When workers get injured on the job, they often think workers’ compensation insurance will automatically cover them for their injuries. This isn’t always the case, though. Your employer may deny you were injured at work, or the insurance company may say you didn’t follow proper protocol and so are barred from pursuing a claim. These are just two of the situations in which your claim may be denied.
Many Insurance companies hope that after a denial, the injured worker will give up, thinking there’s nothing else they can do. This also isn’t always the case. There are many levels of appeal injured workers can try in order to claim the compensation they deserve. In some cases, they can even take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
The First Level of Appeal: The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
When you want to appeal a workers’ compensation denial, you must first send in a request for a hearing to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. To do this, you will have to pay $50 for the filing fee.
During this stage of appeal, only one commissioner will hear your case. The Commission may require you to be examined by a doctor first. The Commission will determine which doctor will perform the examination. At the hearing, you can also testify about your injuries, and how they’ve impacted your life and ability to work.
After considering your case, the commissioner will then issue an order. If you are denied again you can move to the second level of appeal.
The Second Level of Appeal: The Commission Review
The commission review differs from the first hearing because three commissioners instead of just one will listen to your case. In order to move to this level of appeal, you must send in a Request for Commission Review. You will also have to pay a $150 filing fee, although in some cases this can be waived. You must also make this request within 14 days of receiving the hearing commissioner’s order.
The Third Level of Appeal: The South Carolina Court of Appeals
If you disagree with the decision made at the commission review and still wish to pursue your claim, you will have to go to the South Carolina Court of Appeals. Here you will file a lawsuit that can help overturn the decision. You must do this within 30 days from the date of the commission review decision, or within 30 days after you send your receipt of a notice to the Commission, whichever is longer.
When filing this lawsuit, you must fully explain why you disagree with the commission review’s decision.
The Fourth Level of Appeal: The South Carolina Supreme Court
If your case continues to be denied up until this point, you can then appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court. This highest court in the state does not hear every case filed, so there is no guarantee you’ll have the chance to argue your case here.
Get Help with Your Appeal from a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been denied workers’ compensation, it’s important you understand all your options for appeal. It’s also just as important to understand that appealing any decision is often more complex than filing the initial claim. A qualified workers’ compensation lawyer in South Carolina can help you every step of the way.
At the Elrod Pope Law Firm, P.A., we are passionate about helping injured workers claim the compensation they rightfully deserve. If you’ve been hurt on the job, call us today at (803) 599-3080 to learn how we can help you file your claim and, if necessary, appeal the decision.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.