Were you injured on the job in Anderson, South Carolina? Do you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim? Good news! You’re not alone! At KMD Lawyers, our workers’ compensation attorneys have heard every question there is, and we’re prepared to offer a free consultation to make sure that your questions get answered. In the mean time, here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we hear every day:
- How do I report my work related injury?
- How do I start my workers’ compensation claim?
- Who is going to help me pay my medical expenses?
- Can I see my regular family physician for my injuries?
- How am I going to pay my regular bills and buy groceries?
- Do I need an attorney to help with my workers’ compensation claim?
Q: How Do I Report My Work Related Injury?
A: As soon as an injury occurs, you need to report it to your employer. If it is an emergency situation, then you may need to seek immediate medical treatment, first. However, you must report the injury as soon as possible. Legally, you have 90 days to report a work-related injury, but doing so as quickly as you can is the best way to prevent any arguments about when, where, and how the injury actually occurred. You need to report the injury in writing and keep a copy for your own records. Typically, this will be done with an incident report from your employer, and you will both sign and date both copies of the report of injury.
Q: How Do I Start My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A: In most cases, once you report your work related injury to your employer, with an incident report, your employer will then assist you with initiating the workers’ compensation claim process. They do so by submitting that incident report to the workers’ compensation insurance company that provides coverage to their employees.
If your employer does not help you in this way, there may be a few reasons for this. The employer might think that your injury is not work related. The employer might wish to avoid filing a workers’ compensation claim to prevent their insurance rates from going up or to prevent further inspection into safety standards. The employer might not be familiar with the process, and may not know what their role is supposed to be. It doesn’t matter why, unless your injury doesn’t actually qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Whatever the case may be, if you have a valid workers’ compensation claim, and your employer does not provide assistance with this process, then you can initiate the claim yourself by collecting the appropriate forms from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Q: Who Is Going to Help Me Pay My Medical Expenses?
A: Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should provide medical benefits to cover your medical expenses after a work-related injury. This will include your initial emergency room visit (if emergency care is required), your follow up care from an approved physician, any surgeries or other medical procedures that are related to your work injury, any prescriptions that you require, any physical therapy, and any other medical needs that you may have that are directly related to your workplace injuries. You can even get coverage for your mileage to and from appointments as long as the round trip is ten miles or more.
Q: Can I See My Regular Family Physician for My Injuries?
A: Unfortunately, you cannot see any physician that you choose when you’ve been injured on the job. Unless your regular family physician also happens to be one of the company approved physicians, you will not be able to seek treatment from this doctor. Rather, you must approach your employer for a list of approved physicians from whom you are allowed to seek treatment and receive medical benefits for coverage. If you disagree with the physician’s assessment of your condition or treatment methods, you can request a second opinion from another approved physician by contacting your employer and/or the workers’ compensation insurance provider. They do not have to approve your request, however. If they do not, then you may need to speak to an Anderson, South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney and request a hearing to get the second opinion that you are seeking. Having said that, if your injury requires urgent treatment, you are allowed to go to the nearest emergency room, and this will be covered.
Q: How Am I Going to Pay My Regular Bills and Buy Groceries?
A: Many people who are injured at work find themselves unable to return to work as they recover from their injuries. In some cases, those injuries will lead to temporary or permanent disabilities that prevent you from returning to work at all. It is natural to feel a significant amount of stress concerning the sudden stop of income. The question of how an injured worker can pay their bills and provide for their family is thus an extremely common one, and you can rest assured that you are not alone in your fears. Workers’ compensation includes wage benefits to address this, though they will not fully replace your former income. Rather, they will be calculated at 2/3 of your former average weekly wage. You won’t receive them until your claim has been approved and you are out of work for at least seven days. If you are out of work for more than fourteen days, then the first seven days will also be covered.
If your claim is unfairly denied, and if you must fight for compensation, then you can receive back pay for all benefits that you should have received once your claim is finally approved. If you are able to return to work, but not at your full capacity, and if you do not make as much money as you used to, then you can still receive wage benefits at 2/3 of the difference between your former pay and your new lower pay. This applies to cases where your employer provides a light duty position that allows for your medical work restrictions. If your employer offers such a position, you are required to accept it or forfeit your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
Q: Do I Need an Attorney to Help with My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A: Not all workers’ compensation claims require the assistance of a dedicated Anderson, South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. Often, everything will go smoothly and you will receive the medical and wage benefits that you need. In cases where your claim is unfairly denied or where any other complications arise, you may need to seek the advice of a lawyer to move forward and successfully recover the benefits that you are owed. Further, if you have any questions about the specifics of your workers’ compensation claim, an attorney can answer them. Call KMD Lawyers to learn more about your workers’ compensation claim and how we can help.