Is My Employer Required to Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
I often have clients who worry that their employer might not have workers’ compensation insurance. They aren’t sure what the requirements are for their employers. So it’s not uncommon that I get the question, “Is my employer required to have workers’ compensation insurance?”
Nine times out of ten the answer is a resounding YES! Generally, any employer who regularly employs four or more workers (either full-time or part-time) is required to have workers’ comp insurance and is not allowed to opt out of this requirement.
There are a few exceptions, however, and they are:
- Agricultural employees
- Railroad and Railway express companies and their employees
- Textile Hall Corporation
- Certain commission paid real estate agencies
- Employers who had a total annual payroll of less than $3,000 in the previous year
Although these employers are not required to carry workman’s comp insurance, any employer may purchase coverage. Therefore, regardless of who your employer is, it is always worth asking them if they carry workers’ comp insurance. You may find that you are in fact covered.
If you have specific concerns as to whether or not your employer should be carrying workers’ compensation insurance, don’t hesitate to ask an attorney. An experienced attorney, such as those at Oxner + Permar will be able to tell you specifically whether or not if you should be covered.
Chances are your employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Make sure your employer is obeying the law and that your rights are being protected.
When is it Appropriate to Modify Child Custody of Child Support Agreements?
When it comes to child custody cases I often have clients ask, “When is it appropriate to modify the terms of child custody or child support?” Of course, in these situations, modifications should only be made with your child’s best interests in mind. So the steps needed to get any kind of modification approved involve evaluating your child’s needs.
There are two main types of child custody agreements: contract and court ordered. We’re going to focus on court ordered custody agreements, as there is no ability for modification with a contract between two parties.
To make changes to a court ordered child custody agreement either both parties must agree on the modification or there must be evidence of a significant change in circumstances that affect the welfare of the child and that a modification is in the best interest of the child.
It falls upon the parent requesting the modification to provide evidence to support their child’s change of circumstances. For example some things that could support a request are:
- Relocation of one or both parties.
- Inadequate living conditions for the child.
- Substance abuse by a parent or custodian.
- Instability of a parent or custodian.
- The emotional or physical health of the child or parent.
- Loss of a parent or custodian’s job.
- A change in the child’s performance at school.
Of course, this is not a complete list. There are many additional things that could support modifying a custody agreement. The main thing to keep in mind is: are your child’s needs and best interests being considered and accommodated?
Modifications to child support agreements require a significant loss in income for the party responsible. Some factors that may be considered are:
- Significant loss of income.
- Changes in factors used to determine support (such as daycare expenses or medical insurance).
- Loss of a job.
However, be aware that as with child custody cases, decisions will be made with your child’s best interests in mind.
If you have any questions about child custody or child support, don’t hesitate to consult an attorney. Make sure that both your rights and your child are being protected.
Be Prepared to Face the Summer Heat
South Carolina summers bring with them extreme heat and extreme humidity. If you’re one of the many people in South Carolina who work outdoors, you know exactly how demanding the South Carolina summer can be.
As you might imagine, if you work outdoors you’re at higher risk for heat-related health problems, but what you might not know is that heat-related illnesses are in fact covered by workers’ compensation. If you’re involved in heavy physical labor, then you’re most prone to occupational diseases caused by working in high temperatures.
Heat related illnesses to watch out for are:
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat cramps
- Heat rash
If you feel the symptoms of any of these conditions coming on while at work, take a break immediately. Find a cool, shady area to rest and rehydrate. If the symptoms are severe (such as seizures), call 911 immediately.
Even if you don’t think you’re experiencing these symptoms, if you work outdoors in high temperatures, be sure that you’re taking frequent breaks either indoors or in the shade—give yourself time away from the sun. Drink plenty of water to ensure that you’re staying hydrated and cool. Both of these measures can help prevent dehydration and heat related illnesses such as heatstroke. If you develop a heat-related illness, seek immediate medical treatment.
Heat-related illnesses can be very serious, and are often covered by workers’ comp if you’ve been affected by a heat-related illness be sure to contact an attorney to find out if you qualify for workers’ compensation.
If you’ve lost your job after a work injury, it might feel like you’re completely out of options—especially if your employer has told you that you’re no longer eligible for workman’s compensation. Often, an employer will tell an employee that they are no longer entitled to workers compensation, hoping that the employee will forget about the claim. This simply is not true: you are entitled to workers’ compensation even if you have been terminated from your job. So don’t give up!
Another thing to watch out for is that some insurance companies will try to tell you your claim will close once treatment has ended. Also not true. The only way a claim can close or settle is by your voluntary agreement via a compromise with the insurance company.
At Oxner + Permar, we understand that these problems can be difficult to navigate without professional help. If you’re unsure of anything regarding your case, be sure to contact an attorney. With more than $275 million in workers’ compensation awards and settlements, we’ve got the experience to help our clients navigate their way through misinformation and make sure that their rights are being protected.
If you’ve sustained a work injury, be careful as not everyone has your best interests at heart. Make sure you’ve got people who are fighting for you and protecting your rights.
A Positive Attitude and Good Relationships Can Go a Long Way
Dealing with a long line of medical professionals and insurers after sustaining a work injury comes with a huge amount of stress—especially when you’ve sustained traumatic brain injury or a closed head injury. There’s nothing worse than having to take time out of your day to deal with doctor’s visits, particularly when it feels like you’re not making any progress, or that the doctor is not doing enough.
However, it’s essential that you maintain a good relationship with your doctors and remain on top of your care.
Some people think that an MRI or CT alone can prove that they were injured and the extent of that injury. In actuality, with traumatic brain injury cases or closed head injuries, often times even using examinations like MRIs and CT scans offers little to no objective evidence to show the injury. Therefore, when describing your injury, your credibility is very important. How do you ensure you have credibility? Be consistent about your medical complaints and concerns in medical records. These, of course, come from consistent medical visits in which any doctor at any time can see the consistency of your complaints over time.
The process of these multiple doctor’s appointments can be long and arduous; however, it’s important to keep a positive and friendly attitude. It is common for the doctor’s testimony to be taken in regards to your case, and they may not be willing to support your claim if you’ve been combative or taken your frustrations out on them. Maintaining a positive relationship with your doctor is the best way to get their support when it comes to supporting your claim.
Even though the road to recovery can be long and arduous, be sure to maintain a good relationship with those who are going to be your allies on your workers’ compensation claim.