speak with a skilled Charleston worker’s compensation attorney to seek advice.
What Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Look Like in Charleston?
Charleston workers’ compensation benefits break into two main categories. The first includes disability and is referred to as loss of use, while the other covers medical care and treatment. When the injury occurs, the injured worker often cannot return to work, and so they go on what’s called temporary total disability benefits in the form of weekly checks that are paid two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly wage.
Temporary Partial Wage Loss
Individuals could also receive temporary partial wage loss after their injury, a circumstance where they are able to return to work but can only work fewer hours or receive a lower wage or a combination of the two. These individuals may be entitled to relief in terms of two-thirds of the difference between their pre-accident wage and their post-accident wage. During this time, they are able to receive treatment to recover from their injuries.
Maximum Medical Improvement
When an individual reaches maximum medical improvement, a doctor believes that more medical treatment cannot significantly improve an individual’s outcome. At that point, an attorney will look for future disability and medical benefit opportunities for the plaintiff. In this case, there are three potential benefit categories. While the first is permanent partial wage loss, the second includes total and permanent wage loss for an individual who is not able to return to work in any capacity. The third is known as future lifetime medical benefits, referring to any specific medical benefits recommended by the claimant’s physician for future use.
Reach Out to an Expert Charleston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured due to a workplace accident, a reliable Charleston workers’ compensation attorney can work to gather significant evidence for your case while acting as an aggressive advocate for your compensation. Contact a knowledgeable Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer today to set up your initial consultation.