Deadline to Give Notice of an Injury in Worker’s Compensation

When is it too late to give notice of an injury?

Answer:  After 90 days of the injury!

You may have heard this in connection of an accident you had at work from your employer or their insurance carrier.. “I’m sorry because you did not report your injury immediately on the day it happened your claim has been denied and Worker’s Comp. cannot cover you.”   If you have heard this from an insurance company or an employer please know that this is not the law.

Although timely reporting of an injury may help your claim, South Carolina workers compensation laws only require that reporting of an accident and injury to the employer within 90 days of the date of the accident.  In another words…immediately means within 90 days, regardless of the employer’s policies or rules.  This 90 day rule cannot be changed or altered by an employee policy or handbook.  If you fail to give notice to your employer within 90 of the accident, you could lose your right to recover any workers compensation benefits.

We find that many individuals who are injured on the job are hopeful the injury will simply go away in a few days and never report it for that reason.  Often these hard working individuals are more concerned with getting the job done than taking care of themselves. Sometimes the injured employee is even bullied into thinking if they report it they will be hurting the company or jeopardizing their job.  Often they will work until the job is completed that day in the hopes that taking a couple days off or easing off the amount of work they’re doing for the next week will somehow allow an orthopedic type injury to heal. Unfortunately, the injured workers intent is actually focused on helping the employer however the delay will likely provide ammunition for the insurance company to deny your case. Don’t let that happen to you. Know the law and know the attorneys who know the law. For free consultation please contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC at 803-350-9230.  Let us help you get the benefits you deserve under the law.


A truck collision is worth contacting an attorney

 

It is important to contact an attorney following a trucking collision.  The insurance claims adjuster that may contact you is not looking out for your best interest.  The insurance claims adjuster is helping to make sure the trucking company and its insurance carrier compensations you the least as possible, or not at all.  You need the help of an experienced trucking accident attorney on your side.

Trucking collisions occur on our roadways in South Carolina almost everyday.  The facts related to trucking accidents are alarming.

The highest number of crashes involving 18-wheelers or large commercial truck occur on long haul trips.  Approximately 65% of all fatalities from trucking accident occur on long-haul trips.  Statistics show that 1 in 4 truckers admit to falling asleep while driving during the previous month.  This is because trucker consistently get less than 5 hours of sleep per night.  This sleep is often in a the cab of the truck, and truckers use high does of caffeine, and sometimes drugs, to attempt to stay alert behind the wheel.  You may not realize it, but the lack of sleep impacts alertness and performance similar to being under the influence of alcohol.  Truckers are required to meet strict load and delivery schedules, and their compensation is largely based on logging as many hours behind the wheel as possible.  While there are mandatory Hours of Service rules set forth by Federal Regulations, these rules are often ignored by drivers of 18-wheeler.

Severe injuries or death is more likely to occur in a trucking collusion due to the sheer size of 18-wheelers – which can be as long as 53 feet and weigh up to 80,000 pounds.  Large trucks only account for 4 percent of all registered vehicles, yet they account for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes. Or, that when large trucks collide with other vehicles, it is the occupants of those vehicles – not the truck drivers – who are killed or injured 73 percent of the time.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision that involved an 18-wheeler or a large truck, you need to call the Goings Law Firm, LLC at (803) 350-9230.  We provide aggressive and compassionate representation to injured victims and their families.  It will not cost you anything to see if we can help.  We offer free consultations to protect the rights of injured victims of trucking accidents.


Tips on What to Do After a Truck Collision

HAVE YOU BEEN SEVERELY INJURED IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

Here are some quick tips that we tell most clients:

  1. Seek medical attention for yourself before attempting to do anything else.  Often time injuries can manifest several hours or days after a collision once the adrenaline and initial shock of the trauma wears off.  If your injuries require, you should follow up with your family doctor or other specialist after your discharge from the hospital or emergency room.
  2. Try to documenting the accident scene through photographs and videos on your cell phone.
  3. If there are any witness or onlookers at the accident scene, its is very important to get their full names, addresses, and phone numbers.  Never rely on the police officer to gather this information.
  4. Do not admit fault to anybody at the scene.  Limit what you say to statements of facts to the responding law enforcement officer.
  5. Avoid speaking altogether to insurance adjusters and attorneys representing the trucking company and other potential defendants. Nothing good will come out of talking to an insurance adjuster or trucking company representative without an attorney.  The insurance adjuster or the trucking company claims representation is not your friend!
  6. Most importantly, strongly consider hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon a possible.  At the very least, call an attorney at our firm and we will try to answer any questions that you may have– but please know that without a lawyer, your rights could be severely jeopardized.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a collision with a truck, give the Goings Law Firm, LLC a call today at (803) 350-9230.  We have more tips that we cannot put on the website and there is no obligation to see if we can help.  We are South Carolina’s Trucking Accident Lawyers.


Dog attacks and kills a child in South Carolina

On December 1, 2017, a child was killed in Cherokee County, South Carolina after being attacked by dogs, reported the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the reporte, an 8-year-old boy was walking with another child between homes on Daniel Morgan School Rd. when three dogs began attacking the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene.When deputies arrived at the scene, the dogs were inside a fenced-in area. The other child who was with the victim was also bitten during this attack. That child was taken to the hospital by a relative to be treated.

The child who died was Korbin Michael Williams of Gaffney, according to the Cherokee County Coroner’s Office. He lived at a home on Daniel Morgan School Rd., states the report.

Two of the dogs were shot and killed when they aggressively approached the responding deputies.

If you or a loved one has been severed injured or killed as a result of a dog attack, please contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today at (803) 350-9230 to see if we can help.  We have a proven track record in protecting innocent victims from dog bites and animal attacks.  We represent dog bite victims throughout the State of South Carolina.  Call us today!


SC Worker’s Compensation Answers: Am I stuck with the Workers Compensation Doctor?

Do you feel like this when you treat with the Insurance Company Doctor?

Question: Do I have to use the workers comp insurance doctor?

Answer:

This is a question that we often hear from individuals who are dissatisfied with the medical care they been receiving from their employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier.  For individuals who choose to go through this legal process by themselves the answer is most likely yes….you are stuck with their doctor. To those who seek the proper legal representation the answer and the outcome can be quite different.

The South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act provides that individuals who are injured while working on the job are entitled to medical benefits.  These benefits need to be provided at no expense to the injured worker.  At first blush, the Workers Compensation Act provides that those individuals seeking medical treatment must receive treatment initially from a doctor provided by the employer and their worker’s compensation insurance carrier.  That medical treatment must continue until it lessens the period of disability or the insurance doctor has placed you at maximum medical improvement (“MMI”).  Similar to how your car’s damage is devalued instantly in an automobile accident by the insurance carrier, some injured workers find the insurance carrier’s physician devalue their injuries as well.  This process often leads to months of frustration treating with a physician who will not listen to their needs or hastily rushes them out the door to end treatment.

If you have the proper legal representation, however, the process may be very different.  Prior to my representation of injured workers, I worked as counsel for 14 years representing workers compensation insurance carriers.  I have worked with some excellent carriers and physicians and unfortunately have seen firsthand some of the struggles injured workers face when paired with some carriers and physicians who do not care.  My unique perspective allows me to know which physicians to steer away from and how to utilize the insurance industry standards and protocols for changing medical providers. We work, using the law, to obtain second opinions provided by the carriers or through our own means to allow our clients to get the best medical treatment that they need. Let me see if I can provide you that same medical treatment. For free consultation on your workers compensation claim, call me at 803-350-9230.

Answered by Christian E. Boesl, Manager of the Workers’ Compensation Department


SC Worker’s Compensation Answers: I thought I was entitled to pay while I was out of work?

“I thought I was entitled to pay while I was out of work?”

Answer:  It’s the 7/14 Rule

Every day we get asked… “I thought I was entitled to pay while I was out of work?”  Our response is always the same  “It’s an easy rule and I have no idea why the insurance carrier hasn’t paid you.”  The reality is the Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina provides a very clear rule of law…injured workers are entitled to 2/3 of their gross pay (temporary total disability [TTD] benefits) while out of work from a work injury.  I call it the 7/14 rule.  South Carolina Coda Ann. 42-9-200 provides that once an injured worker has been out of work 7 days (does not have to be consecutive) they are entitled to start receiving 2/3 of their average weekly wages (gross).  Starting the 8th day that worker is entitled to start receiving compensation from the insurance carrier.

If the injured worker is out of work the 8th through the 14th day they will receive benefits for each of those days.  If the injured worker has not gotten better by the 15th day the insurance carrier has to go back and provide payment for those first 7 days that were not paid.

For the first 150 days from the reporting of the accident by the employee to the employer Weekly benefits will need to continue until the treating physician has released them to go back to work full duty (no restrictions) or they have been released to some type of light duty and the employer can accommodate those restrictions.  If you have not been released or your employer cannot accommodate then the carrier has to continue to provide the payment of “timely benefits.”

The second 150 days is a crucial and often misunderstood or just blatantly ignored rule by insurance carriers as well.  After 150 days has run on your claim and if you have not returned to work, the insurance carrier cannot turn stop off your benefits, even if they offer light duty or get their doctor to release you full duty (SC Code Ann. 42-9-260).  Stoppage of your weekly benefits can only come by way of a signed Order by the Commissioner. As with the failure to start benefits we see often the same mistakes made by insurance carriers who fail to keep benefits running as required by the law.

Do you have Questions about Not Getting Paid by Workers Compensation for an On the Job Injury?

Let us help you navigate through and around some of the insurance carrier obstacles preventing you from receiving the full benefit of the law. If you need answers as to why you are not getting paid by the insurance carrier if you have been injured on the job, please contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today and ask to speak with Workers Compensation Attorney Christian Boesl.  The call is free to see if we can help you–  workers compensation claims are tricky and you may need to hire an experienced lawyer in South Carolina to protect your legal rights.


HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

An experienced trucking accident attorney must be consulted following a collision that results in serious injuries.  Negligent and reckless truck drivers are a threat on South Carolina’s highway, particularly on the Interstates.  Large trucks commonly haul heavy loads, the drivers are distracted, and the trucking companies force its drivers to complete demanding trips across the United States.  The most common causes of trucking collisions are the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Using the Phone While Driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Lack of driver training
  • Unsecured cargo
  • Improper maintenance
  • Improper trailer connection
  • Speeding
  • Overloaded cargo
  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Failure to maintain proper distance

While distraction and fatigue top the list, there is a growing pattern of truck drivers operating their vehicle under the influence of drugs, especially drugs to assist in keeping drivers awake on the road such as methamphetaimes.

What to Do If You Were Involved in a Collision with a Truck or Commercial Vehicle?

Large medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning potential, surgeries, disability, permanent impairment—- this can be the reality following a trucking accident that involves a large commercial vehicle.  In order to recover for your injuries, the law requires proof that the truck driver was negligent or careless in the operation and that a reasonable person would not have caused the collision.  The negligence can also be rooted in improper maintenance, inadequate training, or a failure to monitor drug use, or failure to comply with customary safety standards.  It is important that you contact an experience trucking accident attorney if you were involved in a collision with a truck or a large commercial vehicle.

The Goings Law Firm is dedicated to improving the safety of South Carolina’s highways and ensuring that victims of trucking accidents are reasonably compensated for their injuries.  If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by the a 18 wheeler, large truck, or a commercial vehicle, you need to contact the Goings Law Firm today at 803-350-9230 for a free and confidential consultation.  Attorney Robert Goings was voted the best in Columbia– the 2017 “Top Personal Injury Attorney” in Columbia, South Carolina by the Columbia Business Monthly.    Let us put our experience to work for you today!


South Carolina Motorcyclists Ride at Great Risk

Most motorcyclists will agree that, from deteriorated road conditions to distracted automobile drivers, riding a motorcycle is as dangerous as it has ever been. For many of the riders unfortunate enough to be seriously injured in an accident, a careless or distracted automobile driver has been at fault. Some riders are forced to go as far as to swerve or kick a car’s side to avoid a collision, with many riders citing cell phone use as the driver’s cause of inattention. The roads in South Carolina are may even be some of the most dangerous for motorcyclists. According to a recent article from The Post and Courier, the average annual fatality rate for riders in South Carolina is second to only Mississippi.  Last year’s 135 motorcyclist deaths was the highest death rate in the palmetto state in a century, showing a frightening trend after the 2015 fatality rate rose to the highest level since 2007.

States with mandatory helmet laws show fatality rates 20 to 40 percent lower than elsewhere, but in South Carolina, only those 21 and younger fall under any state mandated helmet rule. Efforts to pass additional helmet laws in South Carolina have failed, but nearly three-quarters of motorcyclist deaths on South Carolina roads involve helmetless riders.

Some riders believe that untrained or reckless motorcyclists are the cause of the high fatality rate, as these riders are more prone to actions which create more risk of an accident such as weaving in and out of traffic and high-speed wheelies. According to some, it is the untrained riders with one to two years’ riding experience who take the most risk, as these riders are less cautious than both new and seasoned riders.  In South Carolina, the law doesn’t require any training and only asks for a limited amount of proof of motorcycle riding ability to obtain a motorcycle license. In fact, the only test required to obtain a motorcycle license is taken on a closed course and only requires the rider to maneuver the bike at speeds well below typical roadway speeds (approximately 15 m.p.h.in the test) to pass. Whether it is making the decision to wear a helmet or taking a class to sharpen your motorcycle riding skills, there are steps that any rider can take to make the roads a less dangerous place for themselves and avoid the injuries, financial burden, and the chance of death that come with a motorcycle accident.

With accidents on the rise, more and more people are unfortunately injured and suffer from motor vehicle accidents involving motorcycles, even where the motorcyclist had no fault in the accident. The attorneys at Goings Law Firm, LLC understand the dangers motorcyclists face. Riders have a right to safety on the road, and those who create unsafe conditions should be held legally and financially responsible for their actions. For more information or to speak one of our qualified and compassionate Columbia personal injury attorneys, please contact us at (803) 350-9230 today.


Welcome Back Mallory Haber!

Mallory Haber

The Goings Law Firm is excited to have Mallory Haber back with the firm. Mallory helped with the start of the Goings Law Firm in 2011! We are so lucky to have her back!!
Mallory attended the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2005. Upon graduation, Mallory began working as a legal assistant at a firm in Columbia. Upon obtaining her paralegal certification, Mallory began working at the Goings Law Firm. Mallory then moved down to Charleston and worked as a paralegal at a firm on Daniel Island. Mallory returned to Columbia and the Goings Law Firm this Fall and couldn’t be more excited. In her free time, Mallory loves watching all Gamecock sports, and hanging out with her husband and dog.

Goings Law Firm wins big for an injured worker at the SC Court of Appeals – Stacey Sellers v. Tech Service

On August 9, 2017, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed an Order of the Workers Compensation Commission in the matter of Sellers v. Tech Service, Inc., Op. No. 5508 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 9, 2017) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 30 at 14).  The Court of Appeals found that the injured worker, Stacey Sellers, was an employee under the Act, and not an “independent contractor” as claimed by his employer.

On November 8, 2013, Stacey Sellers fell off a ladder while performing HVAC work during the construction of a single-family home located in the Market Commons subdivision in Horry County.  Claimant injured his lower extremities, his back, and his neck as a result of the fall.  Claimant alleged that he was a long time employee of two HVAC companies, Tech Services of Myrtle Beach, LLC and/or Tech Services, Inc., and that he was working in the course and scope of his employment with one or both Tech Services entities at the time of the accident.  The Employer claimed that Mr. Sellers was an independent contractor because he obtained his own workers’ compensation insurance, was provided a Form 1099, and worked for himself on other projects.

The Court of Appeals thoroughly analyzed the facts based on the 4 factor test to determine whether an injured worker qualifies as an employee in South Carolina. “Under settled law, the determination of whether a claimant is an employee or independent contractor focuses on the issue of control, specifically whether the purported employer had the right to control the claimant in the performance of his work.”  Shatto v. McLeod Reg’l Med. Ctr., 406 S.C. 470, 475, 753 S.E.2d 416, 419 (S.C. 2013) (citations omitted).  “Under the controlling common law rubric of the right of control, the Court examines four factors which serve as a means of analyzing the work relationship as a whole: (1) direct evidence of the right or exercise of control; (2) furnishing of equipment; (3) method of payment; (4) right to fire.”  Id. (citations omitted).  As Shatto requires, these factors should be applied “in an evenhanded manner in determining whether the questioned relationship is one of employment or independent contractor.”  Id. 

In applying these factors, the Court of Appeals held that the greater weight of the evidence supports the finding of an employment relationship between Mr. Sellers and Tech Service at the time of the accident.  The Court noted there was overwhelming evidence in the record illustrating Tech Service had the right to exercise control over the details of Mr. Seller’s work. The record in this case is devoid of an independent contractor agreement. Tech Service furnished equipment for Mr. Sellers to use while on the job.  At the time of the injury, Mr. Sellers was wearing a Tech Service uniform and had Tech Service business cards.  He told service contracts for Tech Services and purchased supplies on Tech Service accounts with HVAC suppliers.  Mr. Sellers received the majority of his income from Tech Service. In addition, the court found evidence illustrating Tech Service supervised, inspected and monitored the quality of Respondent’s work product supporting the finding that Tech Service had the right to terminate its working relationship with Respondent without liability.  The totality of the evidence favored an employer/employee relationship over an independent contractor relationship.

If you have any questions about whether you are considered an “employee” or an “independent contractor”, please give us a call so that we can help.  Unfortunately, employers and their workers compensation carriers will do anything to deny paying for benefits, even so far as to claim the you are not an employee under the law.   This is a big win for injured workers!

The Full Opinion from the South Carolina Court of Appeal can be found here: http://www.sccourts.org/opinions/HTMLFiles/COA/5508.pdf


Next Page »