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Holland & Usry, P.A.

Honest Answers About Worker's Compensation Law and Situations in South Carolina

When you’re faced with a major life event, you’re filled with questions and uncertainty. Get the straight answers you’re looking for from a South Carolina attorney.

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  • Will I get fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

    No. South Carolina law forbids your employer from firing you just because you filed a valid workers compensation claim. This is called “retaliatory discharge.” If that happens, you can file a lawsuit to prove your employer violated this law. If you win, you can recover wages you lost as a result of the violation, and you might get a court order reinstating you to your former position.

    If your employer truly cares about his employees, he’ll want to do everything he can to help make sure you’re okay. It’s pretty simple: you work hard for him and he needs to take care of you when you get hurt doing his work.

    You have the legal right—and likely the need—to partial wage replacement when you can’t work, medical care to get you back to work, and compensation for any permanent disability. Finally, remember it’s probably not your boss personally footing the bill; it’s almost always paid for by the worker’s compensation insurance coverage he bought just for this.

    If you got hurt at work in Spartanburg, Greenville, Gaffney, or nearby, and are worried how your employer will respond, call us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841 for a free meeting to discuss how we can handle your case with your employer and the insurance company. That way, you can focus on getting better so you can get back to work.

     

  • I got hurt at work and I don’t feel like the workers’ comp doctor is looking out for my best interest. Can I get a second opinion?

    Maybe, but you need to be really careful. You should talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer first, as you are now face-to-face with the two-headed monster of South Carolina workers’ compensation law: the insurance company has the right to choose the doctor, and refusing treatment can get your benefits stopped.

    Free pointer: Maintain open and honest communication with the doctor. Express your concerns without blaming the doctor. Sincerely expressing your concerns and asking meaningful questions without attacking the doctor might clear the air and get you what you need.

    If that fails, you should talk to a lawyer first. Getting treatment on your own outside workers’ comp is an enormous risk. Here are ways we’ve gotten second opinions and gotten additional treatment approved when the insurance company initially denied it:

    • We got the insurance company to agree to it. Sometimes the insurance company just needs to be shown the light by someone whose job is to show them the right way. Other times, we can make the case that a second opinion and an adjustment in the treatment plan will save the insurance company money in the long run.
    • We can file for a contested hearing to get treatment approved. One purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Commission is to settle medical treatment disputes. But to get treatment you need, your case must be presented convincingly, supported by evidence satisfying the Commission’s legal standard. That’s our job, and we know how to do it right.

    If you’ve been seriously hurt on the job in Spartanburg, Greenville, or any nearby community and if you question your medical care, there’s no doubt that must be addressed. But it needs to be addressed the right way, and since you only get one body and you only have one workers’ compensation case, you need to make sure both are protected to the fullest extent possible.

    Call us at 864.582.0146 or toll free at 888.230.1841 for a free, confidential meeting to discuss how we can protect your rights to medical care and maximize the value of your settlement. Still unsure? Read how previous clients have gratefully endorsed our help.

     

  • My husband died in a car crash driving a delivery truck for work. The crash wasn’t his fault. Can I get work benefits to help pay our bills?

    Yes. You qualify for South Carolina worker’s compensation death benefits. And the good news is, you qualify for the maximum benefit:

    Worker’s Compensation Death Benefits

    Limited burial expenses, up to $2500.

    Limited lost income benefits. The maximum benefit is a weekly check for two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage (called the “comp rate”), for a maximum of 500 weeks. This amount can sometimes be paid in a single check, but the amount will be reduced to present value (that is, discounted for expected inflation and other costs over the period covered). The base amount will be reduced by any workers’ compensation temporary disability checks that had been paid to the worker, if he did not pass away immediately.

    Your husband’s children and others who depended on your husband for support qualify to receive benefits, too. Whether they qualify for the maximum benefit depends on several factors. We explain the complicated calculations involved in a separate article on this website.

    Important: Because your husband passed away from a car crash that’s not his fault, you have access to compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company, and maybe your own. While this compensation can be desperately needed, getting it the right way can be very tricky due to complex worker’s compensation laws. Talk to your workers’ compensation attorney for help understanding the details in your specific case.

    The emotional devastation of an unexpected work accident taking the life of a loved one is often worsened by plunging your family into financial crisis. You have rights and access to some relief, thanks to worker’s compensation and maybe the civil justice system. As hard as it is to keep going, fight for your family.

    If you’ve been forced into this battle in Greenville, Spartanburg, Union, or Cherokee counties, or anywhere else in South Carolina, contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers to explore every option to obtain every benefit you can. Feel free to use the easiest way for you to reach us—by email, by live chat from our site, or by a toll-free call to 888.230.1841 or local call at 864.582.0416. We’re waiting to hear from you.

     

  • I’ve had a bad back for over 20 years. Recently, I twisted it at work in Greer and it got much worse. Does workers’ comp cover that?

    Yes. When a South Carolina work injury makes a prior injury worse, it’s still covered under workers’ compensation law.

    The involvement of a prior injury does complicate your claim. To get benefits, you’ll have to prove:

    • The work injury worsened the prior injury, or
    • The prior injury worsens the work injury.

    South Carolina law is very specific about the type of proof required to justify benefits in your situation. The law requires medical evidence showing you’re entitled to benefits despite the prior injury —meaning a doctor’s opinion or testimony to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, or medical records.

    In our example, if your bad back didn’t keep you from working or didn’t even bother you until you hurt it at work, you should be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Importantly, if you satisfy the proof requirements, you can also be compensated for your permanent disability caused by the combination of the prior injury and your work injury. For an explanation how these benefits work, see the other articles on this site, especially those listed below.

    While the South Carolina workers’ compensation law helps workers whose prior injuries are made worse by work, it is not an easy ticket to ride. You must be very careful about submitting the proper proof to satisfy a skeptical insurance company who doesn’t want to pay you or, if the claim is contested all the way to a hearing, be sure the evidence satisfies the legal standard judged by the Commission.

    If you have a prior injury that got made worse by work, feel free to call us at 864.582.0416 or 888.230.1841 to set up a free meeting to discuss whether your employer’s insurance company should help fix it and most importantly, to protect your rights to these important benefits you could lose if the claim is not presented properly. You can also send us an email or a live chat right from where you are.

     

  • My uncle broke his arm at work in Union and got a $30,000 workers’ comp settlement. I just broke my arm at work in Spartanburg. Am I guaranteed the same amount?

    No. In fact, your case might be worth more, but it could be less. South Carolina workers’ comp cases are like the people they help: every one is unique. The settlement amount depends on a variety of factors. This gives us a great chance to discuss the basics of a typical workers’ comp settlement.

    The Starting Point: Your Average Weekly Wage

    Your average weekly wage sets the dollar amount to value your settlement. It’s usually based on your wages for the last four quarters before you got hurt, excluding the quarter you got hurt. If you worked for a shorter period than that, it’s based on the time you worked, as long as it’s fair both to you and the employer.

    Weekly check amount. Your average weekly wage is also the amount of your weekly temporary total disability (TTD) check if you miss more than eight days of work due to your injury.

    For this example, we’ll imagine your average weekly wage is $500. Now we move to the next factor in valuing your settlement, which is a bit odd.

    Typical Settlement Limits and the “Scheduled Loss” Law

    It sounds strange, but South Carolina's workers’ compensation law lists the body parts most often hurt at work, along with a limit in weeks for each. This sets the maximum value for a total loss of that body part.

    In your case, the maximum value for the arm is 220 weeks. To get the highest settlement amount for the total loss of your arm, we multiply your average weekly wage of $500 by 220 weeks to equal $110,000. But since you won’t lose your arm, we go to the next factor—what we at Holland & Usry call the “wild card.”

    The Wild Card: Impairment and Disability Ratings

    The workers’ comp system usually requires a percentage of loss of use to reach a settlement amount. This percentage is based on a permanent impairment rating given to you by the doctor. That percentage is then used to arrive at a disability rating. Here’s how those two ratings work:

    • Medical impairment rating generally measures permanent loss of mobility and strength caused by your injury.
    • Workers’ comp disability rating reflects how your medical impairment hurts your ability to work. The disability rating accounts for lost ability to do your job caused by medical impairment. Disability should be higher than the impairment rating.

    We call this the “wild card” because disability is different for everyone depending on what job they do. For instance, if you’re a brick layer who lifts, carries, and reaches up with heavy loads at work, a 25 percent impairment rating to your arm is a much higher work disability than an office worker with the same rating, because it’s much harder to do your job with a permanently damaged arm.

    This is the hardest part of your case to value. It’s also the part that has the greatest potential to maximize your compensation. But before settling, there may be another major factor: whether to protect your rights to future medical treatment.

    Medical Treatment: Keep It Open or Walk Away?

    There are two basic options for future medical treatment in the typical workers’ compensation settlement:

    • Keep your options open. Keep your right to medical treatment open for one year after the full payment of your settlement. But beware! Not going to the comp doctor for over a year likely forfeits this right, too. This is called a Form 16 settlement for the form signed to do it.
    • Walk away: the clincher. A clincher means you give up the right to comp insurance paying for future treatment for your injury. This usually gets you more money, because you take the risk of paying for future treatment, and the insurance company will pay extra to get off the hook.

    Even a basic workers’ compensation settlement can be complicated. It requires thorough knowledge of your medical diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, and knowledge of workers’ compensation law. It’s only harder if you’re hurt really bad or just don’t feel like dealing with all the phone calls and the tiny details to protect you and your family under comp law.

    At Holland & Usry, we can take that pressure off you, and work with you to arrive at a proper settlement amount. We can help you in front of the workers’ compensation commission if the insurance company won’t pay the fair settlement. If you want to discuss your options or need help with your Union or Spartanburg workers’ compensation claim, feel free to send us an email, start a live chat on our website, or call us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841.

  • Help! I had a bad fall at work while doing my job and I broke my hip. Now I’m not able to work. The medical bills are piling up. What benefits am I entitled to receive after an on-the-job accident in Union?

    Being hurt at work is a frightening experience. You worry about your health, your family’s future, and your future employment. As the medical bills start to pour in, you may worry about how you will pay for it all and how you will continue to support your family.

    The South Carolina workers’ compensation law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits for workers hurt on the job.  The benefits are almost always paid by the employer’s insurance company, not the employer directly. 

    Workers’ compensation provides injured employees with 3 main benefits:

    • Medical care for the injury at no charge to the employee.
    • Disability Income. If the doctor determines you can’t work for at least 8 days as a result of the injury, or gives you work restrictions your employer can't accommodate, you should get a weekly benefit check for 2/3 of your average weekly wage. This can help keep you financially afloat while you heal.
    • Money Compensation for Permanent Disability.  Permanent disability can be partial or total.  An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you maximize this final benefit.

    The most severely hurt workers may qualify for additional benefits:

    Permanent and Total Disability.  If your injury was severe enough to permanently disable you from working your current job, you may be eligible to receive long-term disability benefits, including lifetime medical care for your work injuries. If so, you can be sure the employer’s insurance company will fight to pay you as little as possible- and with injuries as serious as yours, you need to focus on recovering as much of your health as possible and learning to live with your new limitations.  Because total disability benefits can be complex- and hard to get- you owe it to yourself and your family to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer looking out for you.       

    Workers’ compensation is designed to provide benefits swiftly and easily to injured workers, but it doesn’t always work that way, especially when severe injuries are involved.  At Holland & Usry, we vigilantly protect injured workers’ rights to the full benefits they deserve.  We will thoroughly present the extent of your injuries to maximize your compensation.  

    If you or a loved one is hurt on the job, call the Spartanburg workers compensation lawyers at Holland & Usry at 582-0416 or toll free at 888.230.1841, or send us an email, or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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