10 Things NOT To Do When You're Injured At Work In South Carolina:
1. Don't fail to fill out an accident report with your employer no matter how minor your injury. Sometimes seemingly minor accidents develop into big problems later. Your employer has to keep a copy of the accident report on file for several years. Your lawyer can obtain a copy from your employer later and use it as evidence to prove you did report an injury and the day it occurred.
2. Don't refuse any medical treatment. Your employer will say you didn't suffer an injury because you declined treatment at the time of the accident. Once you need medical treatment, your employer is allowed to select the doctor under SC law. If you refuse to treat with their doctor, your employer or its insurance company can deny you benefits. An attorney can help you get treatment from the company doctor or a new doctor without having your benefits cut off.
3. Don't give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster (unless your lawyer is with you.) You are not required to give a recorded statement. The insurance adjuster does not want to help you. Their job is to save the insurance company's money. If you say the wrong thing, an adjuster will use your statement to deny the claim.
4. Don't quit your job during your case. An employer is required to provide you with light duty when their doctor gives you work restrictions. If your employer does not have light duty available then their insurance company has to pay you weekly checks. When you quit your job, your employer doesn't have to pay, even if you are on light duty restrictions from their doctor.
5. If you're out of work because of your injury, don't apply for short-term disability (STD) or unemployment. STD applications typically require that you confirm your injury was not work-related. Unemployment applications require you to confirm you are ready, willing, and able to work without limitations. The insurance company will use these documents as evidence that you were not injured at work or have no injury limiting your ability to work. A lawyer may be able to help you apply for these benefits without hurting your claim.
6. Don't apply for Social Security Disability while on Workers’ Comp. If you apply for Social Security disability while you are treating for a work-related injury, Medicare will want to calculate the amount of your future medical care related to the work injury. Medicare will then demand the workers compensation insurance company set aside that money to pay for that amount of future medical treatment. This can delay resolution of your workers' compensation claim and may reduce the amount you receive.
7. Don't assume your HR Manager, Supervisor, the Company Doctor, nurse case manager, or the insurance adjuster are looking out for your best interest. If you were in a car wreck, would you expect the other driver that ran into you to help you get the maximum recovery against them? Of course not. Your employer or it's insurance company will tell you that you are not entitled to certain benefits or that you are only eligible for a limited amount. They may tell you the company has no insurance. Often this information is inaccurate and sometimes it is downright false. Employers and insurance companies do not want you to seek advice from a lawyer. Why? Because it usually cost them a lot more money to settle a case when an injured worker is represented by a lawyer.
8. Don't stop going to work without advising your supervisor or HR manager. When you stop going to work without notice, your employer can use this as grounds for termination. Termination does not end your claim, but it may affect the amount you recover. If you refuse to go back to work when you are placed on light duty by the company's doctor, your benefits can be cut off. A lawyer can help make sure your employer complies with any light duty restrictions and prevent your benefits from being cut off if you are unable to perform the light duty offered.
9. Don't delete your text messages and voicemails from your employer and the insurance company. Texts or email are the best way to communicate with your employer because you have written proof later. Memories fade over time. Don't expect your employer to remember how your accident happened, your injuries, or okaying you to miss work when you go to a hearing. Your attorney can use their text messages, email, and voicemail messages to refresh their recollection.
10. Don't listen to advice from non-lawyers. Just because your co-worker’s Uncle Fred had a work accident in Texas, doesn't make him an expert. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop people from trying to give you advice that is usually either inaccurate or wrong. South Carolina Workers Compensation law is complicated. Don't settle for amateur advice, when you can meet with an experienced South Carolina workers compensation lawyer for free to discuss your rights.