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South Carolina employees should keep their workers' compensation

Being injured while on the job can have a ripple effect. First, the employee is injured and has the medical and pain-management aspect of the incident. Next comes the financial aspect, which can really put families in a rough spot. When South Carolina workers are hurt on the job, workers' compensation is available to help financially during the time that the injured employee is not able to work.

A maintenance shop worker for an auto company manufacturer in another state was injured on the job while using a piece of cleaning equipment. Her attorney at that time contacted her and visited her at home after she was released from the hospital. The woman signed a blank retainer agreement, which gave the representing attorney the freedom to file a products liability case. Unbeknownst to the victim, the claim should have been filed as a workers' compensation claim.

As time went on, notices that were being sent to the victim indicated that her attorney was not acting in the best interest of his client, and she filed a grievance. The board decided that her grievance did not call for an investigation and closed her case. The woman was still dealing with lasting issues as a direct result of the injury that occurred while she was on the job.

As the woman later learned, there is a difference between workers' compensation and products liability. A workers' compensation claim should have been filed through the victim's employer. The possibility of a product liability claim, especially in this case, may have also applied. Should a products liability claim result in a monetary judgment after workers' compensation benefits have been awarded, the workers' compensation insurer is typically entitled to a lien on the judgment up to the amount of work comp benefits paid to the injured employee.

In this victim's case, only the products liability claim was considered. This mishap cost the woman her workers' compensation benefits. Using an experienced South Carolina attorney to file workers' compensation claims and appeals, if necessary, can take the burden off of the family and the victim. The lawyer can also help to determine whether a separate third party claim, such as one for products liability, may also be appropriate. Monies received from a successful claim can help cover incurred medical costs and lost wages.

Source:, "How a Michigan auto worker was swindled out of a worker's comp case", Yvette Caslin, May 23, 2017

Philpot Law Firm, PA
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Greenville, SC 29601

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