If you were injured at work, you were likely counting on workers’ compensation benefits to help you get through the challenging times ahead. Hearing your claim was denied can feel like a punch in the gut. Unable to work, and with no compensation in sight, it feels like you’ve been left stranded alone with a mountain of medical bills and other debts.
Fortunately, in South Carolina, injured workers have not one—but three—opportunities to appeal a denied claim. In this article, we will answer common questions about the appeals process and explain your rights at every stage of proceedings.
1. Why Was My Workers’ Compensation Claim Denied?
As workers’ compensation benefits can add up to a considerable sum, it’s not uncommon for employers and insurance companies to deny claims they receive. Paying out claims affects their bottom line, so carriers will be looking for any reason to dispute aspects of your case.
Let’s take a look at some reasons why workers’ compensation claims are unsuccessful:
2. How Do I File an Appeal?
If your Workers’ Comp Claim was denied, you have the option to submit a hearing request to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. You will also need to send $25 for the filing fee.
Initially, your claim will be heard before a single Commissioner. The hearing usually takes place in the county where the workplace injury occurred.
An independent medical evaluation arranged by your lawyer may level the playing field against the company doctors.
If the initial hearing is unsuccessful, you can file a request for Commission Review. This request must be submitted within 14 days after the Commissioner’s decision is received. At Commission Review, three Commissioners oversee the hearing. They may disagree with the Commissioner’s initial decision and decide to award Worker’s Compensation benefits. An appeal to the Full Commission requires an effective brief and oral argument.
The next level of appeal is in the South Carolina Court of Appeals. There are many requirements and time deadlines which must be met at this level of the appeal process.
3. What Will Happen during My Medical Examination?
During an independent medical examination, the doctor chosen will evaluate your injuries, recovery progress, and the procedures you’ve undergone. Before the exam, it’s likely that he or she will review your medical records to get a better understanding of your treatment thus far. The doctor will likely ask you questions about your injuries and the impact they have had on aspects of your everyday life.
Ultimately the goal is to compile a report for the Commissioner that answers specific questions about your condition, such as:
Find a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in South Carolina Today
At the Hodge & Langley Law Firm, we have more than 50 years of experience representing injured workers. Whether you are appealing a decision or you are in the early stages of building a claim, we can help you collect the necessary evidence to build a convincing case. Dial 864-585-3873 or head over to our Contact Page to lock in a free case review with one of our South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers.