Every employee has the legal responsibility to provide their workers with a safe and healthy working environment. But despite all safety measures companies have in place to protect their workers, workplace injuries due to accidents can and do occur under varying circumstances, regardless of what precautions are put in place to protect the employees. These could range in severity from sprains to bone fractures, amputations, severe burns, and, at worse, even fatalities.
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a workplace accident and suffer injuries, it is essential to know that you have the legal right to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Why File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A personal injury can wreak havoc on all aspects of your life. Besides the physical pain and emotional trauma, a severe, long-term injury can put you out of work for an extended period, threatening your financial security by resulting in a loss of income. That may render it extremely difficult for you to cope with the injuries and provide for yourself and your family.
A workers’ compensation claim can help cover your lost wages and hospital, rehabilitation, and disability costs, which means you will not have to pay directly out of pocket. Accordingly, it will enable you to fulfill all expenses without much struggle while maintaining your standard of living or quality of life.
How to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits
As a victim of a work-related injury, regardless of fault, you are entitled to protect your legal rights by administering a claim for workers’ compensation. With that said, there are several essential steps involved in the process that you must take to get a favorable outcome for your case by securing fair compensation. They are as follows:
Reporting the Injury
As one of the most vital steps in the claims process, your first and foremost task after a workplace accident is to inform your supervisor of your injuries, preferably with a written notice. While this may not always be possible depending upon the circumstance, it is nevertheless crucial to report the injury as soon as possible.
Most states have deadlines to report injuries to the employer. Accordingly, it is crucial to act quickly. As mentioned by a personal injury lawyer in Summerville, you could lose your eligibility to claim workers’ compensation benefits if you fail to notify your employer about the injuries within 90 days.
If your injury heals as time passes, the employer may dispute your claim, making it difficult to prove that the injury occurred on the job.
Seeking Medical Attention
Regardless of the extent of your injuries, it is imperative to visit a medical professional to seek urgent care. Besides treating your visible injuries, the doctor will assess you for any hidden or internal injuries that may not show any symptoms and may surface weeks or months later.
The doctor will record all the details of your accident and injuries in your medical records, which will play a vital role in your compensation claim’s success. Medical records will be a vital piece of evidence in determining if the injury occurred as you claim and is not related to any pre-existing medical condition. They will also serve as the basis for establishing that a particular treatment or procedure is medically necessary and, thus, covered by the workers’ compensation insurance.
It is a wise idea to collect evidence beyond medical records, as it can go a long way in strengthening your compensation claim. Take photos of your injuries and whatever caused the accident, like faulty equipment or other safety hazards.
Witness statements also play a crucial role in proving your case. If there were any co-workers present at the time of the accident, record their statements and note down their contact details.
Lastly, request to receive footage from surveillance cameras, if any, around the premises.
Hiring Legal Representation
Contacting a reputed and experienced personal injury attorney is perhaps your best bet to stack the odds in your favor and obtain the compensation you deserve. A seasoned workplace attorney will present your case convincingly and have the expertise to deal with lowball offers from manipulative insurance companies who will go to lengths to limit your payout. If the employer wrongfully disputes or denies your claim, your lawyer will help determine the best course of action, which could be filing a lawsuit against them in some instances.
Know the Statute of Limitations
To conclude, it is important to remember, there is a period within which you must file your workers’ compensation claim, known as the statute of limitations. Depending upon the state, the deadlines could vary. While some states allow up to 6 six years from the time of the accident in which you can file a claim, most states, including South Carolina, have a time limit of 3 years before which you must act and initiate legal proceedings.
If you exceed the deadline and do not file a claim, your case may be time-barred, and you will lose your chance to receive workers’ compensation benefits.