Lawyer Carter Martling Columbia SC

Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Most of the questions we receive have been addressed at one time or another throughout our years of practicing law. However, each case is different and we strongly advise you to contact us to further investigate your rights. For an overview of some of our most-asked questions, read below in our FAQ.

Q: What’s the first thing I should do if I’m injured on the job?

A: Report your injury! Although South Carolina law gives injured workers 90 days to give notice of an accident to their employer, the best practice is to do so as soon as possible. The longer you wait to tell someone at work that you’ve been injured, the more likely your claim is to be denied.  Failure to report an injury in a timely manner will almost always be used by the insurance company and their representatives to cast doubt on your claim.  If your injury is not the result of an accident but of repetitive trauma, you must report your condition within 90 days of suspecting that it was caused by your work.  This usually means after receiving a diagnosis by your doctor.
 

Q: If I can’t work because of a job injury, what benefits might I be entitled to?

A: First and foremost, you are entitled to medical treatment and weekly benefits to compensate you while you are out of work. While you are recovering, your employer must provide for you any medical treatments which would tend to lessen your period of disability. Once treatment has been exhausted and you are either able to return to work then you may be entitled to a monetary award based on your specific injury. If you cannot return to work or you if can, however your earning capability has been permanently diminished, you may be entitled to an award of permanent disability.
 

Q: How do I go about receiving the medical treatment I need after my work injury?

A: In South Carolina, the employer has the right to direct your medical treatment in an accepted workers’ compensation claim.  This does not, however, mean that you cannot receive a second opinion or additional medical treatments if you think they are necessary.  If you’ve been injured on the job and do not feel the insurance company is providing you with adequate treatment, stick up for yourself!  An insurance adjuster’s job is to process your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible.  Your job is to get healthy and be able to provide for yourself and your family just as you did before your accident.  If you don’t feel you are receiving the medical treatment you need, you are not without recourse.
 

Q:The insurance company denied my workers’ compensation claim, what are my rights?

A: You have the right to have your claim heard before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to determine whether or not your claim was rightfully denied.  An insurance adjuster’s job is to protect the financial interests of the insurance company.  If you are told that your case is not compensable under the law, don’t take that at face value.  Have your case reviewed by a knowledgeable professional who can either help you fight for your rights if your case is wrongfully denied or give you an unbiased, outside opinion that will put you at ease and help you understand if your denial was proper.
 

Q: What if I’m not able to make the same amount of money after my work injury?

A: If a work related accident renders you unable to earn the same wages as before you were injured, South Carolina law may offer you a potential remedy.  Many people are willing and able to return to the work force after a work related injury but find themselves unable to make the money they were accustomed to thanks to diminished skills or physical limitations.  An experienced professional can help guide you through this often complex legal dilemma.
 

Q: If my workers’ compensation claim is denied, will I have to go to court?

A:  If your workers’ compensation is denied you have a right to a hearing before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.  While technically not a trial, these hearings are very similar in nature and require extensive preparation and expertise.  The insurance company will have a skilled and experienced attorney at the hearing representing their best interests and so should you.
 

Q: The insurance adjuster says I’m ready to return to work after my job injury, what are my rights?

A:  Whether or not you are ready to return to work is a matter for your doctor to decide and may depend on the type of work your employer has available to you.  Many employers are willing and able to provide light or restricted duty work to employees who may not yet be ready to return to their regular job, but many do not.  Whether or not you are ready to return to work will depend on what your doctor says you can do and what work your employer has available.
 

Q: In South Carolina, who is in charge of the workers’ compensation system?

A: The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission is a state run agency assigned with the task of overseeing the workers’ compensation system, formulating regulations, and resolving disputes between parties. The Commission is presided over by seven jurisdictional Commissioners appointed by the Governor to serve six year terms. These Commissioners cover the seven jurisdictional districts the state is divided in to on a rotating basis. The Commission is located at 1333 Main Street in Columbia, South Carolina.  For more information on the Commission, you can visit their website at www.wcc.sc.gov.
 

Q: I was hurt on the job but my employer says they do not have workers’ compensation insurance, what do I do?

A: In South Carolina, all companies with four or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you were injured on the job and were told that your employer is uninsured, you still have recourse. The state of South Carolina provides mechanisms to prevent injured workers from going without their rightful benefits in the case that their employer was not properly insured.
 

Q: My employer has asked me not to file a claim for my work injury and offered to take care of my medical bills, what should I do?

A: Be very careful of this scenario. Many times an employer will set out with good intentions after you get injured, but like everything else in life these days, and injury has a way of getting very expensive and that can change things in a hurry. The longer you wait to have an accident reported to an insurance company, the more likely it is to be denied.
 

Q: I was hurt on the job but I have a pre-existing condition/injury to the same body part, what are my rights?

A: Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits for an accident that impacts a previously injured body part. An aggravation of a pre-existing condition is compensable in South Carolina but is often the center of disputes between claimants and their employers.  Know your rights when you’ve had an accident and speak to a professional who can explain to you how your previous medical condition will come in to play.
 

Q: I think I need a lawyer to handle my workers’ compensation claim, how much will it cost?

A: Generally an injury lawyer will work on a contingency basis. In other words, if you don’t get paid then neither do we. Lawyers are paid out of the proceeds of any judgment or settlement that you may receive depending on the terms of your representation agreement. When meeting with a lawyer, these terms should be disclosed and explained to you in detail. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
 

Q: My work injury isn’t the result of an accident but from the repetitive nature of what I do, what are my rights?

A: The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Code provides remedies for workers’ who sustained injuries by repetitive use or trauma, however, this can be one of the more difficult conditions to prove and will therefore often be denied by the insurance company.  You have 90 days from the time you knew or should have known that your condition was caused by your work.  Beware though, just because the law provides you 90 days doesn’t mean you should wait to tell your doctor or supervisor.  The sooner and in more detail you document your condition, the greater your likelihood of success.
 

Q: If I have a criminal record, will it affect my workers’ compensation claim?

A: A criminal record should not have any bearing on your right to workers’ compensation benefits but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used against you.  Understanding how a criminal record may come in to play when involved in a workers’ compensation claim can be essential to obtaining the best results possible.
 

Q: I was injured on the job but I’m afraid if I file a claim that I will be fired, what can I do?

A: If your injury progresses to a point where you can’t work then you will likely be terminated anyway.  Most employers will try and do right by an injured employee but situations have a way of changing once medical bills start to add up.  Documenting your injury, even if you don’t file a claim, is the best way to protect yourself against uncertainty.
 

Q: I was hired in South Carolina but hurt while working in another state, where should I file my claim?

A: South Carolina workers’ compensation law provides several determining factors regarding the proper venue for an injury claim.  Since all fifty states have their own set of complex workers’ compensation laws, the issue of where your claim should be heard is imperative to anyone whose employment spans over multiple states.  If you are unsure as to where your claim should be pursued, seek out professional advice and protect your rights.
 

Q: I suffered burns/scars from a work accident, if I am able to return to work am I entitled to anything?

A: Even when a scar, burn, or other disfigurement doesn’t prevent you from performing your job, you may still be entitled to compensation.  The nature of the disfigurement, along with its severity and location on your body, will be the determining factors regarding your possible entitlement to compensation.




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