For an injured worker, nothing’s more scary or heartbreaking than getting worse after the case is over. But hurt employees may be stunned to learn South Carolina workers’ compensation law actually covers this situation to allow benefits in certain cases.
Qualifying can be tricky and you can expect the insurance company to fight tooth and nail. They’ve already unwillingly paid out once. They won’t take it kindly when you come back, needing more.
To give yourself the best—and maybe only—shot at these benefits, make sure you’ve got the help of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to present your case convincingly. Here’s the basics of a little-known aspect of South Carolina workers’ compensation law, fittingly called “change of condition.”
A Change of Condition May Boost Your Compensation
A change of condition is a change in physical condition as a result of the original injury, occurring after the first comp award.
If you settled your case—meaning you agreed with the insurance company on a resolution—you may be ineligible or face a deadline to get more treatment. Don’t delay in asking a qualified attorney to review your settlement deal!
Even if you are ineligible, the settlement may have taken possible worsening into consideration by giving you more money to cover it. Comp settlements can be tricky: here’s how they work and how they provide for future medical care.
What You’ve Got to Prove
Basically, if you’re eligible there are three things to need to show in order to apply for additional benefits under South Carolina workers’ compensation law:
- You received a prior comp award.
- Your condition worsened afterward.
- The worsening was caused by the original work injury.
Of course, you’ll need evidence to prove your claims. As we reported before, the best evidence of worsening is updated medical tests showing the change. But a doctor’s opinion can also win the day.
Insurance companies usually fight these cases with arguments like:
- You’re no worse. The insurance company will hire other doctors to contradict the physician treating you—even if the insurance company hired that one in the first place!
- You’re only worse because of something else. The insurance company’s lawyers will also argue your worsening is due only to an unrelated prior condition, like arthritis, rather than a development from your initial injury. This can muddy the waters, but a talented lawyer can help the commission see through it.
- You got worse from a new, different injury. Of course, if a new work injury is making you worse, you can still get benefits.
What happens if you win your case? You get all the workers’ comp benefits you qualify for, including temporary disability income, free health care for the injury, and more permanent disability benefits.
Don’t Worry, Take Action!
If you got hurt at work and you’re wondering what to do if you got worse but your case is over, call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who knows the law and can put you in the best position to get the most benefits if you qualify. Because the change of condition law is not well known, you need knowledge and experience on your side you can trust. If you need help with this case, start a live chat with us so we can learn about your case to figure out the best way to get you benefits.