There is a lot of information that an individual must provide before they can apply for workers’ compensation in Charleston. On a basic level, the first report of injury must be filed with the employer. There also needs to be some type of form of notice to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. That is typically done with a two-page letter that holds the statute of limitations.
There is also a Form 50, which is a complaint that can ask for a hearing, or if a hearing is not requested in this complaint, the Commission is instructed to put the carrier and the employer on notice of the accident, injury, and what is being claimed medically and in terms of monetary benefits that are being sought.
There are many forms in a workers’ compensation system in Charleston, and in order to get the claim started, these are the things that must be done right away. To best understand the process involved in applying for workers’ compensation in Charleston, it is imperative to consult with an experienced Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
Importance of Immediate Action
When applying for workers’ compensation in Charleston, the person must first inform the employer of the injury and all injured body parts or medical conditions caused by the accident. The individual needs to make a specific request for medical treatment with the right specialists.
They then need to have wage documentation to help combat the insurance company, which almost always creates an average weekly wage and compensation rate that are artificially low and do not adequately reflect what the claimant was earning. This often does not necessarily include bonuses, per diems, or other things that should be included in that number.
An individual must get issues addressed early when applying for workers’ compensation benefits in Charleston. They must go to the right state agencies to prove wages, go to the appropriate medical doctors to get expert opinions, and obtain the right treatment plans if there are any blocks to monetary benefits, medical benefits, mileage benefits, the compensability of the claim itself, and so forth.
Those claims are aggressively pursued before the commission so that there is the least amount of delay in the injured worker getting treatment and making a recovery.
Role of the Insurance Company
There are many difficulties when applying for workers’ compensation in Charleston. First of all, the employers, many times, spread misinformation about the Workers’ Compensation Act. For example, they may tend to tell the injured worker that they did not give them enough notice, and will imply that the person then cannot file for workers’ compensation. However, this is not true.
The other thing the insurance companies may say is that the injured individual already had an injury before, and therefore, they cannot apply for workers’ compensation in Charleston. That is not true either. It is something that is known as an aggravation of a pre-existing condition. That is definitely covered in South Carolina.
The insurance company may also claim that the accident did not even occur at work but instead happened at home or somewhere else. Therefore, they will refuse to pay. There are many objections and defenses that employers and the insurance company of the employer may raise.
The injured worker will likely benefit from legal representation from an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer to help address all those potential objections and denials. A knowledgeable lawyer can make sure that the claim is accurate and represented in a way that the individual is more likely to be accepted than denied.
Filing a Claim
When filing a claim, there is first notice that needs to be given by the injured worker and/or by the injured worker’s lawyer. Secondly, there needs to be a letter of representation to the insurance company advising of the injured worker’s legal counsel which will be helpful with the claim. Certainly, a lawyer must ensure the proper paperwork with the Form 50, a two-page letter, a pleading perfecting the statute of limitations, and making sure the claim is perfected and not barred by the two-year statute of limitation’s time.
The real work begins in terms of the analysis of the law, the analysis of the facts, the analysis of the medical records and so forth to make sure that the injured worker gets the appropriate medical treatment and the monetary benefits that they deserve under the law.
Benefit of a Lawyer
A lawyer can ease the process of applying for Charleston workers’ compensation in terms of knowing many different elements of the law, including being knowledgeable on:
- How to develop the facts in a light most favorable to the injured worker
- The workers’ comp adjusters
- The workers’ comp defense lawyers
- The workers’ comp nurse case managers
- The commissioners that decide the case
- The doctors and the medical community to treat injured workers
All of those relationships, understanding of the law, and how to best protect the injured worker come into play to hopefully make it a smoother process in getting the claim approved. Then, the attorney can pursue the benefits that the injured worker needs under the claim in an expedient manner.