The specifics of your case and the mindset of your employer and their insurance company will determine when workers’ compensation offers a settlement. More specifically, a settlement may come after:
- You have reported the injury to your employer within the legal deadline.
- You have received a medical evaluation and treatment from a doctor of your employer’s choosing.
- Your employer and their insurance company have evaluated your claim’s worth, which includes assigning a rating for disability or scarring.
- The insurance company has decided that you are entitled to benefits.
How Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Paid?
As the Social Security Administration (SSA) explains, four types of workers’ compensation payments are available in South Carolina. Some allow you to receive a lump-sum payment for your injuries; others, such as lifetime benefits related to severe disabilities, cannot be paid as a lump sum.
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How do I Seek a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
Receiving workers’ compensation benefits depends on your taking prompt action following the injury. Per the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC), you must:
- Report the injury to your employer within 90 days.
- Make sure your employer has reported the injury to their insurance company.
- File a claim with the SCWCC if your employer does not report your injury for any reason.
A workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm can help you with all of these steps. We can also calculate how much money your injury is worth based on how serious it is (e.g., permanent injuries are generally worth more than temporary ones) and how it will affect your career and health.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation
An employee may apply for workers’ compensation after suffering an on-the-job injury or being diagnosed with an illness they contracted while on the job. According to S.C. Ann. § 42-1-160, such injuries include:
- Any physical injury “arising out of and in the course of employment” (i.e., the injury resulted from you performing your regular duties)
- Certain occupational illnesses
- Mental stress or illness
Note that because it is often difficult to prove your job caused a mental health condition, you may benefit from legal representation if you did not also suffer a physical injury. Our team can discuss your specific circumstances during a free case review.
What Goes Into a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
Workers’ compensation allows you to recover benefits for financial and physical losses, such as:
- Medical care: Any care you need to treat your injury or improve your quality of life should be covered.
- Loss of wages: You are entitled to up to two-thirds of your regular weekly wage, excluding the first seven days you missed work. If you miss more than 21 days, you will also receive compensation for the first seven days.
- Disability: Any loss of physical or intellectual ability could entitle you to additional benefits.
- Disfigurement: Serious scarring may entitle you to compensation, especially if the scars are on the face, head, or neck.
However, as the SCWCC explains, medical treatments must be approved by the insurance company and received through whatever doctor your employer chooses.
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What If My Claim is Denied?
If your employer or their insurance company believes that your injury did not occur while you were on the job performing your regular duties, they may deny your claim. Also, they may discontinue benefits if their medical professional says you are fit to go back to work, even if you do not believe you are ready to return.
Our workers’ compensation attorney can help you seek an appropriate settlement by:
- Calculating a fair payout: It is important to understand the true value of your case. This way, the insurance company cannot get away with offering less than you deserve.
- Getting all the paperwork in order: A clerical error from either side can unnecessarily delay your case. Having our team on your side minimizes the chance of such a mistake.
- Strengthening your case: Evidence from witness statements, accident reports, and more can prove that you deserve workers’ compensation benefits.
- Meeting with the other side: We can sit down to discuss your case with the employer or insurance company and their representatives. We may even be able to organize a satisfactory agreement to end your case as soon as possible.
- Answer your questions: Getting workers’ compensation is not always as simple as it should be. A lawyer can explain how the process works, what is happening with your case, and how to fight for the financial support you need.
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We Can Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Even if the workers’ compensation insurer offers a settlement, the terms of the agreement may represent the company’s interests, not yours. Call Hammack Law Firm at (864) 326-3333 for a free case review today. As Deborah, one of our workers’ compensation clients, so kindly put it, “I could have not asked for a better law firm to defend me.”