What you do after you have suffered a work injury could determine whether you receive workers’ compensation. The law has very strict requirements for you to follow, and the failure to observe any one of them could hurt your claim. Here is what you should do after a work injury to improve your chances of receiving compensation.
Report the Injury to Your Employer
South Carolina law has strict requirements for when you must tell your employer about your injury. You have 90 days when you were hurt or noticed an illness or injury symptoms to notify your employer. Make sure that you follow all the rules that your employer may have for notification. Always keep documentation and proof that you gave this notice. File a written notice so that you can save a copy for yourself.
Speak to Your Colleagues
The employer may try to dispute what happened. After all, injuries on the job will raise their insurance rates. When you have witnesses to your accident who could testify that it occurred at work, the best thing is when you have witnesses to your accident. If nobody else witnessed the injury, you should speak to your colleagues as soon as possible and tell them about the injury. While it does not carry the same weight as the testimony of someone who saw the injury, it would help your claim if you told them immediately after the injury.
Fill Out an Injury Report
There is a form that you can fill out that reports your injury to OSHA. You can ask your employer for this form to let the government know of your injury. Filling it out can also help document what you told your employer. Your company may not want you to report your injury to OSHA because it invites scrutiny and a possible fine for them. However, you should insist on reporting the injury. You are better off having as many sources of documentation as possible.
See a Doctor
The basis of a workers’ compensation claim is that you suffered an injury. A doctor will need to diagnose the injury so that you can submit proof along with your claim. You may not have the ability to see your doctor. However, you may need to see the medical provider that your company’s insurance provider designates. Be careful to follow their rules because it could put your claim at risk otherwise.
Gather Your Documentation
Your workers’ compensation benefits will come after you file a claim with your company’s insurance provider. There are several grounds that they may use to reject your claim. They include:
- Your injury was not job-related
- You did not suffer an injury that entitles you to benefits
- You did not follow the procedural requirements
When you submit your claim, you will need enough evidence to keep the insurance company from using any of these excuses to deny you benefits. While fault is not a question in workers’ compensation cases, you may need some proof that you suffered the injury at work. This could come in the form of photographs or witness statements. If you cannot take the pictures or video yourself because of your injuries, try to have a co-worker get evidence for you.
In addition, you should show proof of your wages and provide your medical records that detail your injury. All of this should be kept in an orderly fashion to include as part of an effective claim.
Track Any Deadlines
There are two important deadlines for a workers’ compensation claim. First, there is a 90-day deadline to report the injury to your employer. In South Carolina, you also have two years when you are injured to file a workers’ compensation claim.
The notice and filing deadlines could present legal issues if your injury results from repetitive use or workplace exposure to toxic substances. In addition, your employer’s insurance carrier may try to argue that you were injured before the date that you said, and they could use this to try to deny benefits. Therefore, it is crucial to track any critical dates because missing them, even by a day, could keep you from qualifying for benefits.
Hire a Workers Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation claims are not always complex. There could be disputes about your eligibility for benefits or the amount that you can receive. In the meantime, you are dealing with an insurance company that could make your life difficult. You may be on safer ground when you hire a lawyer to help you with the process. It is even more critical to have legal help if your claim has been denied or if someone has died from their work injuries. Your attorney could work to protect your legal rights and work for you to obtain every penny you are entitled to under the law.
An attorney may also help you learn about your legal rights. The workers’ compensation system can be confusing, and there is little room to forgive any errors that you may make on your own. It is better to be safe than sorry. Otherwise, you could find yourself dealing with a difficult appeals process.
Charleston Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The attorneys at the David Aylor Law Offices are experienced lawyers who know how to navigate the workers’ compensation claim process. We move your claim forward, so you could be in a better position to receive the benefits that you critically need. Call us today at (843) 744-4444 or contact us online to receive your free case evaluation and get the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have professional knowledge and expertise on your side.
How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In South Carolina, you have two years from the date you were injured or should have known of your injury.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
There is no legal requirement, but it will certainly help your claim.
Can I Be Denied Benefits?
Insurance companies routinely deny benefits when they think that people do not meet requirements for compensation.