A work related injury comes with tremendous stress. You are dealing with the pain and disruption of the injury, unable to do the things you’re used to doing, and often unable to handle the most basic of self-care on your own. You’re also facing a lot of medical debt, combined with a sudden stop of the income you need to handle your everyday expenses. The bills keep piling up. You can no longer afford your groceries, much less your rent. You need help, and you need it fast. This is what workers’ compensation insurance was designed for. You file your workers’ compensation claim, start receiving benefits, and the stress of your injury is minimized. You have income benefits and medical benefits that will see you through the storm.
Unfortunately, your wage benefits are not going to be the full amount of your usual income. Yet, at 2/3 of your average weekly wage, it is much better than nothing. If your claim is approved, as it typically will be, you will start getting these benefits once you’re out of work for seven days. Those first seven days are covered if you are out of work for more than two weeks. You also won’t have to worry about the expensive medical debt, because your workers’ compensation benefits are going to cover this, too. Any hospitalization, surgeries, physical rehabilitation, occupational rehabilitation, prescription medications, and more can be covered by these workers’ compensation medical benefits. It is no wonder that this system saves thousands of injured workers from becoming homeless and/or going bankrupt.
Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation claims go so smoothly. In fact, it is entirely possible to have a valid claim denied because of mistakes in filing, unethical behavior on the part of your employer, or questions about whether or not you are truly eligible for the benefits. If this has happened to you, don’t panic. You are not alone. You are not the first person that this has happened to, and you may still be able to receive the benefits that you need. When your Greenville, South Carolina workers’ compensation claim is denied, contact the Law Office of H. Chase Harbin to schedule a free consultation and learn about your options.
First Step: Why Exactly Was Your Claim Denied?
The first step towards fighting for your right to workers’ compensation benefits is establishing exactly why your claim was denied. Was it a matter of simple mistakes in filing? Did your employer tell you that your injury isn’t eligible, even though it should be? Were you told that because your own mistake is what caused the injury, you can’t get compensation? In these cases, there’s a good chance that you can successfully appeal the decision. Or, were you drunk or on drugs when the work related injury occurred? Did you fail a drug test? Were you horsing around or behaving inappropriately when the injury occurred? Are you even an employee? Or are you an independent contractor? In these cases, you may not have a leg to stand on.
In cases where it was a simple mistake in filing the paperwork, or another mistake, these issues could be avoided from the start by making sure you know what you’re doing before you file. To begin with, you need to inform your employer that an injury has occurred as quickly as possible, and in writing. Usually, your employer will give you an incident report to fill out. If they do not, you can still notify them, orally and in writing, with the date on the notice. You sign this notice, ask your employer to sign it, and keep a copy for your records. You legally have 90 days to report the injury, but the longer you wait, the weaker your claim becomes. It is easier for your employer to argue that your injury was not work related if you don’t report it right away. It is also important to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Otherwise, your employer can easily argue that your injury was not work-related.
You should keep a copy of your notice of the incident or incident report, keep a copy of all medical records, and keep the receipts and invoices that are associated with any expenses related to your injury, like prescriptions and medical devices. You must file your workers’ compensation claim within two years, but the sooner you do so, the better off you’ll be. When you do everything correctly, you are far more likely to get the benefits that you need as quickly as possible, without ever having to request a hearing or appeal a decision.
Second Step: Can You Appeal the Workers’ Compensation Denial?
If you ascertain that your workers’ compensation claim is valid, then you can probably appeal the decision or even request a hearing. However, this may not even be necessary, if you discuss the matter with your employer and/or an attorney in an effort to identify any mistakes that were made. You may be able to correct these mistakes. If you need to appeal the decision, you can do so by filing Form 30 with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission for $150. If you need to request a hearing, you can do so with Form 50.
Third Step: Work with a Greenville, SC Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, if you need to appeal or request a hearing, and/or if your employer is misleading you with unethical behavior or even their own lack of understanding of the situation, you should contact a knowledgeable Greenville, SC workers’ compensation attorney. In this way, you can get the information, advice, and representation that you need to get the benefits that you require as quickly as possible. The attorneys at the Law Office of H. Chase Harbin have the knowledge and experience to help you fight for your right to workers’ compensation benefits after a work related injury. Call today for a free consultation.
Chase Harbin is a Criminal Defense Lawyer who practices in Pickens and Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 17 years now. Chase Harbin believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.