Auger & Auger believes that everyone has the right to work in a safe environment. We are dedicated to the idea that injured workers must be treated fairly. Unfortunately, our Columbia workers’ compensation attorney knows this isn’t always the case. Worker claims for compensation are denied daily. If you have been injured on the job, we are here to assist you and fight for your rights if your benefits are denied.
Employment levels are at an all-time high in South Carolina. None of the more than two million employees in the state expect to end their shift with a traumatic injury. People have the reasonable belief that once they get to their job, they can perform their duties and then go home; they’ll start all over again the next day. Sadly, this doesn’t happen to everyone. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, but injuries can take months or years to heal.
As an employee, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. You can view your rights in the South Carolina code of laws. Title 42 outlines your protections in the event of a workplace accident, but essentially what you need to know is this: When you are injured at work while performing the scope of your duties, you are entitled to benefits. These benefits cover your medical needs and lost wages for as long as you cannot return to work. Government benefits will take over when you are disabled due to the incident.
It’s shocking to discover that nearly 50% of all workers’ compensation claims are denied. A worker who has given their all to their job deserves the respect of coverage, but they clearly will not always receive it. No one should be forced to fight for something to which they are legally entitled. Our Columbia workers’ compensation attorney witnesses the confusion and frustration of claim denial every day.
Consulting an attorney on the day of your injury is always a good choice of action. Their advice and guidance will be invaluable. There may even be a third-party claim to be pursued of which you may not have been aware.
The following basic steps will always be necessary for your claim to be considered. When you are injured in a workplace accident, you must:
Most workers’ comp claims are handled by an insurance carrier from whom the employer purchases workers’ comp insurance. If you receive a claim denial, it will probably be from the insurance company, although it’s likely that the employer doesn’t want them to pay your claim either. This is because the employer’s rates may go up if the insurance carrier does pay a claim.
There are numerous reasons for claim denials, but here are some of the more common reasons we see for insurance adjusters to deny a claim:
Some people have the urge to call the insurance company, or the HR department at work, and plead their case. We don’t recommend this. These conversations often get heated, and yelling at someone in the HR department can make your work life more difficult. Arguing with the insurance company may be even worse. Insurance adjusters typically record their phone calls, then go through them looking for something to use against you. They may take something innocent you said and misconstrue it to indicate that you were at fault. Aside from these risks, it’s also nearly impossible to talk the insurance company into honoring your claim if you are not an expert on insurance law.
The better solution to this frustrating situation is to contact a Columbia workers’ compensation attorney. Your lawyer will review your claim denial, ask a few questions about the situation, and determine the best way to move forward. In many cases, gathering more evidence and presenting it to the insurance company is successful. For example, we might take witness testimony or recover video of the accident to show that your injury did happen at work, that it was serious, or that your actions weren’t intentional. Or we might be able to correct and resubmit your paperwork if there were errors. Regardless of what the problem is with your application, we will work with you to fix it and negotiate with the insurer if at all possible.
Yes. If you have not submitted a workers’ comp claim already, there are two helpful steps to take to improve your odds of getting approved:
We often hear this question or a variation of it:
“My boss didn’t say it in so many words, but I got the impression that filing a claim could be bad for my career prospects.”
“My boss insinuated that my promotion might not happen if I filed a claim.”
“My supervisor told me I don’t need to file a claim for such a ‘minor’ injury, but I had to go to the hospital and got a bill for several hundred dollars. What should I do? I don’t want to make my supervisor mad.”
“The HR person told me my workers’ comp claim would be denied because I was clearly faking it, so there was no point in filing one. Were they right?”
“Ever since I filed a claim, my boss has cut my hours, which means a smaller paycheck, and she barely talks to me. The other people in the office are acting cold as well. I have to look for another job because I can’t survive on half my usual hours.”
The fact is that your boss can’t stop you from filing a workers’ comp claim, and retaliating against you for doing so is illegal. Sadly, that doesn’t stop it from happening. Often the employer won’t say in so many words that they’re firing or demoting you or reducing your hours because of the claim, making it harder to sue them for retaliation.
Unfortunately, many companies discourage workers’ comp claims because it can raise their insurance rates. In some cases, the supervisor goes so far as to claim the worker’s injury was intentional just to avoid responsibility. Although fighting for your compensation – and sometimes your job – can be challenging, your attorney will be by your side. Call a lawyer immediately if you’ve experienced retaliation or even a vague threat toward your job related to a workers’ comp claim. In addition to helping you file a claim without your employer, we will advise you on what to look out for and how to gather proof of retaliation if it exists.
It can be easy to give up out of frustration when your worker’s compensation claim is denied. You are angry and feel you have been treated unfairly, and you have no other choices. We strongly urge that you continue the fight with a legal expert in your corner. Our Columbia workers’ compensation attorney knows that you deserve better, and we are here to advocate for your rights!
With nearly five decades of combined legal experience, our team knows what it takes to win. At Auger & Auger, we are ready to focus on your case and dedicate ourselves to its success. We promise to keep you informed throughout the entire process of your case. And, our zero-fee guarantee means you don’t have to worry about our fees unless we win. Don’t let the lack of a paycheck discourage you from seeking legal representation!
Call (803) 470-5298 today for your free consultation, with no fees due until recovery!