Injured On The Job In South Carolina? What Should I Do Next?
- howellandchris   03-03-17
Below is a short list of the things that we would recommend you do right away and then contact your South Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyers with Howell & Christmas, to help you toll the statute of Limitations with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, put your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier on notice, get your medical care and treatment set up with the proper specialists for your injuries and help get you the maximum compensation rate that you are entitled to under South Carolina law.
- The first thing you should do after being injured on the job is to report your accident and injuries to your employer. In South Carolina, you must report your work-accident to the employer within ninety (90) days however, it is prudent to report your injury right away to your employer so there is no question as to what happened or when it happened. Some employers require you to talk to the owner, others require you to talk to the Safety Director or to a Supervisor, but whatever the protocol is in your employer’s business you should tell anyone and everyone about the accident and injuries that you sustained as a result of that work accident. While the law requires notice which can be oral, it is prudent for the injured worker to provide the notice in writing in addition to giving it to your employer orally and also would be prudent to do same in the presence of another witness so that if your employer tries to claim at a later date that you did not provide notice of your accident and injuries, you have someone that can substantiate your claims.
- The next thing you need to do is request from your employer that you go get medical treatment immediately. Under South Carolina law if you have been injured on the job, the employer is entitled to direct medical care and treatment for your case and should authorize you to either go to a doctor of their choosing or to your doctor with their consent. Importantly, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the employer is responsible for paying 100% of your medical care and treatment under South Carolina law. It is very important that you follow the employer’s direction and go to the doctor that they choose. In the event that the employer does not have a company doctor they wish to send you to and they authorize you to go to your family doctor or to a doctor of your choosing, make sure if possible, to get that from them in writing or at least get the authorization in the presence of a witness that you can later call as a witness to corroborate that this is what your employer directed you to do.
- The next thing you should do is when you arrive at the medical provider’s office to treat you for your work-related injuries is to make sure that when you fill out the paperwork in the lobby that you make it clear that your injuries came from your work-related accident and give a brief description of your accident. In the confusion of getting your medical treatment started in your workers’ compensation case you may be asked by the medical provider to present your private health insurance to the medical provider so that you can get treatment that day. Again, because it is a South Carolina workers’ compensation case, the law requires that the workers’ compensation carrier for your employer pay 100% of your medical bills. Under no circumstances should you provide the medical provider, whether chosen by your employer or by you, with your private health insurance information as this is the improper insurance carrier to pay for your medical care and treatment from your work-related accident.
- Once you meet with the doctor that is assigned to your case, you should tell the doctor from head to toe, any and all injuries or medical conditions that you are suffering as a result of your work-related accident. Many times an injured worker will point to the body part or body parts that hurt the most while leaving out other body parts that they feel are minor. This can be a mistake in that later on when you are trying to connect some of these other injuries that you thought were minor but turned out to be more substantial along the way. If they are not documented early on in the medical records in your case. With the above in mind, whether it is a psychological injury or physical injury or both, begin with your head and go all the way down to your toes and make sure you document with any doctor, nurse or any type of intake employee with the medical provider or any intake sheet that you fill out, any and all body parts or medical conditions related to your work-related injury. In the event that a new injury or condition begins to present itself after you leave the doctor’s office from your medical appointment, be sure to call the medical provider to supplement your medical records with whatever the new medical condition or injury that surfaces after the appointment to document that and get same to be a part of your medical record.
- After your doctor assigned to your case has examined you for your injuries related to your work-accident and is sending you away from his or her office for the day, makes sure you leave with several important pieces of information from your doctor. First, you will want to know in writing what your work-restrictions are so that you can present same to your employer and their insurance carrier. Whether the doctor releases you to full duty, light duty or no duty, make sure you leave with his or her opinion regarding your work status in writing when you leave the medical appointment. Furthermore, make sure you leave with any prescriptions that the doctor is recommending that you have filled and take to address your work-related injuries. Make sure this is in writing and make sure that you have copies of same so that you can provide them both to the pharmacy and to the employer and their insurance carrier. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you leave that appointment with the next recommended treatment in writing. Whether the recommendation is for a follow up office visit or to get some type of scan or to go to physical therapy or any of the other medical modalities that the doctor may recommend, make sure that you leave with a copy of that in writing so that you can provide it both to your employer and their insurance carrier so that they can approve that treatment for you as soon as possible.
- The next thing you should do is call your workers’ compensation attorneys at Howell & Christmas, so that they may assist you in protecting your rights with regard to your workers’ compensation case. Whether it be assisting you in getting to the medical specialist that can help treat your injuries, to getting your temporary total disability benefits started if you are out of work, to getting your prescriptions approved, to tolling the statute of limitations in your case, or to checking your average weekly wage and compensation rate with the proper government agencies. We are here to help you with your case.