When Denied Workers’ Comp in South Carolina, You Need to Appeal
While filing for worker’s compensation is common, not every claim is successful. In such cases, the claimant must appeal the decision made by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. The injured or sick worker can also appeal the commission’s final decision concerning the claimant’s benefits in the initial filing. Succeeding when filing an appeal can make it possible to care for oneself and loved ones while being unable to work. Having an experienced workers’ comp attorney by your side improves your chance of succeeding. Let’s look at the appellate process in South Carolina, what steps you need to take and how a workers’ comp lawyer can help.
Helping Workers’ Comp Claimants in Aiken and Myrtle Beach
The Jeff Morris Law Firm helps workers’ comp claimants obtain the benefits they deserve in initial filings and the appellate process. We protect workers’ rights with the same diligence and aggressiveness we provide to all our clients. Don’t take no for an answer. Let us help you appeal a negative decision.
How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Appeal?
To begin, you must submit a hearing request along with a $25 fee to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. The hearing request is sent to the following address:
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
P.O. Box 1715
1333 Main Street, Ste. 500
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission is a state agency. It is charged with reviewing workers’ compensation claims in the state. They also hold a hearing when the employee and the employer contest the court’s decision.
Seven commissioners comprise the commission and they make decisions, approve agreements and preside over conferences.
Hearing Your Appeal
One of the seven commissioners will hear your appeal after the request has been submitted. The hearing is usually held in the county where the injury occurred. The injured worker can testify at the hearing. In addition, the worker may be asked to visit a doctor prior to the hearing to assess the worker’s injury, and a medical professional may also testify.
Once the hearing is completed, the commission issues an order (decision). This order can also be appealed.
If you disagree with the single commissioner’s decision at your initial appellate hearing, a second appeal with a panel of three commissioners is available. The decision is referred to as an award and is issued by the panel.
Requesting a Commission Review
In order to obtain a commission review, you need to file a request within 14 days after you receive the first decision or order. This time the filing fee is $150. Send it to the same address you used for the first appeal.
Some individuals cannot afford to pay the $150 fee. In this case, the claimant can file a request to waive the fee. The application will ask you pertinent questions about your financial circumstances.
Note that you may be charged an additional $250 fee if the review committee thinks your case is without merit. This means that you had no substantial reason to disagree with the first ruling. When this extra fee is assigned, it generally has to do with a fraudulent claim or a similar action. Most claims are said to have a degree of merit.
Appealing an Award
The next action available to you is appealing the award. To do this, you must file a lawsuit with the South Carolina Court of Appeals. You have 30 days from the time the award was issued or the date the Commission received a registered mail receipt saying you received notice of the award. Note that the employer is still responsible for paying the worker benefits and paying for medical care while this appellate process continues.
The reasons for filing a case with the court of appeals rests on two elements: Your belief the commission made an error based on the facts of your case, or a mistake was made based on the way the commission interpreted the law. An attorney’s help is crucial.
The South Carolina Supreme Court
If the South Carolina Court of Appeals denies your claim, you can still file for your case to be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court. Not all cases are accepted by the Supreme Court.
The Law Firm of Jeff Morris in the Myrtle Beach Area
Appellate actions can be complicated, and the insight an experienced workers’ comp attorney can provide is invaluable. Call us to set up a free claim review if you are thinking about an appeal. We can be reached at (843) 232-0944 in the Myrtle Beach area. If it is more convenient for you, reach out to us online.