If you suffered injuries at work in Cherokee County, a Gaffney workers’ compensation lawyer from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC could help you get the lost wages and medical care coverage you need while you recover. South Carolina law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance for everyone they hire. As a result, you likely have access to these benefits.
You can get a free consultation with an attorney from our team today. We will discuss your injuries or illness, your employer, and your rights. In addition, we can explain the claims process and if having our team file an appeal might help.
Compensation Available Through SC Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance policy that pays out when an employee suffers an injury at work or contracts an illness linked to workplace exposure. Under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws, the available benefits include:
- Medical care coverage if you see the doctor requested by your employer
- Lost wages covering as much as two-thirds of your usual pay, up to a state-mandated maximum
- Disability or disfigurement compensation if you have permanent injuries
- Vocational training to help you return to your previous job or the workforce with lasting impairments
- Death benefits for surviving family members, including reasonable funeral and burial costs
How Much Can I Receive in Lost Wages?
As noted earlier, you can receive two-thirds of your pre-injury pay on a weekly basis. The state-mandated weekly maximums for this pay are $963.37. These maximums vary on a yearly basis to account for changing costs of living and inflation.
What Happens If I Need Long-Term Benefits?
Lost wage benefits only last for a limited time. However, you may have lasting injuries or require long-term treatment that prevent you from returning to work for a year or more. In that case, you might qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
These types of long-term benefits vary slightly:
- SSDI: You can think of SSDI as a state-run insurance program. Every time you pay Social Security taxes, you’re contributing to your SSDI coverage. This means that in order to qualify for SSDI, you must have an established work history.
- SSI: SSI provides similar coverage to SSDI – members of the population who are elderly, disabled, or blind can rely on SSI for benefits. SSI isn’t tied to your work history, though. Instead, it only covers those who are below a certain resource threshold. Resources are your combined earnings and assets. For this reason, SSI typically pays less than SSDI.
A lawyer from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, will review your circumstances and determine which benefit applies best to your situation. Then, we can help you file your claim. These benefits can make paying your bills and making ends meet easier when you cannot work. In addition, you could qualify to receive them until you reach full retirement age, when you begin to draw Social Security benefits.
How Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, Helps with Gaffney Workers’ Compensation Claims
At Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, our lawyers understand how the South Carolina workers’ compensation law works and how to navigate the claims and appeals processes to secure benefits. We believe you should not have to fight for compensation while focusing on your treatment and healing. Let us help.
When you work with our Gaffney workers’ compensation team, you can expect us to:
- Offer a free initial consultation where we review your case for free
- Look into your accident and injuries
- Gather medical records, incident reports, witness statements, and other evidence necessary to support your claim
- Complete all required documents
- Meet statutory deadlines
- Navigate the claims and appeals process as necessary
- Represent your best interests
While our Spartanburg, SC, office handles workers’ compensation cases in Gaffney and greater Cherokee County, we also have offices in:
- Rutherfordton, NC
- Morganton, NC
- Shelby, NC
Our clients are core to our practice. We do everything we can to ensure that they receive a seamless legal experience. This is what they’ve said about working with our primary workers’ compensation lawyer, Gabriella R. Valentine:
- “Gabrielle Valentine was a tremendous help in a low point of my life. She always went the extra mile to make sure my cases were handled correctly. She knows how to give you PEACE THAT EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT . As I followed her legal advice I got the desired results. You will see first hand that she always fighting for best interests of her clients.”– Leigh V.
- “I could not be more satisfied with the excellent job of representing me that Gabrielle Valentine provided. She is very professional and did everything necessary to provide me with the best possible outcome for my situation. I would not hesitate to recommend Mrs. Valentine to anyone looking for legal representation.” – Guy S.
Client testimonials only tell part of Ms. Valentine’s story, though. She’s received several notable accolades throughout her legal education career:
- State Bar certified in both NC and SC
- Ranked number 2 in her graduating class at the Charlotte School of Law
- Recipient of a Summa cum Laude distinction
Can I Afford a Lawyer?
Workers’ compensation cases put victims in a difficult financial situation for two reasons, one, they have to deal with mounting medical expenses, and two, they’re typically unable to earn an income from working. These challenges can force victims to enter into debt to recoup their costs.
For this reason, we use a contingency-fee payment plan when working on workers’ compensation cases. This means that:
- We won’t charge you any upfront fees or costs for our services
- You don’t need to pay us anything except reimbursement for expenses unless we secure you a settlement
- Our payment comes as a percentage of your final settlement
We put our clients first. Financial concerns should never prevent you from hiring a lawyer – you deserve legal representation.
Understanding the Claims and Appeals Processes in South Carolina
Getting workers’ compensation benefits should be a straightforward process. To qualify, you must meet these requirements:
- Work for an employer covered by state law
- Suffer an injury or illness at work or related to your work
- See a doctor approved by your employer for diagnosis and treatment
- Notify your employer of your injury or illness within 90 days
- Ensure your employer files your claim with the workers’ compensation insurer
While this list seems easy enough to complete, the process does not always go the way you expect. For example, your employer may refuse to file your claim. However, you have options if any of these happen to you.
If Your Employer Will Not Report Your Injuries to the Insurer
If your employer refuses to file your claim for you, nothing stops you from doing it independently. You have up to two years from the date of your injury to do so.
According to the Workers’ Compensation Commission, you will need to:
- Complete Form 50 or 52
- Check box 13a, saying you do not want a hearing at this time
- Submit the form to the Workers’ Compensation Commission according to the instructions
If Your Claim Is Denied
If your employer disputes your claim or the insurer denies it, it might be time to call a Gaffney workers’ compensation lawyer. You will likely need to file an appeal to get approval for compensation benefits.
According to the South Carolina Bar, this process begins with completing and submitting a Form 50. We will handle this step for you with the information that you will need to provide:
- What happened
- If there were witnesses
- When and where the accident occurred
- When and to whom you reported the accident and injuries
- Details about your injuries, treatment, and prognosis
This form should provide the Workers’ Compensation Commission with enough information to investigate your case. While they complete their inquiry, we will also research your claim. Our investigation allows us to gather additional evidence and develop compelling support for your claim before your workers’ compensation hearing.
We will represent you during the hearing and at any further hearings. Our lawyer will ensure you know what to expect every step of the way.
Do I Have a Third-Party Civil Case?
In some situations, injured workers may also have a civil case based on their accident and injuries. While you cannot sue your employer or co-workers for on-the-job injuries, you could hold a third party liable for their role. Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, will review your case with you for free today.
For example, imagine a vendor lost a load while moving merchandise from their truck into your workplace with a forklift. The load fell on you, breaking your leg. You may be able to hold the vendor and their employer legally responsible for additional lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
You generally have three years to act in this type of case under S.C. Ann § 15-3-530.
Common Types of Workers’ Compensation Accidents
Your work environment will dictate the type of injury you’ve experienced. For example, construction workers are prone to injuries related to heavy machineries, like saws, blades, or backhoes. Service industry workers face an entirely different gauntlet of injuries – like cuts from handling kitchenware or burns from stovetops.
The National Safety Council, a non-profit, reports that these are the most common types of workplace accidents:
- Exposure to harmful environments: This is a broad category and can include electrocution, inhalation of dangerous substances, and radiation exposure.
- Contact with machinery or workplace tools: Construction workers face the greatest risk of suffering from this type of injury. Heavy machinery can crush, pinch, or otherwise damage appendages if used incorrectly.
- Repetitive motion: Not every injury stems from a specific accident or incident. Repeatedly lifting heavy objects can result in a repetitive motion injury, like a slipped disc or hernia.
Remember, for an injury to qualify you for workers’ compensation, it must have taken place while you were working. If you’re unsure if you have a qualifying injury, consider seeking legal advice. A workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm can explain your options to you.
Discuss Your Case with One of Our Attorneys for Free Today
At Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, our South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys provide free consultations for injured workers. We can help you understand your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.