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THE LAW OFFICE OF WALTER HUNDLEY

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Burden of Proof For South Carolina Workers Compensation Claims

In any workers’ compensation claim, just as in any legal claim for damages, the person seeking compensation must satisfy the burden of proof. In general, the burden of proof is simply the degree to which a party to a legal action must establish their case. In other words, how strongly must a party prove their case in order to win? In a workers’ compensation case, the injured worker must prove that they sustained an injury by accident in the course and scope of their employment. Notice that there is no requirement in workers’ compensation to establish that the employer did anything wrong or acted negligently in causing a worker’s injury. This is a significant difference when compared to many other types of injury claims in South Carolina (such as injuries from motor vehicle collisions) when you must establish that the other party has done something negligent, or careless, in causing your injury. In cases where the employer and insurance company “accept” the claim (in other words, when they accept responsibility for the injury), the injured worker does not need to prove anything else in order to begin receiving appropriate benefits under the law. When cases are accepted at the outset, things often run more smoothly. However, when the employer and insurance company “deny” the claim (in other words, when they do NOT accept responsibility for the injury), the injured worker has the burden of proving that their injury qualifies for benefits under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. When cases are denied from the beginning, it can often mean injured workers are in for a long, difficult fight. In...

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation

Have you been injured on the job? You may be experiencing more than just physical pain. You may be worried about a number of issues related to workers’ compensation. Here, we’d like to address some of the most common questions we hear from concerned clients. 1. What Should I Do If I’m Injured on the Job? If you get hurt on the job, it is important you take the following steps as soon as possible: Tell Your Supervisor. Oftentimes, injured workers wait to see if the injury will heal on its own before reporting it. Then, when it becomes apparent that the injury will cause them to miss work or need significant treatment, they report the injury. Understandably, for employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies, it raises red flags when an employee doesn’t report an injury until days, weeks or even months after it occurs. For this reason (among others), it is extremely important that you inform your supervisor as soon as you have sustained a work-related injury, so that the incident can be documented properly. For example, if you don’t report an injury within 90 days of when it occurs, you may be forever barred from making a claim at all. Ask To Seek Medical Attention. In cases of true emergency, the first thing you should do when injured at work is get the appropriate medical attention. If the injury does not appear to be an immediate emergency, when reporting the injury to your supervisor, make sure you clearly and politely request that your injury be evaluated by a physician. Fill Out An Injury Report. It is important...
Why You Need an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Why You Need an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney

  A work-related injury – especially a severe one requiring extensive medical care – can cause serious hardship. Not only does the employee have to deal with the injury, treatment and recovery, but they are also facing the stress of whether they can return to work and the hardship placed on their family. Workers’ compensation insurance is in place to prevent precisely those financial burdens and challenges. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean the system works in the employee’s favor. If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s a smart idea to obtain legal counsel to help you navigate the process, to learn your rights and to protect your rights. Insurance companies have attorneys representing them, so it only makes sense for you to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as well. A Commissioner, rather than a judge or a jury, hears workers’ compensation cases. Commissioners preside over hearings to decide the value of a case, what kind of treatment an injured worker is entitled to and whether the claim is compensable. Prior to opening his own firm, Walter Hundley served as a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commissioner and Chairman. Mr. Hundley has dedicated the majority of his career to helping clients get the insurance settlement they need to cover their medical expenses and living costs while they recover. As a former Commissioner and Chairman, Walter Hundley helped to improve the Workers’ Compensation system, write regulations for it, and manage it. “I have a lot of respect for the workers’ comp system. I play by the rules – I helped write the rules,” Hundley says, “so it really upsets...
Scaffolding Can Cause Serious Injuries

Scaffolding Can Cause Serious Injuries

Scaffolding is necessary for many people to perform their jobs, especially in the construction industry. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 65 percent1 of all construction workers in the United States use scaffolding on a daily basis. Because of the risks of injury that come with working at such heights on a temporary structure, OSHA has many regulations and guidelines about the safety of scaffolding. Unfortunately, many construction companies may not realize their scaffolding is not up to code or may knowingly go against these safety regulations and injuries can result. Scaffolding falls and other injuries can happen in many ways, including due to the following: Poor installation and securing or scaffolding Defective parts of the scaffolding structure Failure to inspect or maintain the scaffolding Not properly training workers about scaffolding safety Workers who do not use scaffolding safely Falling objects from higher levels of scaffolding Scaffolding collapses Falls from the scaffolding due to obstacles or dangerous conditions on the planks Injuries in scaffolding accidents can be devastating. No matter how your scaffolding-related injury occurred, you deserve to receive workers’ compensation benefits2 for your medical care and any wages you lose from missing work while you recover from your injuries. This is true whether the accident happened because of wrongdoing on the part of your employer or was simply an accident. Call a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation   Whether you are a construction worker or working in another industry, you deserve to receive the full benefits to which you are entitled under workers’ compensation laws if you are injured...
How a Broken Foot Or Ankle Can Affect You

How a Broken Foot Or Ankle Can Affect You

Many people have broken a bone in their lives, especially when they were children. Many broken bones may often heal relatively easily and may only need a cast, rest, and possibly some painkillers for your recovery. However, in other situations, a compound or open fracture1 may require surgery and may take months to recover, if it ever fully heals at all. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers a fractured or cracked bone to be a “significant” injury2 under its guidelines. Any employee who suffers a broken bone should receive the proper medical care and benefits from their employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. The effects of broken feet or ankles A foot or ankle fracture can happen when you least expect it. For instance, a simple trip and fall can result in a broken bone, as well as having something dropped on your foot. If you break your foot or ankle, you should seek medical attention right away so that you can get a cast, walking boot, or other medical you may need to protect your broken bone. In many cases, people with broken feet or ankles are not allowed to put any weight on that leg, so may not be able to walk or stand for weeks. If a fracture is serious, you may have to have surgery to set the bone and to put in pins or screws, which may later have to be removed. In such cases, you will likely have to attend physical therapy in order to walk or stand properly in the future. Call a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer for help today Even...
Should You Accept a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?

Should You Accept a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?

If you are injured at work and have to take time off to recover, you are entitled to receive compensation for your lost wages through the laws enforced by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.1 If you qualify, you can receive weekly checks for partial wage loss, which can help cover your expenses and bills until you are able to return to work. While these checks can be helpful, it may often still be difficult to keep up with your bills and stay within your budget on the weekly benefit checks. For this reason, if the workers’ compensation company offers you a lump-sum payment, you may be tempted to accept it right away. There are a few things you should know before accepting a settlement, however. First, your weekly benefits will end once you receive the lump-sum payment. This is true even if you have a later flare-up or complication from your injury. You will be unlikely to receive benefit checks for this injury in the future. While a lump-sum payment may seem like a lot of money at the time, companies often try to offer less than the full value of your case. If you do not know how to accurately value your case, you could miss out on many benefits to which you are actually entitled. An experienced attorney can help you value your case to decide whether a settlement offer is sufficient or if you should negotiate for a higher amount or continue with weekly benefits. Discuss your situation with a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible While you would like to think that...
What Should I Do If My South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?

What Should I Do If My South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?

Workplace accidents injure millions of people each year, sometimes seriously. Fortunately for injured workers in South Carolina, the state’s Workers’ Compensation Program provides benefits for people who are hurt on the job regardless of fault. In order to obtain benefits, an injured employee must report the incident to his or her employer and request medical treatment. In some cases, an employer may contest a valid workers’ compensation claim and withhold benefits. When this happens, injured employees are entitled to have their case reviewed by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.1 These proceedings can be complicated, so it is advisable for anyone who is having problems getting workers’ compensation benefits to retain an attorney as soon as possible. There are several things that people who have been denied benefits can do to maximize their chances a successful appeal.2 Some of these are detailed below. For advice regarding your specific situation, call an attorney today. Keep detailed notes of the way in which your accident has affected you In some cases, a claim is denied because an employer or a particular physician does not believe that an accident has resulted in an injury requiring treatment or that the injury was not of sufficient severity to prevent a person from working. By keeping detailed notes of the way in which your injury has affected your day-to-day life, you can have an easier time establishing the fact that you are entitled to benefits. Keep records of any communication you have with your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company with whom you are dealing It is extremely important for injured workers to preserve...
Work Accidents On Construction Sites Can Result In Debilitating Injuries

Work Accidents On Construction Sites Can Result In Debilitating Injuries

Construction jobs can pay extremely well, but also expose workers to risks on a daily basis. In fact, the construction industry is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous in the United States each year. Thankfully for the hard-working men and women who make a living in construction, South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Program provides people who are injured in workplace accidents with compensation for their medical expenses and lost income, as well as other kinds of losses. Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, injured workers can obtain benefits without having to prove that their injuries were the result of their employer’s carelessness or negligence.  The process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be complicated, however, so it is recommended that anyone hurt in a workplace accident talk to a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney immediately. Serious injuries can result in significant benefits Construction work often involves the use of power tools, heavy machinery, cutting implements, heavy materials, and other implements that have the potential to result in serious injury. Some of the more serious injuries that are often sustained in Charleston, South Carolina construction accidents are detailed below. Traumatic Brain Injuries – TBIs1 are an extremely serious kind of injury that can occur when a person hits his or head against another object. At a construction site, this could occur in any number of ways, including falling from high up, vehicle accidents, tool accidents, or slipping and falling over. Traumatic brain injuries can leave patients with financial difficulties that they are not aware of. Financial planning for these situations can help minimize stress for these situations. Spinal...
What is a “Detour” &  a “Frolic” In a Workers’ Compensation Case?

What is a “Detour” & a “Frolic” In a Workers’ Compensation Case?

Many individuals who suffer on the job injuries believe that they have the ability to handle their workers’ compensation case on their own and without the assistance of an attorney who understands the South Carolina workers’ compensation system.1 However, these cases can often involve complex legal terminology and arguments used by employers and insurance companies to limit the amount of benefits they must pay to an injured worker. If such arguments arise in your workers’ compensation case, it is imperative to have the assistance of a workers’ compensation lawyer who can help defend against these arguments to maximize the benefits you receive. Detour vs. Frolic One example of legal terms used in workers’ compensation cases occurs when an employee sustains an injury while they are on the clock but have left the premises of the workplace. This often relates to situations in which an employee sustained an injury in a motor vehicle or traffic-related accident. In such cases, you may hear the terms “detour” and “frolic”2 during arguments raised by the insurer or employer. Both terms refer to physical departures from the employer and direct job duties and can affect an individual’s eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. A detour may be unrelated to job duties, but is only a minor departure from the regular business of the employer. For example, if a delivery driver strays from his usual route to stop and get a coffee, use the restroom, pick up dry cleaning, or simply see something of interest along the road, the departure will likely be considered minor and called a detour. If the employee is injured on the...
Common Treatments For Workplace Back Injuries

Common Treatments For Workplace Back Injuries

Many different jobs involve the repeated lifting, carrying, loading, lowering, pulling, or pushing of heavy objects. Anyone who participates in this type of activity at work is at risk of suffering a serious back injury. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),1 over 1,000,000 workers in the U.S. suffer from work-related back injuries every year. Back injuries can result from muscle strain, sprains, damage to the spinal cords, slipped discs, pinched nerves, and more. These injuries can result from one event or can develop over time due to repetitive activities. No matter what type of back injury you have, it can result in severe pain and can limit your work and other activities. How is a back injury treated? Back injury treatments will depend on many different factors, including the location of the injury, the type of injury, and the seriousness of the injury. Some common treatment programs include the following: Rest from activity X-rays and other diagnostic tests Medication, including narcotic painkillers and muscle relaxers for serious injuries Physical therapy Ultrasound therapy2 Chiropractic treatment Deep tissue massage Back braces Surgery In some cases, back injury victims may be unable to work, do household chores, or even walk for days or weeks. While you may wish to get back to your regular activities as soon as possible it is always best to follow the treatment advice of your doctors to ensure your injury recovers as soon as possible. Call a committed South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney today Many workers who injure their backs do not fully realize their rights under the state workers’ compensation laws. At the...
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