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Why do you need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

Why do you need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

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


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

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.

In 2016, fatal injuries among transportation and material moving occupations increased by 7 percent to 1,388, the highest count since 2007 and accounting for more than one-quarter of all work-related fatalities. Occupations with increases greater than 10 percent in the number of fatal work injuries in 2016 include food preparation and serving related occupations (64 percent); installation, maintenance, and repair occupations (20 percent); building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations (14 percent); and sales and related occupations (11 percent). Declines greater than 10 percent in the number of fatal work injuries in 2016 include healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (19 percent), military occupations (15 percent), and production occupations (14 percent).
Logging workers continued to have a high fatal injury rate in 2016, at 135.9 fatalities per 100,000 FTE workers.  A number of occupations recorded their highest fatality counts in 2016. This includes first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers with 134 fatal injuries; landscaping and groundskeeping workers, 125; roofers, 101; tree trimmers and pruners, 84; driver/sales workers, 71; automotive service technicians and mechanics, 64; and farmworkers, farm, ranch, and aquacultural animals, 61.
Fatal work injuries among protective service occupations increased by 68 fatalities (32 percent) in 2016 to a total of 281. This included an increase of 24 fatalities among police officers, 13 fatalities among first-line supervisors/managers of law enforcement workers, and 23 fatalities among miscellaneous protective service workers, including crossing guards and lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers. Police officers incurred 51 homicides in 2016, up 50 percent from 34 fatalities in 2015.
Asian, non-Hispanic workers incurred 160 fatal injuries, up from 114 in 2015, which was the highest percentage increase (40 percent) among any race or ethnic origin. Black or African-American, non-Hispanic workers also had a large percentage increase (19 percent), with 587 fatal injuries compared to 495 in 2015. The rate of fatal injury for both groups also increased. Hispanic or Latino workers had 3 percent fewer workplace fatalities in 2016 with 879 fatalities, down from 903.
Foreign-born workers make up about one-fifth of the total fatal work injuries. Thirty-seven percent of these workers were born in Mexico, followed by 19 percent from Asian countries.  Workers age 55 years and over had 1,848 fatal injuries, the highest number for this cohort since CFOI began reporting national data in 1992. In 1992, workers age 55 and over accounted for 20 percent of fatalities; in 2016, they accounted for 36 percent. These workers also have a higher fatality rate than other age groups.
The number of workplace fatalities in private industry increased 7 percent in 2016. This was led by an increase in service-providing industries, which were up 13 percent to 2,702 from 2,399. Fatal workplace injuries to government workers increased 9 percent overall to 497, with a 9-percent decrease in federal employee fatalities that was more than offset by increases in state and local government fatalities, up 20 percent and 13 percent, respectively.  Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction and manufacturing both experienced large decreases in workplace fatalities in 2016, decreasing 26 percent and 10 percent, respectively.  Fatal injuries in the leisure and hospitality sector were up 32 percent (225 to 298) and reached an all-time series high in 2016. This was largely due to a 40-percent increase in fatal injuries in the food services and drinking places industry from 118 to 165.  A total of 36 states had more fatal workplace injuries in 2016 than 2015, including South Carolina.

Don’t Settle for Less than the Best- Hire an Experienced Lawyer.

If you or a loved one has suffered a work place fatality or a serious injury while on the job, you need to hire an experienced lawyer to help navigate you through the complex workers’ compensation laws.  Don’t settle for less than the best, contact the lawyers at the Goings Law Firm today to see how we can help you.  It will not cost you anything for a free consultation, call us at 803-350-9230 today.


Do I Need to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be wondering whether to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. The answer depends on the severity of your injury, the overall complexity of your case, and the actions of your employer or its insurance company.  In South Carolina, the workers’ compensation system was designed to provide prompt and fair compensation to injured workers. But often times these days, the big workers compensation insurance companies have a long history of  denying claims or neglecting the injured, all to protect the profits of their insurance company.  The workers’ compensation system seems to work mostly for the benefit of employers and insurers if you are unrepresented.  You need to understand that insurance companies have teams of highly trained lawyers on their side, even when you are without representation.  If the insurance company is going to have a team of lawyers, shouldn’t you too?

As a general rule, you may be able to get by without an attorney if all of the following statements are true:

  • You suffered a minor workplace injury, such as a twisted ankle or a cut requiring a few stitches.
  • Your employer admits that the injury happened at work.
  • You missed little or no work due to your injury.
  • You don’t have a pre-existing condition that affects the same part of your body as the recent workplace injury (such as an old back injury from a car accident that was there before you slipped and hurt your back on the job).

Even in these uncomplicated and straightfoward claim, we would recommend that you contact our firm for a free consultation to make sure you are not missing something important.  An attorney at the Goings Law Firm can walk you through the process, alert you to potential pitfalls, and give you an honest appraisal of whether you can handle the case on your own, or if hiring the Goings Law Firm would be in your best interest.

When and Why– Hiring a Workers Compensation Attorney

The moment any complexity arises in your case is the moment you should hire an attorney. Here are some examples of situations that call for a lawyer’s intervention:

  • If you have had any hospitalization or surgery.  If you have undergone surgery or a hospitalization for your work related injury, most of the time an attorney needs to help you on your claim.  This is true 9.9 times out of 10!
  • Your Employer denies your claim or doesn’t pay your benefits promptly. Employers and workers’ comp insurance companies routinely reject true workers’ comp claims, with the hope that many workers will fail to file the appropriate paperwork with the South Carolina workers’ compensation commission or go through the hassle of making a contested claim.  The good thing is that hiring our firm to represent you costs nothing up front, and it gives you the best chance to receive a fair settlement or award for your injuries.
  • Your employer’s settlement offer doesn’t cover all your missed time from work or medical bills. If you’re not sure a settlement offer is good enough, don’t rely on the attorney for the workers’ compensation carrier or the adjuster to make sure that you’re getting a fair deal.  Anytime your settlement offer doesn’t cover all your missed time from work or medical bills, you need to consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney immediately.
  • Your injuries or medical condition prevent you from returning to your prior job, limit your work abilities, or keep you from performing any work at all. If you’ve suffered any degree of permanent disability—partial or total—you may be entitled to weekly payments (or a single lump sum) to indemnify you for your injuries or for your loss wages. These cases can be very expensive for insurance companies, and they’ll often stop at nothing to avoid paying you what you deserve. A knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney at the Goings Law Firm has experience to get you the compensation you desire if your case involves permanent injuries or illness.
  • Your Employer retaliates against you for filing a workers’ comp claim. If your employer has fired you, demoted you, slashed your hours, reduced your pay, or engaged in any other form of discrimination because you filed a workers’ comp claim, contact a workers’ comp attorney immediately to protect your legal rights.  In addition to a workers’ compensation claim, your employer may be civilly liable for workers’ compensation retaliation.
  • You were injured because of a third party’s actions. The workers’ comp system was designed to prevent civil lawsuits for work-related injuries. However, you are permitted to in civil court in certain situations, including when someone other than your employer contributed to your injury (such as reckless driver who hit you in your work vehicle or due to fall caused by a negligent landowner).  If your on the job injuries were caused by a person or entity other than your employer, you may be able to obtain additional recovery in a third-party civil action.  The Goings Law Firm always tries to go after any negligent third-party for additional compensation for any work related injury.

What Will Your Workers Compensation Attorney Do?

In addition to making sure you file all the necessary forms and meet the deadlines, an experienced attorney will know how to gather the evidence needed to support your case, negotiate effectively with the insurance company, and write a settlement agreement to avoid unanticipated consequences. If you can’t agree on a good settlement, an attorney can prepare for and represent you at the hearing or trial.

Don’t wait, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to better understand your legal rights for your on the job workers’ compensation injury. The number is (803) 350-9230, and ask to speak to one of our professionals!


Do you Need a Lawyer to Represent You in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

We strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine if you need help from a lawyer.  Not every claim requires an attorney, and we don’t think that everyone should automatically hire an attorney.  However, in our experience, you will likely need a workers’ compensation attorney if you have an injury that may keep you out of work, or an injury that should require medical treatment such as a surgery or hospitalization.  Many times hiring an attorney is the only way to ensure that the workers’ compensation carrier is treating you fairly.  It is our experience that workers’ compensation insurance company will do anything possible to deny benefits that you are entitled to recieve under the laws of the State of South Carolina.

If you become injured as the result of a job accident, you are entitled to compensation for all related medical expenses and other out-of-pocket expenses that you incur as a result of your work related injury. Fault is irrelevant when it comes to your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.  In many cases, you are also entitled to compensation for your reduced earning capacity resulting from your accident-related injuries. This includes any time that you are unable to work while you attempt to regain your overall health to the condition it was prior to your work related accident.  If you have a degree of permanent injury, you are entitled to an award of disability to compensate you for your injuries.

People injured on the job are often naturally and reasonably concerned that they may face some retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim after suffering a work related injury. Fortunately, your employer cannot legally retaliate against you or terminate you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Further, it is not only in your own best interest and that of your family, but also in the best interest of your employer that you report your injury receive the appropriate treatment to restore you to your full potential. This will not only restore you to a capacity where you are better able to undergo the physical requirements of your particular job in order to provide for your family, but it will also enable you to be a better and more productive and valuable employee at your workplace.

If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim, or you don’t know where to turn after an injury on the job, please contact us today for a free no obligation consultation.  Our number is 803-350-9230, and ask to speak to the Workers Compensation Team lead by Christian Boesl.  We are Real Lawyers – no cheesy TV ads, no sales pitches or gimmicks!  We get Real Results for the clients that we help everyday!   Call us today for a free consulation!


South Carolina Supreme Court Rules on Two Cases Involving Falls in the Workplace and Workers Compensation Benefits

On January 14, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued two opinions regarding Workers Compensation benefits. Generally, when a worker suffers an injury on the job, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system is designed to provide an injured employee with necessary medical treatment, disability payments, and monetary settlements to compensate for any physical impairment or disability.

Previously, defense attorneys for employers have argued that accidental falls are “idiopathic falls”- –  a fall brought on by a personal condition unrelated to the employment. In these two recent cases, the supreme court determined that defense attorneys were incorrectly making this argument about idiopathic falls by interjecting fault into a no-fault system. With these two cases, the Supreme Court has issued a bright line rule- simply because a fall is an accidental on-on-the-job fall it is not automatically an idiopathic injury.

Nicholson v. South Carolina Department of Social Services (2015)

One of the cases, Nicholson v. South Carolina Department of Social Services (2015), involved an employee who was walking down a hallway to a meeting. The employee tripped as a result of friction on the carpet, and required treatment for injuries sustained to the neck and left shoulder. The Court addressed whether the injuries sustained by the fall arose out of the employee’s course of employment. The court found it was irrelevant that the injury could have happened just as easily outside of the workplace. Also, an employee injured on the job does not have to “prove the existence of a hazard or danger,” in order to be eligible for Workers Compensation benefits. In this case, the Court found that the Employee was entitled to workers compensation benefits.

Barnes v. Charter 1 Realty (2015)

In the second case addressed by the Court, the employee was an administrative assistant who was instructed to check an email before noon. The employee stumbled and fell while hurrying down the hall to check an e-mail. Originally, the Workers Compensation Comission denied the employee’s claim stating that the fall was “brought on by a purely personal condition unrelated to [] employment.” The Supreme Court held that this finding was incorrect. The Court distinguished this case from cases with “personal conditions” such as “heart attack or seizure,” which “are generally noncompensable absent evidence the workplace contributed to the severity of the injury.” These instances are the result of an internal condition that is “personal to the employee.” The Court found that simply because an employee cannot “point to a specific cause of [the] fall” does not mean that she is not eligible for compensation benefits. “Whether [the employee] tripped because she was hurrying or she tripped over her own feet, neither is an internal breakdown” that would prevent recovery of eligible benefits from injuries sustained in the fall.

If you have been injured on the job, contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a work related accident, contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today. There can be many complicated factual and legal questions that injured workers may face in trying to obtain benefits that are allowed under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws.   Don’t go at it alone for your on-the-job injury, call at Robert F. Goings at (803) 350-9230. This S.C. Workers’ Compensation law firm is here to answer your questions today.


S.C. Workers’ Compensation: Employee or Independent Contractor?


South Carolina’s workers compensation benefits only apply to injuries suffered by an employee, not an independent contractor. Often times, your employer will try to wrongfully classify you as an “independent contractor” instead of a employee for purposes of attempting to get around workers’ compensation laws and other employment-related requirements. We have seen that employers may require you to sign written documents agreeing that you are not an employee or provide you a Form 1099 for tax purposes instead of a Form W-9. However, in actuality, the injured worker is an employee in every sense of the word.  Just because your employee classifies you an an independent contractor, does not mean that you are one. If your employer is taking the position that you are not an employee for purposes of your workers’ comp claim, then you should contact an attorney without delay.

There is no single, established definition of an independent contractor under South Carolina law. Generally, an independent contractor is one who, exercising an independent employment, contracts to do a piece of work according to his own methods, without being subject to the control of his employer except as to the result of his work.

Only an employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The determination of whether an injured worker was an “employee” or and “independent contractor” is an issue that is commonly contested before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.  The Commission and the South Carolina courts employ a 4 factor test to determine your status as an employee.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor – 4 Factor Test

The employee vs. independent contractor analysis is fact-intensive, and the courts rely primarily on a Right to Control Test to determine employment classifications. The control test generally assesses whether the employer has the right to direct and control the work of the individual. The courts examine a variety of factors to determine whether the right to control is present, and no one factor is dispositive. The principal factors showing right of control are:

  1. Direct Evidence of Right or Exercise of Control
  2. Method of Payment
  3. Furnishing of Equipment
  4. Right to Fire

Based on these four factors, the critical inquiry is whether there exists the right and authority to control and direct the particular work or undertaking. The right to control does not require the dictation of the thinking and manner of performing the work. It is enough if the employer has the right to direct the person by whom the services are to be performed, the time, place, degree, and amount of said services. When the employer furnishes the tools and equipment, the inference of right of control, thus an employee status, is a matter of common sense and business. Payment on a time basis is a strong indication of the status of employment, while payment on a completed project basis is indicative of independent contractor status. The power to fire or terminate the work, it is often said, is the power to control. If an injured worker has the ability to be fired, then this factor supports an employee/employer relationship instead of an independent contractor.

Injured on the Job? Contact Robert F. Goings for Questions regarding Your S.C. Workers’ Compensation Claim.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a work related accident, contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today. The question of whether an injured worker is an employee or a contractor is one of the many complicated factual and legal questions that injured workers may face in trying to obtain benefits that are allowed under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation laws.   Don’t go at it alone for your on-the-job injury, and call at (803) 350-9230 or complete the online contact form here. This S.C. Workers’ Compensation law firm is here to answer your questions today.


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