You would be amazed at the number of times that clients have come into my office with offers on the table from insurance carriers that were doubled or tripled by the time we resolved the case. While I can’t guarantee specific results in any case, I can guarantee that the insurance company has one goal in mind. Save as much as they can. The friendly adjuster is often times the most dangerous adjuster. The mean adjuster will quickly insult you. You will find an attorney to help and the damage will be avoided before it becomes too great. The friendly adjuster will not scare you or insult you. They will seem sympathetic and may even be helpful to an extent. WATCH OUT. An adjuster who has gained your trust can more easily abuse it. Don’t EVER forget who signs their paychecks.
It is absolutely essential that you have an experienced attorney on your side working for you. My philosophy is simple. I want what is best for you. I want you to know that you are not just a number. I care about my clients and I want to make sure that they are helped financially, medically, and emotionally. This isn’t just a case, it is your life.
Knowledge is power. Hopefully, this brief overview of your entitlements under South Carolina Workers Compensation law will help you to understand what to expect in your case.
MEDICAL CARE: If your injury “arises out of and in the course of employment” you are entitled to medical care for your injuries at no cost to you. Unfortunately, your employer gets to decide which doctors you get to see. This is known as the authorized treating physician. This does not mean that your employer gets to control the course of your medical care, only the identity of the specific doctor or group which you see. The authorized treating physician will use their medical training and experience to determine what treatments are necessary, not the employer. Often, employers will attempt to dictate what treatments you will and will not receive. If your authorized treating physician has recommended a particular treatment or course of action, they are absolutely required to follow their request.
TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY: If your authorized treating physician says that you are unable to work, your employer is required to pay you two thirds of your average weekly wage while you are unable to work. Average weekly wage is usually calculated by dividing your pay for the previous year by fifty two. If you have been employed for less than a year, there are other methods for calculating your average weekly wage. In my experience, employers always pick a method that short changes the worker.
Temporary total benefits last until: you have been returned to work by your doctor free of medical restrictions; your doctor has returned you to work with medical restrictions and your employer offers employment that meets those restrictions; or until you have reached maximum medical improvement.
PERMANENT DISABILITY: There are two basic types of permanent disability that you may be entitled to under Workers Compensation. They are Total/Partial General Disability, and Scheduled Member Disability.
Scheduled Member Disability is the most common form of disability awarded. The formula for calculating the awards is found at S.C. Ann. § 42-9-30.
Total / Partial Permenant disability is a recent more uncommon form award. A claimant may obtain total disability in one of three ways:
First, a claimant may be presumptively totally disabled if they have suffered a loss of both hands, arms, feet, legs, or vision in both eyes, or any two thereof, are a paraplegic, a quadriplegic, or have suffered physical brain damage.
Second, a claimant may establish total disability by showing an injury, which is not a scheduled injury (see code section above), caused sufficient loss of earning capacity to render him totally disabled.
Third, a claimant may establish total disability through multiple scheduled physical injuries which result in a loss of earning capacity. Awards are limited to 500 weeks of compensation except in cases of brain injury and paralysis.
FUTURE MEDICAL BENEFITS: This is a complicated area of workers compensation law. Basically, if your doctor states that future medical benefits are reasonably necessary and would tend to “lessen your period of disability” your employer can be ordered to pay for those expenses for life. Again, this is overly simple. Recent changes to the law make it absolutely essential that the Order is specific when awarding these benefits. You need an attorney to make sure that the language in the Order protects you.
My philosophy is simple. My clients are not just numbers, they are real people in need of my help. My clients are my greatest asset. I strive to treat every one like they are the only client. All cases are handled personally by me. When you call, you speak to me. When you go to court, I am there by your side.
All personal injury claims are handled on a contingency basis. You do not pay attorneys fees if you do not win.