Frequently Asked Questions About Workers' Compensation
If you've been injured at the workplace, you may not know what to do next. It's common to have a lot of questions. The workers' compensation attorneys at Lourie Law Firm can help you with the answers. We fight for the rights of workers who are injured on the job.
Here are some of the questions we get from clients regarding workers' compensation claims. To speak with one our attorneys about your claim, contact us for a free consultation. We can go over your options.
Do I need a lawyer for my claim?
You are not required to have a lawyer to file a workers' compensation claim. But it's always a good idea. Workers' compensation claims are complicated and the procedure does not always go smoothly. There are deadlines that need to be met and the right paperwork must be submitted. You may be sent to a doctor who does not take your injury or condition seriously. If your claim is denied, there is an appeals process, but that can also be complicated. We encourage you to at least get some legal advice. Lourie Law Firm offers a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Can I sue my employer?
No. Generally, as part of workers' compensation laws, workers can collect benefits for a workplace injury or illness, but give up the right to file a personal injury claim against an employer. But if a third party's negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injury, you may be able to take legal action.
In some cases, legal intervention may be needed against an employer following a workers' compensation claim due to violations of employment law. For example, if your employer retaliates against you for filing a claim, you may have grounds to take legal action against your employer.
What if I was responsible for the accident that caused my injury?
In general, you still have the right to file a workers' compensation claim. Workers' compensation is a "no-fault" system, which means you are still entitled to benefits even if your own negligent actions caused your injuries. You only need to prove that you were injured while on the job.
However, there are some exceptions. If you were injured because you were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you may not be able to collect benefits. Your claim may also be denied if it can be shown that you failed to follow proper safety procedures set by your employer.
Can I return to my old job?
That depends on the extent of your injuries and the nature of your job. If you recover from your injury or condition and are still able to perform your job, your employer is required by law to make a position available for you.
If it is determined that you are able to return to work on a "light duty" basis, you are required to accept those lighter duties in order to continue to receive benefits. If you disagree with this decision, you have the right to appeal. You may also be able to continue to receive some benefits if you accept light work before a doctor has fully discharged you.
Can I see my own doctor?
In order to be eligible to receive benefits, you must see a doctor selected by your employer or your employer's insurance company. But you can continue to see your own doctor, at your expense. This can help you get a second opinion about your injury or condition and the recovery process. If you disagree with the decision made on your claim, you can appeal to have your doctor's opinion considered.
Am I eligible for workers' compensation if I am a part-time employee?
Yes. All workers, full-time and part-time, are covered under workers' compensation laws in the state of South Carolina. If an employer claims you are not eligible for workers' compensation because you are part-time, call Lourie Law Firm. Our experienced attorneys will stand up for your rights and move your claim forward.