How Long Will I Have to Wait to Receive My Workers’ Compensation Payment?
After experiencing a workplace injury and paying for countless medical bills without having your regular work paycheck to fall back on, it’s understandable to want to know how long it will be until your workers’ compensation reimburses you for your expenses.
Coping with the uncertainty of how you’ll pay for your day-to-day expenses can feel overwhelming, so let’s unpack just when you should expect to receive your reimbursement.
Ensure You Meet Your Filing Deadlines
First and foremost, you must meet your filing deadlines in order to receive your settlement check promptly. All injured workers in South Carolina must file an injury report to their immediate supervisor within 90 days of their accident. Filing an injury report ensures that once your employer accepts the claim, you’ll receive your workers’ compensation checks right away. All workers’ compensation checks should be issued without any unnecessary delays, so you should receive them within a few days of their acceptance.
Likewise, if you’re unable to work because of your injury, your income replacement benefits should kick in after a mandatory seven-day waiting period.
However, if your employer’s insurance company refuses to accept your claim, you must file either form 52 or 51 with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. It’s important to note that these forms must be filled out within two years of the accident; otherwise, you risk your claim being denied. These forms will allow you to apply for a hearing if your workplace denies the validity of your injury or if you feel they are not reimbursing you fairly for your damages.
How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Each workers’ compensation claim is unique. Thus, it’s impossible to say with certainty just how long your particular claim will take to resolve. Several factors can contribute to how long it takes for your claim to be settled, including the mediation process, the informal and formal hearing, and whether or not you reach an agreement during the mediation process.
If you cannot reach an agreement, you will have a formal hearing in front of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner within three to four months. This, along with any additional appeals during your case, can increase the amount of time it takes to resolve your claim.
When Do My Medical Benefits Start?
If your workers’ comp claim is accepted, you can receive medical benefits after three days of missed work shifts. This means that your workplace’s insurance should immediately start paying for your medical care. However, you will have to submit a written request for reimbursement of your bills and medical receipts for your care.
Furthermore, insurance companies will only agree to cover the costs of injuries which they have contractually accepted responsibility for. So if you have a new medical issue that was not a part of the original claim, you’ll have to submit a new request to them and wait for approval.
When Can I Receive My Lost Wage Benefits?
Once your workers’ compensation claim has been accepted, if you’ve missed more than three days of work because of your injuries, you’re eligible for lost wage benefits. Typically, your first three days of missed work aren’t entitled to lost wages unless you were admitted to a hospital due to the onset of a disability within the first 14 days.
Once the insurance company has received your doctor’s note confirming your injury and absence from work, they must administer your first lost wage check within 14 days.
How to Expedite the Claims Process for Your Case
There are a few things you can do to ensure your workers’ compensation claims process goes as efficiently as possible, including:
- Reporting your injury to a supervisor immediately
- Obtaining all documentation and supporting evidence to ensure your claim is strong from the get-go
- Consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who understands the process and can help you to advance your claim
There are a number of variable factors that may affect when you receive your workers’ compensation check, including when you file your injury report if your claim is accepted and how long the mediation process lasts if your claim isn’t immediately accepted.
If you’re concerned about processing your workers’ comp claim, the best thing you can do is consult with an experienced attorney. An attorney will help you to ensure all of your necessary paperwork is filed on time and help you to collect any supplementary evidence that will boost your claim. Additionally, they can also explain to you when you should receive your check, how much you should be paid, and present your claim in the best light so that you receive the maximum compensation you are owed.