Regardless of company size, most employers are required by law to have policies in place to help keep their workplaces safe. However, even with best safety practices in place, accidents can still occur. It is in these situations that workers’ compensation comes into play.
Whether you are a business owner or an employee seeking workers’ compensation, it is important that you know what workers’ compensation is, how it works, and how long a claim can stay open.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
The purpose of workers’ compensation insurance is for businesses to aid their employees if they are injured or become ill as a result of their job.
Workers’ compensation may cover the following:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary total compensation for lost time
- Permanent disability benefits
- Funeral expenses
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you are injured or become ill as a result of your job, the first thing you should do is report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. By law, you have up to 2 years to file a claim before it is barred by the statute of limitations. However, to ensure you get all the benefits you deserve, you must notify your employer within 90 days of the incident.
After your report is made, your employer should file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission within ten days. If a claim is not filed on your behalf or you disagree with the claim, you and your attorney can file a claim directly with the Commission.
How Long Can a Workers’ Compensation Claim Remain Open?
In most cases, the insurance company will work to close the claim as quickly as possible. They will often offer a lump settlement sum to close the claim. Once an amount is agreed to by both the insurance company and the employee, payments are generally made within two months.
However, a medical claim can be opened indefinitely if needed, depending on how long it takes for an injured worker to fully recover from their injuries. While most claims are resolved, some claims requiring lifetime medical care must be left open.
In other cases, such as temporary total disability, claims may remain open and regular benefits will be paid out until your doctor releases you. If you are partially or totally permanently disabled, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation. In these situations, claims may remain open for up to 500 weeks. Paraplegics, quadriplegics, and brain-damaged employees may receive benefits for life.
File Your Claim Today
Our dedicated team at Elrod Pope Law Firm has years of experience dealing with workers’ compensation claims. Contact us today for a consultation to learn how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I See My Own Doctor?
You must see the doctor selected by your employer or their insurance company. If you go to another doctor, your medical care will not be covered by your benefits claim.
How are Lost Wages Determined?
You will be compensated at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage based on the four quarters prior to your injury.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
You are eligible for workers’ compensation unless you are a corporate officer, an employee of railway express, a federal employee working in South Carolina, an agricultural worker employed at a business with less than four employees, a temporary employee, or a realtor in some situations.