If you have suffered a repetitive trauma injury at your place of work, you may be wondering if you can claim workers’ compensation in Chester, South Carolina. Many insurance providers and employers try to deny your benefits if the claim arises from repetitive stress or repetitive trauma in the workplace. Without an experienced attorney, your claim can be difficult to prove.
Is Repetitive Trauma Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Chester, S.C.?
In short, yes. Under South Carolina Code 42-1-172, repetitive trauma injury is the gradual onset of an injury that is characteristically the result of the snowballing effects of repetitive activities. For it to be considered an injury you may be compensated for, the Workers’ Compensation Commission must make a specific finding of fact by preponderance of the evidence of a connection that can be established by medical proof regarding your repetitive activities that occurred while you were working in your regular duties.
To meet this preponderance of the evidence, the Commission will require you to seek an expert opinion or testimony that states that your injuries were caused by your duties at work.
What Are the Most Common Repetitive Trauma Injuries Experienced by Chester, SC, Employees?
The most common form of repetitive strain is carpel tunnel syndrome. This may be caused by any job hazard, such as repetitive use of tools like screwdrivers and hammers, typing on the computer, or even using a jack hammer. Carpal tunnel can result in permanent pain in your wrists, hands, and arms, and may even lead to neck, back, and leg injuries depending on your duties. Without the right treatment, this type of trauma can become permanent and irreversible.
The kinds of on-the-job activities that tend to lead to repetitive stress include:
- Stocking shelves
- Administrative work
- Playing musical instruments
- Working in construction
Deadline for Filing for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina
To file a claim for workers’ compensation in Chester, South Carolina, for your repetitive trauma, you must give notice of your condition within 90 days of discovering the repetitive trauma. Overall, workers’ compensation benefits may be barred unless you file your claim with the Commission within 2 years after you knew or should have been aware that your injury was one for which you could be compensated.
The claim should, however, be filed no more than 7 years after the last date of exposure to the injury, even if you knew that your repetitive trauma resulted from your on-the-job duties.
Due to this strict standard, it is important to act within the time frame and work with an experienced Chester workers’ compensation attorney who will help you seek fair compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina
Who decides if you can work or not?
Once you discover your repetitive trauma injury, you should notify your employer or supervisor, and complete a written report. You can also request medical attention. Your employer’s compensation insurance provider will send you to their chosen physician who will determine whether or not you can return to work in your full capacity or if you will need to work with restrictions, or not return to work at all. If the doctor does assign work restrictions and your employer is unable to accommodate these, you are essentially out of work.
How will you pay your bills if you cannot return to work?
If you experience an injury at work, your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance and send you to the authorized doctor. If all of this is in place, then you may be entitled to weekly benefits if you meet certain criteria.
When can you expect your benefits to begin?
Under the laws in Chester, South Carolina, you will not receive payment for the first seven days that you are off from work. In you are off for 8 – 13 days, you will then be paid for the number of days out of work, except for those first seven days.
For instance, if you miss ten days due to your repetitive trauma injury, then you will receive benefits for just three of those days. However, if you miss fourteen days or more, you will receive benefits for all the days missed from work.
How much compensation will you receive?
Workers in South Carolina are entitled to two-thirds of the average salary wage which is calculated from the gross earnings your employer has paid you during the four business quarters before the quarter in which the injury occurred. This is referred to as a compensation rate.
For instance, if you earned a gross amount of $300 per week prior to tax, every week for the past year (or four quarters), you will most likely receive benefits of $200 each week. Your workers’ compensation attorney will be able to verify the total amount of benefits you should receive and also collect all the required documentation to ensure your rate of compensation is accurately calculated. If you are working a second job you may be able to combine your wages to increase your compensation rate.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chester, S.C.
If you are experiencing a repetitive trauma injury as a result of your work duties, our team at Elrod Pope has years of experience collecting the benefits workers deserve. Without the help of an experienced attorney, proving your repetitive trauma and claiming compensation can be a difficult task. Do not go it alone. Contact one of our Chester, South Carolina, attorneys today.
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.