Workplace injuries frequently happen in the Charleston area as our highly dynamic and thriving economic community and industrial region continues to rely on a skilled workforce. Many jobs leave men and women working near potentially hazardous conditions and industrial equipment on a daily basis. Many times the most severe and most common on-the-job injuries are caused by machine hazards.
To make matters worse, devastating job injuries are often inadequately compensated under the Workers Compensation laws. This is one reason it’s important to contact a law firm immediately after suffering a workplace injury. With careful analysis, we’re able to identify possible methods to obtain proper compensation and payment of bills. We’re also able to help you navigate the laws and determine whether a third party might share in the responsibility for the injury.
As with most construction accidents, car accidents, office injuries, or any other on-the-job accidents, it’s not always clear if the injured party will be given worker’s compensation. Contact us today for guidance and help.
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Commuting to and from work is not considered a part of the job, and therefore injuries sustained while commuting are generally not covered by workers compensation laws. However, if an employee is injured when driving while conducting company business, such an injury likely falls within the workers compensation laws thereby entitling the injured employee to proper benefits.
Workers compensation laws cover most injuries that occur to an employee at the workplace, with some narrow exceptions. Generally, therefore, an injured employee is entitled to appropriate benefits. Benefits can include payment of medical expenses, a portion of salary, and a settlement award if the employee suffers a permanent injury. Benefits begin almost immediately after the injury, provided the employee follows proper legal requirements. To assure proper compliance it is always sound advice to consult with knowledgeable counsel immediately so as protect legal rights and remedies.
Workers compensation laws may cover extra and unusually strenuous work, which causes heart problems. Medical proof will be required, and this is an example of the need for competent workers compensation legal counsel who can assist in careful analysis of the situation for the employee’s benefit. Generally, however, workers compensation laws do not routinely cover pre-existing health problems; such laws are intended to benefit employees who are actually injured on the job while performing duties incident to the job.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about Barrow Law Firm or Workers’ Compensation cases? Consult our FAQ’s below, and then contact us directly for additional clarification. We are more than pleased to address any of your Workplace Injuries questions or concerns.
What is Worker’s Compensation?
Worker’s Compensation is the mechanism by which injured employees can receive partial compensation for injuries that occur on the job. Every state has its own laws, primarily set so that the injured employee can receive some funding to use for his personal expenses in lieu of a salary and relatively quickly after an injury. The downside is that there are substantial limitations on the amount of money that an injured employee can recover.
Do I have to prove fault?
Normally, the employee does not have to prove that the employer is at fault. All he has to do is prove that he is hurt and that the accident occurred on the job while he was performing duties incident to the job. If he was not on the job, then of course he is not entitled to worker’s compensation benefits.
What am I entitled to receive?
After a workplace injury occurs, the injured party may be entitled to receive the following:
- Two-thirds of his salary while he’s out of work. These benefits are capped, but the limitations change each year on January 1st and usually increase. See below for more information.
- Medical bills that are related to the accident are paid by worker’s comp.
- Permanent injuries can result in a settlement award based on the severity of the injury and the part of his body that got hurt. For instance, an amputated finger is owed a smaller amount than if the injured employee lost his whole hand.
When the injured party returns to work, he is owed his full salary again.
Are there salary limitations?
As mentioned in the previous question, laws change each year in regards to the maximum amount an injured worker may receive while off the job recuperating from his job injury. Let’s use this example to explain salary limitations:
A person might make $1,500/week, so 2/3 of that salary is $1,000. However, there are limitations on the amount of compensation, known as the “compensation rate”, and as of January 1, 2013, the maximum compensation rate is around $743, up from $725 the previous year. In this example, the injured employee is not entitled to the full 2/3 of his pre-injury salary; he will only receive $743.
When should I start to receive salary benefits?
Once the injured employee is out of work for seven days, benefits are required to start, and the benefit checks are generally paid directly to the employee. Sometimes this process is delayed when employers question whether the employee was on the job or performing duties associated with the job, thus creating a legal issue as to whether the employee is entitled to receive worker’s compensation benefits.
If this happens to you, contact Barrow Law Firm immediately. Proper legal representation is needed to assure that evidence is preserved and that your case is handled appropriately.
How are medical expenses handled?
Medical expenses are usually paid directly by the worker’s compensation insurance company to the employee’s healthcare providers.
However, limitations apply. The worker’s comp insurance company has a right to choose the doctor except in an emergency. Even in that situation, once the employee is stabilized from a medical point of view, the worker’s comp insurance company may choose a different doctor thereafter, and may also choose to deny certain modalities of medical care.
For example, if the employee suffers a back injury a question may arise as to whether or not a surgery is needed; generally, if the proposed surgery will likely make the employee better, then the insurance company will likely authorize the surgery. In the event of a dispute about the advisability of a given modality of medical treatment, however, the Worker’s Compensation Commission can be asked to intervene and order the insurance company to pay for appropriate medical care.
What happens when the injury is permanent?
If the worker sustains a permanent injury to the body, then usually the worker’s attorney will be able to negotiate a beneficial settlement award. For example, if the employee suffers a permanent arm injury while at work that results in a 20% impairment of function, the injured employee would be entitled to a settlement based on the 20% loss.
Are settlements reached quickly?
One of the advantages to the workers compensation system is that the injured employee is usually entitled to receive benefits within a short period of time after the injury. The employee is not required to prove fault on the part of the employer, or that the employer failed to provide a safe place to work. The injured employee must only demonstrate that the injury occurred while on the job and in the course of performing duties incident to the employment.
What is your experience with Worker’s Compensation cases?
Elliott Barrow and the Barrow Law Firm have been representing injured workers in the worker’s compensation context for more than 30 years. Barrow Law Firm also is experienced in analyzing the possibility of bringing separate claims for injured workers who have suffered job injuries caused by third parties such as negligent motorists or manufacturers of dangerous machinery.
What can I expect in my initial consultation?
When you meet with our firm, we will gather information from you to assist us in analyzing your legal divorce challenges. Specifically, we will:
- Investigate the circumstances of your situation
- Apply legal principles to the results of the investigation
- Provide a case evaluation
- Explain whether we believe you have a valid claim or defense
- Work with you to develop a plan of action to achieve your goals
The entire process normally takes an hour, and by the end of our consultation we will have, an understanding of all pertinent issues, those that can be resolved by agreement and those that may require mediation or litigation. A plan of action will be developed, and financial arrangements will be made.
How can I contact you?
We welcome you to contact our staff at our office during our business hours below. However, if you have an immediate request, please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form.
Barrow Law Firm
1051 Chuck Dawley Blvd
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
843.352.1440 (phone) | 877.434.4404 (toll free)
Mon – Fr: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sat: By Appointment
Sun: By Appointment