Workplace Accident Attorneys in Columbia, SC
When someone gets hurt at work, it has a major impact not only on themselves, but those around them. A workplace injury puts enormous emotional and financial stress on households, because the primary breadwinner is out of work. This often means a spouse has to take on extra work just to make ends meet while also trying to care for their injured mate. Children are also deeply affected by this, and depending on their age, they may not fully understand what is happening and why.
Many occupations, such as construction and manufacturing, are inherently dangerous, but workplace safety is a concern no matter what industry or occupation you are in. If you have been injured on the job, there may actually be multiple sources of compensation available to you, but without knowing the proper steps to take, you may unknowingly give up your rights to all of the compensation that is due to you. For this reason, it is always best to at least speak with an experienced workplace accident lawyer, so you fully understand your legal rights and options.
The personal injury attorneys at Peake & Fowler have decades of experience helping injured workers in Columbia and nearby South Carolina communities recover for the medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages that may be available in an on-the-job injury. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and we work closely with our clients, exploring every potential legal avenue toward recovering the compensation they deserve.
We help people injured in any type of workplace accident, including:
- Scaffold Collapses
- Ladder Falls
- Forklift & Crane Accidents
- Trenching & Excavation Accidents
- Gas Leaks, Fires, and Explosions
- Electrocution Accidents
- Exposure to Toxic Substances
Most of the above-listed construction accidents fit into what OSHA calls “construction’s fatal four”. More than one out of every five workplace injuries occur in construction, and roughly 60% of construction injuries are caused by one of four hazardous events:
- Being Struck by/Struck Against a Hard Object or Surface
- Being Caught In-Between/Crush Injuries
OSHA says that eliminating the “fatal four” could save the lives of nearly 600 American workers every year.
Industrial and Manufacturing Accidents
- Electrocution Accidents
- Toxic Exposure
- Faulty Equipment & Machinery
- Chemical Burns
- Repetitive Motion Injuries
These are injuries you could have sustained from repetitive actions such as swinging a hammer, moving boxes, or even typing.
Causes of Workplace Accidents and Sources of Compensation
An on-the-job injury could be caused by a lack of training or supervision among fellow co-workers, or due to a lack of company policies that value safety, resulting in the failure to provide or require safety gear, or the failure to maintain equipment and machinery in a safe condition.
There are several potential sources of compensation for a workplace injury, these include:
In most cases, work-related injuries that happen in the Palmetto State are handled through the South Carolina workers’ compensation system. Workers’ comp is a system that is set up to provide benefits to injured workers regardless of who was at fault for the workplace accident. There are some exceptions to this, such as injuries that are self-inflicted or occur because an employee violated company policy (e.g., drinking on-the-job), but for the most part, if an employer has workers’ compensation insurance, an employee who suffers a work-related injury or illness should be eligible for benefits.
There are several different types of benefits that are provided by workers’ compensation:
- Medical Costs: Reimbursement for necessary medical treatment related to your injury.
- Rehabilitation Costs: This covers the cost of medical and therapeutic care (such as physical therapy) that may be needed to recover from the injury. It may also cover vocational rehabilitation, such as the cost of retraining for a different position if you are no longer physically able to return to your current one.
- Temporary Total Disability: If your workplace injury makes you unable to work at all for a temporary period of time but you might be able to come back to your job in the future, you may be eligible for temporary disability payments, which reimburse you for a percentage of your lost wages for the time you are out of work.
- Temporary Partial Disability: If you are not able to go back to your current job for the time being but you are able to do some limited work, you can receive payments to help make up the difference between your pre-injury earnings and what you are able to earn now.
- Permanent Partial Disability: If your workplace accident caused a permanent injury that allows you to only do limited work from now on, you can receive benefits to compensate you for the injury.
- Permanent Total Disability: If your injury was permanent and debilitating, leaving you unable to perform any type of gainful activity at all, you can receive reimbursement for a percentage of the lost wages you would be projected to earn in the future.
- Death Benefits: If you lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, you can receive death benefits to compensate you for a percentage of your loved one’s lost earnings as well as some funeral and burial costs.
Personal Injury Claim against your Employer
In general, employers with workers’ compensation insurance are immune from lawsuits brought by an employee who is injured in a workplace accident. However, there may be times when you can sue your employer for damages if your injury was caused by their reckless, intentional or illegal conduct. One example may be if your employer ordered you to do something in violation of state or federal safety laws, or if the employer removed a safety guard from a piece of equipment so that work would go faster.
Deliberate intent claims against employers are only allowed in limited cases, and the burden of proof is placed heavily on the employee to show that they have legal standing to bring this type of claim. If you are considering going down this road, it is strongly advised that you speak with an attorney who has specific knowledge of this area of the law, so you can be informed on whether or not this is a viable option.
Personal Injury Claim against a Third Party
It may also be possible to sue for an on-the-job injury which was caused by someone other than the employer or a co-worker. This is known as third party liability. It could apply to an injury caused by a defective power tool or other machinery or equipment, a subcontractor working nearby the employee who causes the workplace accident, or a car accident which occurred while on the job, for instance.
If you are able to bring a personal injury claim against your employer or a third party, you may be able to recover damages not only for direct economic losses such as medical bills and lost earnings, but also for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. Speak with our office to find out if a personal injury action is possible in your case.
Act Quickly to Secure Your Rights in a Workplace Accident
In order to protect your right to workers’ compensation or other compensation in the event of a workplace accident or injury, you must often act fast to notify your employer of the accident and take the appropriate required steps. If you are unsure what to do, contact Peake & Fowler for a free consultation. We will listen to your situation and advise you of your rights and take the necessary steps to help ensure that you receive all of the compensation due to you in your unique circumstances. We can also help with workers’ comp claims that have been denied. Call our office in Columbia at 803-788-4370 or message us online to speak with a member of our legal team.
Peake & Fowler Law Firm, P.A., is located in Columbia, SC and serves clients in and around Newberry, Lexington, Sumter, Allendale, Orangeburg, St. Matthews, Bishopville, Florence, Blythewood, State Park, Eastover, Columbia, Elgin, Irmo, Hopkins, Ridgeway, Lugoff, Ballentine, West Columbia, Kershaw, Camden, Dusty Bend, and Richland County, Lexington County, Calhoun County, Orangeburg County, Sumter County, Kershaw County, Newberry County, Fairfield County, Lee County, Clarendon County and Florence County.