How do I file a claim?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is fairly simple but it is extremely important to keep good documentation. The first step in the process is to notify the employer—usually a supervisor or HR person. It is important to understand the employer’s policies regarding how a workers’ compensation claim should be reported. Some companies actually consider it a disciplinary violation if an injury or incident is not reported immediately. The best practice is to notify the employer of the incident and also to write an account of what happened for your records in the event an issue arises later.
Notifying your employer
In South Carolina, injured workers have up to 90 days to notify their employer of the injury; however, it is recommended to report the injury immediately. Delays in reporting are often perceived to be red flags by employers and their insurance companies.
Notifying the employer of an injury is not the same as opening a formal claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. In order to open a claim with the Commission, the injured worker either needs to file a Form 50 or 52 or send out a letter making a formal report of the claim.
Initiating the right workers comp claim
Although both the Form 50 and the Form 52 can be used to initiate a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, the two forms are used under different circumstances. The Form 50 is the most common and applies in the case of an injury by accident, occupational disease, or repetitive trauma unless the injured worker is deceased. The Form 52 is filed when a death occurs. The Form 52 triggers the need for a formal dependency investigation.
Injured workers often wonder whether the employer is responsible for filing their claim with the Commission. The answer is “it depends.” There are lost time and medical payment thresholds that are supposed to trigger an employer and its insurance company to open a claim with the Commission. However, those guidelines are not always followed. If a claim is opened at the Commission, it will be assigned a WCC File No. Seek guidance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your area to ensure your claim is properly filed.
Workers comp claim deadlines
There are deadlines for filing a claim, although the sooner you file, the better. It should be noted that there is a lot of detail within those claims and being unfamiliar with the specifics could cause you to miss something. That could delay the process or even hurt your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. Having a workers’ compensation attorney by your side will ensure none of those errors or missteps occur. You have the right to hire the attorney of your choice when filing a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina.
Former Executive Committee Member
Injured Workers’ Advocates
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