I am injured on the job.  I need my benefits started? What can I do if the carrier is taking too long?

Here is what the actual law says.  At the end, I will explain what it means. Keep reading.

Section 42-17-20 (SC Code of Laws):

Hearing before Commission on compensation payable.

If the employer and the injured employee or his dependents fail to reach an agreement in regard to compensation under this Title within fourteen days after the employer has knowledge of the injury or after a death or if they have reached such an agreement which has been signed and filed with the Commission and compensation has been paid or is due in accordance therewith and the parties thereto then disagree as to the continuance of any weekly payment under such agreement, either party may make application to the Commission for a hearing in regard to the matters at issue and for a ruling thereon. Immediately after such application has been received the Commission shall set a date for a hearing, which shall be held as soon as practicable, and shall notify the parties at issue of the time and place of such hearing. The hearing shall be held in the city or county in which the injury occurred, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties and authorized by the Commission.

What this section means is that once a worker is injured on the job and reports the accident to his employer, there is a fourteen (14) day window for the insurance carrier to make a decision about accepting the claim and beginning benefits.  The carrier will investigate all new claims.  They will talk with witnesses and will probably want to take a “recorded statement” of the injured worker.  It is never a good idea to give a recorded statement without an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer present. Adjusters are there to do a job, and that job is to limit benefits if there is any doubt about a claim.  If accepted, initial benefits include medical treatment and weekly benefits, if written out of work or the employer is unable to provide work within restrictions. The treating medical provider would provide the work restrictions or limitations (no lifting over 20 pounds).  The employer and carrier are required to recognize only those out of work or work restrictions from the authorized provider.  An injured worker is not allowed to use a doctor or provider on their own.

This is the best time to consider hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.  The earlier we get involved, the better we can help manage your case and medical treatment.  We want the best possible outcome for you and your family, both medically as well as financially.  If you are seriously injured, a work-related accident can affect you for years and may even change your life forever.

At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP, our lawyers are experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.  Robert J. Reeves is a former Registered Nurse (RN) who has actually treated patients with the same type of serious injuries he now represents in workers’ compensation cases.  Both Robert J. Reeves and Arthur K. Aiken are former insurance defense attorneys who know how to anticipate and prepare for defenses and insurance company tactics.  During our twenty-two (22) years each of practicing law, we have successfully handled virtually every type of workers’ compensation injury, including neck, back, shoulder, knee accidents, closed head / brain injury, herniated disks, bulging disks, diskectomy surgery, fusion procedures, arthroscopy, automobile accidents on the job, psychological / post traumatic stress, permanent and total disability claims, and wrongful death. We welcome the opportunity to sit down and personally discuss your case. Compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other firm. Then call us for a private consultation. www.rjrlaw.com