Tips for Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you are considering hiring a lawyer to represent you for an injury that occurred in the course and scope of your job, you will need to determine who is the best workers’ compensation lawyer for you.  Hiring the best attorney is important.  We caution people from choosing a lawyer based on silly advertisements, paid actors on commercials,  or representations that appear too good to be true.  You will not find any gimmicks with our firm!  When injuries on the job, you need a serious lawyer that devotes time meeting with clients and representing them in court. Experience matters in hiring a workers’ compensation attorney in South Carolina.  Here are some tips on hiring a workers’ compensation attorney based on frequently asked questions:

1.  Should I hire a workers’ compensation attorney?

If you have been injured on the job, the first questions to ask yourself is “Do I need to hire an attorney?”  An attorney is not required for all workers’ compensation claims.  In fact, many job injuries do not require the need for an attorney if injury is not severe or your work is not limited.  However, we strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney if you fall within any of these categories:

  1. The workers’ compensation carrier has delayed or been been slow in providing medical care.
  2. The worker’s compensation carrier has denied your claim.
  3. If your injury requires surgery.
  4. If your injury requires you to be out of work for over 14 days.
  5. If your injury requires hospitalization.
  6. If you have not received a workers’ compensation check for being out of work.

If any of these situations apply to you, then we strongly recommend contacting our office today to see if we can represent you in your workers’ compensation claim.

2.  Will the Insurance Company hire an attorney?

Yes, the insurance company will have a team of attorneys to represent the interests of the insurance company and the employer regardless of you hiring an attorney.   If the insurance company and the employer always has attorneys representing them, shouldn’t you have an attorney to represent you?  It’s can be dangerous to represent yourself in a workers’ compensation claim.  Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you if your injury falls within any of the categories above.

3.  Who should I hire to represent me in my workers’ compensation claim?

It is important to hire the best attorney to represent injured workers in workers’ compensation claims. We believe the best representation that you can receive is to hire an attorney who only practices in the field of workers’ compensation.  Not every attorney in South Carolina handles workers’ compensation claims.  The workers’ compensation system is unique in South Carolina.  The South Carolina worker’s compensation laws consist of thousands of pages of statutory laws and regulations, and case law from the South Carolina Court of Appeals and South Carolina Supreme Court.   It is important to hire an attorney with a sole and singular focus in representing injury workers before the Workers’ Compensation Commission.  The workers’ compensation team at the Goings Law Firm has the sole mission of only representing injured workers.

4.  Look at Testimonials or Reviews when Hiring your Attorney.

We believe that online testimonials and reviews  are a great place to start when choosing a lawyers for your workers’ compensation claim.  Testimonials and reviews allow you to hear from past clients who have dealt with the law office to determine if you are the right fit for that firm.  We would recommend that you look at sites, like Facebook, Google, Avvo, Super Lawyers, Expertise, and Lawyers.com.  You will find that the Goings Law Firm has received great reviewed from former clients!

5.  Why Hire the Goings Law Firm as your Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

When you hire the Goings Law Firm, you are getting a team of dedicated workers’ compensation professionals to represent you.  We believe experience matters.  The more experience your attorney has, the more likely they have seen similar cases in the past and know the best ways to prove your claim.  Robert Goings founded the workers’ compensation practice.  Year after year, Robert Goings receives honors for his commitment to fighting for the right of the injury.  In 2019, Robert was recognized as Legal Elite under Personal Injury Law for the Columbia/Midlands Business Monthly publication.  He received the most votes for Personal Injury Law and was nominated by his peers in Columbia as the Top Personal Injury Lawyer in the Midlands.

The workers’ compensation team is lead by Christian Boesl.  Christian has devoted his career to workers’ compensation in South Carolina.  He is listed as a Super Lawyer and in the Best Lawyers in America in the field of Workers’ Compensation.  Before joining the Goings Law Firm, Christian lead the workers’ compensation team at one of the state’s most respected insurance workers’ compensation defense firms for nearly 15 years.  In defending workers’ compensation claims, he knows how the “other side” works in order to best represent you before the Workers’ Compensation Commission.   His experience in defending workers’ compensation claims has proven invaluable in helping injured workers get the benefits and compensation that they deserve under the law.  Many clients and opposing counsel refer to Christian’s efforts as “relentless”, “hard-charging”, and “aggressively confident.”   We believe Christian is the go-to attorney for Workers’ Compensation based on his proven results both in and outside of the courtroom.  Additionally, the paralegals that work at the Goings Law Firm on the workers’ compensation team only focus on workers’ compensation claims.  These paralegals have a combined more than 20 years experience for on the job injuries to ensure that your case is properly handled and that your questions are timely answered.  Just check out the reviews online about our workers’ compensation practice.

6.  How much does the Goings Law Firm charge to represent me?

For on the job injuries and workers’ compensation claims, the Goings Law Firm only represents clients on a no-obligation contingency fee basis.  This means that we only get paid if you receive compensation.  If you lose, then you owe nothing to our office.  Our fee is a percentage of the recovery based on the amount permitted by the statutory laws and regulations for workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina.  Our fees are fair, and reasonable, and are always approved by the Workers’ Compensation commission.  Due to the complex nature of workers’ compensation laws, we believe that clients have a better chance in getting a better resolution with the aid of an experienced lawyer instead of representing yourself in court.  There is a lot of value in hiring a firm like the Goings Law Firm.

7.  How do I get in touch with the Goings Law Firm for my on the job injury?

Contacting the Goings Law Firm is easy!  Simply call or text us today to see if we can help you get the benefits and compensation that you deserve for your on the job injury.


Why do you need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQOQXF784pQ

If you are wondering if you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney, listen to this short video.  Christian Boesl explains when you should hire an attorney to help you with your workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina. Here are the tips to know when you need an attorney.  The insurance company will have attorneys defending the case against you, shouldn’t you have legal representation?  Call us today at 803-350-9230 for a free, no obligation, consultation to see if we can help you.

Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Workers’ Compensation


Do you have a Shoulder Injury from a Work Related Accident?

If you have a Shoulder Injury from a on the job injury, listen to this short video to learn how the Goings Law Firm can help you get the benefits that you deserve under the South Carolina Workers Compensation laws.  You need lawyer that you can trust.  Call us today at 803-350-9230 for a free consultation.

 


An Overview of South Carolina Workers Compensation Laws – The Basics

The Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina provides that if an employee suffers injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment, that individual is entitled to recover medical expenses, temporary total compensation for lost time, and permanent disability benefits if he/she suffered any permanent injury as a result of the work accident. The workers’ compensation laws in South Carolina can be complex, difficult to understand, and hard to navigate without the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

Under the current law, your employer and its insurance carrier has the right to select the doctor who will treat you. If you go to see your own doctor without permission of the employer/carrier, then then employer/carrier may not be responsible for paying for the the medical treatment, unless it constitutes an emergency condition. However, you have the right to choose a physician to evaluate you for the specific disability but typically it will not be paid for by the employer.

Once you suffer an injury on the job you should immediately report it to your supervisor. This should be the same day of the accident, if possible. Never, ever delay reporting the injury to your employer. You should also request that the employer provide appropriate medical treatment. In the event that medical treatment is not provided or not paid for, it would be best to consult with an attorney to determine your rights.

If the claim continues to be contested, or denied, your lawyer should file a Form 50 on your behalf with the Workers’ Compensation Commission to request a contested hearing. This sets out the various parties, the date and description of the accident, who you reported it to, the injuries suffered, whether medical treatment is needed, any disfigurement you may have received and any other relief you may be requesting.

The employer, unless self insured, is usually represented by an insurance company known as the carrier. The carrier files an answer on a Form 51, where they may admit or deny what you have said in your Form 50. The case is then placed on the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s docket, and assigned to an individual Commissioner who acts as a fact finder and also rules on the law. A hearing is usually held within three to five months, and at the hearing the employee presents his/her case. You should understand that the employer/carrier will always have an attorney defending the case. If the employer/carrier has an experienced lawyer, shouldn’t you?

Usually medical testimony is presented in the form of a deposition and your physician will not attend a hearing. The other medical evidence that the Commissioner will rely upon are the medical records you and the Carrier present.

Once a commissioner has ruled on the case, the Commissioner will issue an Opinion and Award which sets forth his/her ruling of fact and law, and what relief, if any, the employee gets. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision, the case can be appealed to the full Commission which is made up of all the Workers’ Compensation Commissioners except for the one who heard the case originally. After that hearing is held, if either party is dissatisfied with the decision, it can be appealed to the Circuit Court and on up to the South Carolina Supreme Court, depending on the procedural posture of the claim. You have 14 days from the date of the Order to file an appeal.

Fault or negligence is not an issue regarding the payment of a workers’ compensation claim unless, for example, the employee was intoxicated at the time of the injury. Remember, if you are injured on the job, report the incident to your supervisor.

If you feel like you are not getting medical treatment or not being paid for being out of work, these are tell-tell signs that seeking legal assistance may be necessary. We are happy to discuss your claim with you to see if an attorney would be your best route to protect you. Call us today for an honest and confidential evaluation of your workers’ compensation claim. The number to the Goings Law Firm, LLC is (803) 350-9230.


Workers’ Compensation Settlement: A proposed law may help protect injured workers

Do you need advise in negotiating your workers’ compensation settlement? Is the Insurance Company and the employer not being fair? A proposed new law in SC may help protect you!

A proposed new law introduced by S.C. House Representative Beth Bernstein has been filed to help protect injured workers when negotiating workers’ compensation settlements. S.C. House Bill 3352 is designed to prevent insurance companies or employers from demanding that injuries employee are required to release other legal claims, such as employment claims (such as ADA violations, sex, age, and gender discrimination, wage disputes) and other employment related disputes as a condition to resolving a workers’ compensation claim for a work related injury. The legislation would prohibit these tactics by employers and carrier, and any such negotiations on these terms would constitute “per se bad faith.” This would be a big win for employees because insurance companies or employers attempt to hold employees “over a barrel” when negotiating settlements, and often time conditioning any workers’ compensation settlement to a full release of any and all legal rights that the employee may have against the employer.

This bill is currently in committee and if passes committee, it may be voted on by the General Assembly this year. The language of the proposed legislation, S.C. House Bill 3352, states:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    Chapter 17, Title 42 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 42-17-15.    (A)    A settlement agreement as to compensation between and employer and an injured employee or his dependents provided in Section 42-17-10 is void and unenforceable to the extent that the injured employee or his dependents agree to dismiss, release and forever discharge complaints, liabilities, obligations, promises, agreements, controversies, claims for attorney’s fees, damages, actions, causes of actions, suits, rights, demands, costs, losses, debts, and expenses, known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, which the injured employee or his dependents have, own, or hold against the employer up to the date of the release including, but not limited to:

(1)    claims of unlawful employment discrimination arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000 et seq., the Age Discrimination and Employment Act of 1990, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, as amended, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as amended, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA);

(2)    claims for disability and other forms of discrimination or harassment under applicable state or federal antidiscrimination and civil rights laws, claims for retaliation or discrimination under the workers’ compensation law, torts of any kind, including, but not limited to, misrepresentation, negligent or otherwise, fraud, defamation, liable, battery, assault, slander, claims for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, interference with an advantageous business relationship, negligent hiring, negligent retention, interference with contractual relations, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, termination of employment in violation of public policy, breach of employment contract, expressed or implied, nonpayment of wages, overtime, bonus, or other compensation or benefits, or invasion of privacy;

(3)    claims or rights under state and federal whistleblower legislation; and

(4)    other claims, losses, injuries, or damages resulting from, arising out of, or connected directly or indirectly with the employment with the employer including, but not limited to, claims for damages, salary, wages, compensation, monetary relief, employment benefits including, but not limited to, any claims for benefits under an employee benefit plan or any retirement plan, profit sharing, capital stock, bonuses, merit and longevity increases, and all other benefits of any kind, earnings, back pay, front pay, liquidated and other damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, damages to character, damage to reputation, emotional distress, mental distress, depression, injury, impairment in locating employment, financial loss, home foreclosure, pain and suffering, being made whole, injunctive and declaratory relief, interest, or attorney’s fees and costs arising from the injured employee’s employment.

(B)    The offer of a settlement agreement as to compensation that includes any of the prohibited dismissal, release, or discharge conditions enumerated in subsection (A) constitutes bad faith per se.”

SECTION    2.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

Source: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/billsearch.php?billnumbers=3352&session=123&summary=B

Do you need help negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement?  We know how to help in order to make sure you receive all the compensation that you are entitled under the law.  Don’t let the insurance company get over on you– hire an experienced lawyer who can help you today!


Workers Comp: What if I can’t return to work?

A common question we get is “What happens if I cannot return to work due to my work injury.”  The fear of not being able to return to work is a real concern if you have been involved in a work related injury.  Often we counsel with people who have given their best years to an employer only to end up with a debilitating injury caused by their work.  Like any hard working individual, they are concerned with their ability to recover and get back to work as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, many individuals suffer injuries so bad that they are no longer able to meet the work requirements of their job.  Sometimes these injured workers are ill informed that their injury is limited to a recovery solely based on the injured body part.  The insurance company, or its attorney, will try to hurriedly rush an injured worker into a settlement that neither represents the fully injured body part or takes into account their inability to return back to work.  Many injured workers will reluctantly accept a quick settlement only to find out they don’t have a job to be able to return to and can’t support their family.

Fortunately, the South Carolina Workers Compensation Laws provide a mechanism where injured workers can receive an award to address their inability to return to their job instead of just the injured body part.  To be eligible for wage loss the worker must be able to demonstrate they meet the necessary elements of a wage loss claim.  If left to handle these complicated issues by themselves, injured workers may end up without the benefit of the law, or worse miss the requirements to be eligible for wage loss recovery.  At the Goings Law Firm we routinely assist injured workers to determine if they may be eligible for a wage loss recovery.   To determine if you need help with a workers’ compensation injury contact Attorney and Workers’ Compensation Managing Partner Christian E. Boesl with the Goings Law Firm.  Let us help you get the medical treatment you deserve to back to work, or get the money you are entitled to receive if you are unable to return to your job.


Increased Workplace Fatalities Prove that Hiring a Workers Compensation Attorney Is Important

The National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Prove that Hiring a Workers Compensation Attorney Is Important

Fatalities and serious workplace injuries are on a rise in the United States.  Year after year, workplace deaths are increasing South Carolina.  If a loved one has died at work, or you have suffered a serious on the job injury, it is important to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney so that you are fully protected under the laws of South Carolina.  Without an attorney, the insurance company can take advantage of you and quickly deny benefits that the law affords you for medical treatment, pay while not at work, and disability payments for permanent injuries or death.  The insurance company has a team of lawyers, so should you!

Based on the current National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries published by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, there were a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2016, a 7-percent increase from the 4,836 fatal injuries reported in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See chart 1.) This is the third consecutive increase in annual workplace fatalities and the first time more than 5,000 fatalities have been recorded by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) since 2008. The fatal injury rate increased to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.4 in 2015, the highest rate since 2010.  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

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Work injuries involving transportation incidents remained the most common fatal event in 2016, accounting for 40 percent (2,083). Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased 23 percent to become the second-most common fatal event in 2016. Two other events with large changes were exposure to harmful substances or environments, which rose 22 percent, and fires and explosions, which declined 27 percent.