In South Carolina, employers are required to provide workers’ compensation benefits for employees injured while on the job. This compensation is intended to assist in paying for medical bills and missed time at work.
While workers’ compensation is often seen as a protected right, there are many circumstances under which compensation is denied. If you have received a denial, then you should note that an appeals process is available for you to fight the initial decision.
There are four basic steps involved in the appeals process.
Request a Hearing
If you receive a denial, then your first course of action should be to file a request for a hearing. This hearing is a formal process that aims to resolve any disputes between yourself, your employer and your employer’s representative.
In order to request a hearing, you can either both contact the Workers’ Compensation Commission of South Carolina directly and request a form, or you can obtain the form on the official WCC website.
Your hearing will be overseen by a single commissioner, who will hear your case, resolve disputes and determine whether you should be approved for benefits.
If you receive a positive outcome, the process ends. If not, the next step comes into play.
Appeal to the Full Commission
The next level of appeal involves filing a request for commission review. You should note before taking this step that it can be expensive. The filing fee is $150 — and that fee may be increased if the commission finds you lacked solid reasoning for bringing the case forward.
The decision made in this case is called an “award.” You will receive an award notification, along with legal rulings that detail the findings of your case.
In the vast majority of situations, whether the claim has been approved or denied, the process ends after this step. But, in rare cases, injured employees may choose to take their claim to the next level.
The South Carolina Court of Appeals
At this point, you will be required to file an official lawsuit with the South Carolina Court of Appeals. You will have thirty days from the date of your award notification.
In your filing, you must state your reasoning for the appeal and explain why you believe the decision is incorrect. This is rarely done without the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, who can help put your case into legal terms.
During this time, your employer is still required to pay you weekly cash benefits and medical care — but only while the appeal is pending.
The South Carolina Supreme Court
If you lose in the South Carolina Court of Appeals, then you need to make a decision about whether to move forward. Legal battles can be costly, and you should closely consider the details of your case with the assistance of an attorney.
Should you choose to move forward, you will file an appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court. It is important to note that not all appeals are heard, as the court has the right to choose which cases it will preside over.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Assistance
Are you dealing with a denial of your workers’ compensation benefits? The time has come to fight for the assistance you deserve. For representation, contact our team of South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. by calling (803)-324-7200.