If you’re injured on the job, you likely have questions about workers compensation and what benefits are available to you to help you recover. The workers compensation experts at The Clardy Law Firm are here to help. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about workers compensation from cases we deal with on a regular basis.
Question 1: How long do I have to report my work injury for workers compensation?
In South Carolina, you only have 90 days to report your work injury, starting from the date you sustained the work injury or the date you were diagnosed with the work injury. Some injuries, like traumatic brain damage or carpal tunnel may be more difficult to diagnose and identify within this timeframe. That being said, the longer you wait to report any work injury, the less likely you’ll be able to get compensation. For circumstances that involve repetitive stress injuries, you’ll want to report to your employer as soon as you start noticing symptoms or immediately after you go to the doctor to get a diagnosis for your symptoms.
Question 2: How long do I have to file my workers compensation claim?
For the state of South Carolina, you have 2 years to file a workers compensation claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation. Note that filing your workers compensation claim is different from reporting your work injury to your employer and/or their insurance company! Know that you need to report your workers compensation claim to the Workers Compensation Claim Commission in Columbia, South Carolina in order to become eligible to receive workers compensation benefits for your work injury.
Question 3: What if my employer says the he/she/the company doesn’t have workers compensation insurance?
If your employer has more than 4 regularly employed employees, then he/she must have workers compensation insurance. If they don’t, there is a fund set up by the state to ensure you get workers compensation benefits. In exchange, your employer must then pay back the state, not you. You are still covered and eligible to receive workers compensation benefits for your injuries in the state of South Carolina for your work injury, but know that you may need a workers compensation attorney to help.
Question 4: My employer has me listed as an independent contractor, what do I do?
It depends on the situation. Some employers falsely believe that if they pay an employee under a 1099 form that it makes said employee an independent contractor. In the state of South Carolina, there is a test that can be used to determine if you’re indeed an employee or an independent contractor, based on how much control your employer has over you and your work. To sum up the test, the 4 factors that determine if you’re an employee include:
- Your employer exercises Direct Evidence of Right or Exercise of Control (meaning your employer sets up your work schedule, is able to tell you where to go, instructs you what to do, and other examples of exercising control over you as an employer)
- What method of payment is used to compensate you for your work (cash or check)
- Whether or not your employer provides you with tools or equipment (independent contractors are responsible for their own)
- Whether or not your employer has the right to fire you
Question 5: Who pays for my medical care and the treatment for my work injury?
If your workers compensation claim is accepted then the insurance company is responsible for your medical care and treatment. If you’re receiving an invoice following your medical treatment, then you need to look into why the insurance company isn’t covering your bills. If you’re going to the doctor that was recommended to you by the insurance company and you’re receiving a bill, you might need to consult a lawyer.
Question 6: Can I choose my own doctor?
If you want your workers compensation benefits to pay for the medical treatment for your work injury, no. You are required to go to the doctor that the insurance company chooses for you. Obviously, you have the freedom to choose your own doctor, just know that your workers compensation benefits might not pay your bills.
If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to call the workers compensation attorneys of The Clardy Law Firm to get the compensation you need to recovery from your work injury. Our lawyers are standing by to help ensure you get the coverage to heal and to answer all of your questions about your workers compensation case.