Depression and Mental Health Injuries in South Carolina
Accidents on the job can result in many different types of harm to a worker. A lifting injury, for instance, may result in physical problems such as a bulging or herniated disc, and a repetitive stress injury may cause a worker to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, however, a person who is hurt at work may suffer from psychological issues, such as depression or another mental health injury. In many cases, these conditions also may be compensable under the South Carolina workers’ compensation laws. At Grimes Teich Anderson, LLP, our South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers can assist you with filing a claim for mental health injury benefits as part of your work injury case.The Process of Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Depression or Mental Health Injuries
An important first step in any workers’ compensation case is to notify one’s employer of the accident or illness within the time set by law. While the law allows a worker 90 days in which to give notice, it is advisable that notice be given as soon as possible. This gets the claim started right away, allowing the employee to seek medical treatment for depression or other conditions at the employer or its insurance company’s expense. Some workers are tempted to take a “wait and see” approach, hoping that their injury will improve on its own. This may be due to a fear of being terminated or otherwise mistreated for filing a claim. However, such actions by an employer are illegal under South Carolina law, and an employee who is wrongfully fired may have a separate legal action against his or her employer for wrongful discharge.
Once notice has been given, an employee should be able to see a doctor at the employer’s expense. This will be a doctor paid by the employer’s insurance company, rather than the employee’s family doctor. If the doctor tells the employee that he or she should be off work due to his or her injury, the employee may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits. This is true whether the injuries are physical, mental, or a combination of both. If the employee later returns to work but has some level of permanent impairment, he or she may also be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and retraining.
Receiving compensation for depression and other mental health injuries can be challenging in some cases, especially if the worker had pre-existing psychological ailments. However, with convincing proof that an accident or illness that occurred during the course and scope of the employee’s work exacerbated the condition, winning such a case may be possible. As with any type of injury case, it helps to consult with an attorney who regularly handles these types of cases and who can effectively advocate for the injured worker at each step of the way. Lawyers who advocate for a claimant in a work injury case can also communicate with the workers’ compensation insurer regarding the payment of medical bills, request a different doctor or a specialist, and secure medical records and expert witness testimony to help the employee prove his or her case in the appropriate tribunal.Schedule a Free Consultation with a South Carolina Lawyer for Your Job Injury Case
Complications from work injuries can affect employees for weeks, months, or even years, whether they arise from a specific event like a construction accident or a gradually developing condition like a repetitive stress injury. It is important that people who have been hurt at work fully understand their legal rights. The best way to do this is to consult a legal professional who can advocate for the worker during the process of pursuing the benefits to which the worker is entitled. To speak to an experienced work injury attorney, contact Grimes Teich Anderson, LLP, at 800.533.6845 or contact us online. We handle cases in Greenville, Spartanburg, Gaffney, and the surrounding areas.