When you have been hurt on the job in Kentucky, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. Likewise, if an employee dies while on the job, the employee’s family may file a claim as well. If approved by either the employer or employer’s insurance plan, the worker or his or her family will receive the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Weekly benefits while the worker is temporarily disabled and unable to work
- Payment of the worker’s medical expenses
- Weekly payments or a lump sum payment for permanent partial or permanent total disability resulting from a work related injury
To be successful in your workers’ compensation claim, it is critical to get an attorney involved as early as possible, because the claim moves very quickly once the temporary benefits are terminated.
What Should I Do if I am Injured?
If you or a family member is injured on the job, the injury should be reported to the employer immediately. Doing so will speed up the workers’ compensation process and may lower the likelihood that the employer will argue that the worker’s injuries did not occur on the job, or that the employer is otherwise not liable to pay.
You may also speak with an attorney before or immediately after reporting the injury to the employer. As discussed below, an attorney may be able to help you put your strongest claim forward and help secure the maximum recovery possible for you and your family.
What if My Claim is Denied or is Settled for Less than I am Owed?
Your employer or insurer may deny your claim or they may not pay the amount you think you are owed. This can occur for a variety of reasons. Your employer may argue, for example, that whatever injuries you are suffering are not due to your work on the job but are due to some other activity. If you play in a recreational sports league, your employer may try to argue that you injured yourself there and not on the job. Your employer may also take issue with the amount of medical expenses you are claiming is due based on the injury you suffered on the job. Or your employer may argue that you can return to work and thus are not eligible for weekly benefits despite the fact that you or your doctor do not think you can return to work.
If your claim is denied or you cannot settle the claim, you can litigate the claim by filing an application for adjustment of the claim with the Department of Workers’ Claims. An administrative law judge will be assigned to your case, and you will be required to file medical documents and other evidence relating to your injuries. A benefit review conference may then be scheduled in an attempt to settle the dispute in front of the administrative law judge. If this is unsuccessful, the administrative law judge will then schedule a formal hearing. At the formal hearing, evidence will be heard and arguments will be made, and the judge will issue a decision. The worker or the employer can then appeal this decision to the Workers’ Compensation Board, and any decision by that board can then be appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
What if My Employer Fires or Penalizes Me for Filing a Claim?
Kentucky has specific laws in place prohibiting employers from retaliating against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer cannot fire you for doing so, and they cannot otherwise penalize you for trying to file a claim. It is your legal right to file a workers’ compensation claim in Kentucky, and if an employer threatens to penalize you or does penalize you, you should contact our Kentucky workers’ employment attorneys as soon as possible to discuss the matter.
Do I Need to Work With an Attorney?
An injured worker is not required to work with an attorney in order to file a workers’ compensation claim, but it is important to remember that neither your employer or the insurer necessarily are concerned with the welfare of you or your family, whereas an attorney represents only you and your interests. An attorney can work with you from the start in filing your workers’ compensation claim, or may work with you once you are ready to file an appeal.
Because there is so much at stake in the determination of a claim – expensive health costs and weekly benefits that may or may not continue to compensate you for years – there can be extraordinary benefit to working with an attorney who will guide you through the challenging and often adversarial process of obtaining the recovery that is owed you for your service to your employer. The attorneys at Rosenbaum & Thompson have decades of experience bringing and winning Kentucky workers’ compensation claims and will fight for every penny owed to you and your family. Call an attorney at Rosenbaum & Thompson today at 859-259-1321 to discuss your workers’ compensation issue.