Injured workers who are still recovering many months after their accident may not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim immediately following their injury. That is why in the state of South Carolina, the statute of limitations states that injured workers have two years to file their claim with the State Workers’ Compensation Commission. Failure to file for Spartanburg, SC Workers’ Comp benefits during that time will result in a loss of benefits.
It may seem that filing a workers’ comp claim in Spartanburg, South Carolina, would be a straightforward task that would not have any complications attached to it. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to file a claim and have it approved for benefits. It is even more complex when the victim is involved in a life-altering accident that leaves them unable to perform everyday tasks for themselves.
Missing the deadline to file for benefits after a work-related injury is just one of the mistakes that many people make after an accident. Here are a few more common errors made by injured employees seeking workers’ compensation in Spartanburg, so that you will know what to avoid when filing your own claim.
1. Failure to Inform An Employer
In the state of South Carolina, the law requires employees to give notice to their employer within 90-days after their workplace incident. Failure to give notice by the deadline could cause the injured worker to lose their right to collect workers’ comp benefits.
Some injured employees fail to give notice to their employers either because of their circumstances following the accident or due to the belief that the company physician who sees them will inform their employer. This is a mistake that could cause someone to lose their benefits. Any time an employee has an accident while at work, it is their responsibility to alert their employer right away. Whether they do it themselves or have a co-worker locate the employer and tell them, it is crucial that the person in charge knows about it. If the immediate supervisor of the injured employee is unavailable, another person in charge may accept the notice. This can include a manager, human resource manager or any other person designated to be over the area where the injured employee works.
2. Thinking An Injury or Health Issue is from A Pre-Existing Condition
Many times, an injured employee may already have a medical condition that occurred before they began working for the company. For example, a worker who had a bad back long before they worked for their current company may believe that they won’t receive any workers’ comp benefits. When they endure an injury at work that causes additional issues with their back, they may not even bother filing a claim.
The truth is that employees with past illnesses or injuries are still eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits and have every right to file a claim. If the individual suffers a work-related injury that causes aggravation to their pre-existing condition, or if their pre-existing condition complicates their current work injury, they still have a compelling case and should go through the process of filing a work injury claim to receive compensation for medical bills or loss of wages.
3. The Injured Employee Received Unauthorized Medical Care
It is important that all employees injured at work receive medical care as soon as possible following their accident. In South Carolina, the laws for workers’ compensation benefits allows payment for all medical bills as well as any travel expenses incurred related to doctor visits. Unlike private health care insurance, there is no deductible to meet, which is good news for the injured.
However, to receive this medical care, the injured worker must go to the health care provider chosen and authorized by their employer or their workers’ compensation insurance provider. Failure to see an authorized physician may result in the employee paying for their own medical bills.
4. Not Receiving an Independent Medical Exam
While the injured worker must see an authorized physician to receive compensation for their medical care, it is also important for them to get a second opinion or an IME (Independent medical examination), especially if the injured person doesn’t agree with the conclusion provided by the medical professional chosen by their employer.
The purpose of an IME is to reach an objective determination about the injured worker’s current condition. Another reason to obtain an IME is if the authorized doctor finds that the employee’s injury isn’t due to their job, or if the employee disagrees with the medical provider’s diagnosis or their treatment plan.
The employer or the insurance company must be willing to cover the costs of an IME, however, if they refuse to pay, it could still be useful for the employee to pay for the cost of an IME out of their own pocket, especially if the second doctor finds proof that could help their case.
5. Failure to Analyze All Their Legal Options
When employees receive notice of a denial of benefits, many will give up on their case and refuse to take it any further. That is the biggest mistake of all. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to prevent paying out benefits and will often deny a claim for frivolous reasons. That is why it is so important that injured workers do not ignore a claim denial and instead seek the help of a trusted legal team.
There are so many options out there that those without a professional legal background could not know for certain that their case isn’t worth a second try. Injured workers could receive additional forms of compensation such as a recovery of all their losses, not just a percentage of them.
Contact Bryan Ramey, P.A. for Help With Your Denied Workers’ Comp Claim
Bryan Ramey, P.A. has over 25 years of experience working on workers’ comp cases in South Carolina. Let our legal team help you with your case today by giving them a call for a FREE case review.
Bryan Ramey is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in the upstate of South Carolina. He graduated from The University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 27 years now. Bryan Ramey believes in representing the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.