Workers who suffer an injury in the workplace are generally entitled to a broad range of benefits under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act. An important part of many workers’ compensation claims is attending an informal conference.
An informal conference, also known as a viewing, is an opportunity for all the parties involved in a workers’ compensation claim to get together and review a worker’s injuries, their capacity to work, and whether the worker has a permanent disability. In addition, an informal conference is an opportunity for a worker to ensure they are receiving all the benefits they may be entitled to under South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws.
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim and are about to proceed to an informal conference, you may want to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. A seasoned lawyer could answer the question, “What is an informal conference in Port of Charleston?” Furthermore, they could represent your interests in any ensuing meetings.
Who is Present at an Informal Conference?
South Carolina Regulation 67-202 (9) defines an informal conference as “a meeting with the claimant, the employer’s representative, and a Commissioner or claims mediator.” At an informal conference, there would be a representative from the employer representing that employer’s interest. This may be an attorney, or it may be a manager or director.
There would also be a representative from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission who would function as a mediator. Previously, this representative would review a worker’s injury rating as assigned by a treating physician, analyze any work restrictions, and question the worker about their injuries and pain. Thereafter, the representative could then suggest an award amount that the employer would pay.
However, the commissioner’s role in an informal conference in Port of Charleston changed in 2006. Currently, the representative from the Workers’ compensation commission functions as a mediator to ensure that any benefits agreed upon comport with South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws. The commission’s representative can also answer any questions either party has about a workers’ compensation claim.
Proceedings of an Informal Conference
During an informal conference, the commission’s representative could review a doctor’s report detailing a worker’s treatment. The commissioner would then ask the worker if their injury limited their physical activities and functionality. The representative also often observes a worker’s scars or disfigurements left from a workplace injury.
After reviewing this information, the parties are given an opportunity to reach a settlement amount for any permanent injuries. If the Commission’s representative agrees, they can make a recommendation for the form 16/16A.
This form would then be sent to a judicial commissioner to review. The Jurisdictional Commissioner either approve the settlement or schedules the claim for a hearing.
Why Turn to a Port of Charleston Attorney for Help with an Informal Conference?
Workers in Port of Charleston are not required to have an attorney represent them during an informal conference. However, a lawyer with broad experience in workers’ compensation cases could be prepared to ensure that you know exactly what an informal conference in Port of Charleston entails. They could also ensure you are not pressured by aggressive insurance company representatives to accept an unfairly low settlement for your injury and disability.