As Ann and Alan, as well as their 2 partners at Mickle & Bass, are former workers’ compensation commissioners, their firm focuses primarily on the representation of men and women in South Carolina who have been hurt at work. These insights can be extremely beneficial if you have a workers’ compensation claim. Here are the 4 things that Ann and Alan recommend if you are ever in a work-related accident:
One of the most common scenarios is where a person is at work late on a Friday afternoon and they get injured at work. It could be a stabbing feeling in their lower back or some other sort of injury. The problem is that many people don’t want to wait around to fill out the paperwork. So they decide to see how it gets over the weekend and if it still hurts, they will just fill out the paperwork on Monday. This is an example of someone delaying notification of the injury. If you wait over the weekend, the insurance company will come back and say that you did it over the weekend at home and that it is not a work injury. This is why it is so important that you notify your employer when you are hurt. Don’t wait!
2. Insist that you be given medical treatment.
If you are hurt on the job and need medical treatment, make sure that you go to your employer and insist medical treatment. In many cases, Ann and Alan have seen folks that are injured on the job but 1) they didn’t report it and 2) they didn’t as for appropriate medical treatment. If the employer does not know about the injury or that you want medical treatment, it is not the fault of the employer for failing to get you the treatment and attention you need.
Documentation means everything. The doctor is going to write down and report on every body part you note that you are injured. If you go to your supervisor on Friday and you don’t go to the doctor… then how can you guarantee?
3. Tell the Doctor about every injury that you have had in the accident.
Documentation is key to workers’ compensation cases. This means that as soon as you have the injury, you should go to the doctor. If you are hurt on Friday and you tell your supervisor, and then he recommends that you wait it out through the weekend and see how you feel on Monday, and you are still in pain on Monday, who is to say that your supervisor may not come forward and state that you told him/her about the injury on Friday? He may say that you were fine and that you must have been injured at home over the weekend. Protect yourself by seeking immediate medical attention to document your injuries as soon as you can following the injury.
Also, when you are at the doctor’s office, make sure you tell the doctor about all of your injuries. Many times people will only focus on what hurts the most at that given time. However, what hurts the most now, may not be the cause of the long-term aches and pains 6 weeks or 6 months down the road. Thus, you want to make sure you are telling the doctor about every body part that hurts or feels different after the accident.
4. Know your Rights.
The section of the South Carolina code that deals with workers’ compensation claims is large. There are many cases in there where the courts have ruled on workers’ compensation claims. If you know all of the laws and you have read all of those cases, you know all of the regulations and know how to gather and present the evidence, you do not need a lawyer.