There are two types of benefits covered by workers’ compensation in South Carolina. One would be disability benefits, and one would be medical. Under the disability benefits bucket, there are temporary total disability benefits or partial disability benefits.
To best understand the realm of benefits available for individuals under Charleston workers’ comp, it is imperative for an individual to contact a Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
Temporary Total Disability
Temporary total disability benefits under the Charleston workers’ compensation act are for somebody that is completely taken out of work by the doctors. When they are taken out of work, they are entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wage.
The two-thirds are known as the compensation rate. There is a maximum compensation rate each year for the year in which the injured worker was injured. It can sometimes be in the 600s or 700s depending on what year the claimant was injured.
Temporary Partial Disability
The benefits available under Charleston workers’ comp can also be temporary partial disability benefits, which can be for an injured worker who is able to return to work but earning less money, working fewer hours, or a combination of the two.
Also, if there is a medical treatment that the person is entitled to, they may receive these benefits. That includes the proper medical care for all of the medical conditions, not just the one body part that the insurance wants to treat, but any and all body parts or medical conditions that were caused by the worker’s accident.
Permanent Wage Loss
Going forward, once the claimant reaches maximum medical improvement in that disability bucket or loss of use bucket, the injured worker can move for total permanent wage loss.
They can pursue permanent partial wage loss or a scheduled member injury recovery, and then also any future medical treatment for any and all medical treatment modalities that are recommended by their physicians.
Role of a Lawyer
A lawyer should be involved from the beginning to the end of the process. On the front end, the lawyer can help address that notice is properly given to the employer, the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The lawyer should assist in making make sure the proper pleadings are filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commission to perfect the claim on behalf of the injured worker. Also, the attorney should help manage the medical care and treatment to make sure that the injured worker gets the appropriate expert and medical opinion that they need, not just for one body part, but for all body parts.
The lawyer should check the data in terms of attendance records, pay, and other information regarding per diem and bonuses. Everything that should go into the claimant’s average weekly wage and compensation rate should be checked to make sure that they pay the appropriate rate. This is helping the injured worker get final medical opinions regarding impairment, work restrictions, future medical care and treatment, and so forth with regard to the claimant’s injuries.
An attorney can help with getting the appropriate experts, whether it be vocational experts, a forensic accountant, or some type of function capacity evaluator and so forth to make sure that all of the issues that need to be addressed regarding the claim as disability and future medical treatment are addressed. This is to ensure that they are addressed with the expert opinion or medical legal opinion that is required under the law to entitle the claimant the benefit under the Charleston workers’ compensation act.