If you have been injured on the job or have a work-related illness in Ashland or Boyd County, you should be covered by Kentucky workers’ comp insurance. But without the help of an experienced attorney, you will have a difficult time winning your claim. Isaacs & Isaacs will help you on a contingency fee basis: we don’t get paid unless we win your claim! For a free consultation with an experienced Isaacs & Isaacs workers’ compensation lawyer, call us now at 800-800-8888, or fill out our form without delay.
A workplace accident could happen to anybody at any time. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you to win your claim and also file a lawsuit if a third party is liable for your injury. Last year a worker died in an accident at AK Steel, when he came in contact with a live power line and was electrocuted during routine testing. He was a subcontractor who was employed with a West Virginia company.
In a situation where you are injured as a subcontractor, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation and also be able to file a third-party lawsuit if the company where you were working was not your employer and their negligence led to your injury. Though most workers’ compensation claims are not so complicated, you will need an experienced attorney to help you file your claim if you want to win the compensation you’re entitled to.
What Is Workers’ Compensation and How Can It Help Me?
Workers’ compensation is state-mandated insurance coverage for workers who are injured on the job or suffer a work-related disability or illness such as carpal tunnel or black lung disease. Every state in the union has a version of workers’ compensation. In Kentucky, the Workers’ Compensation Act governs the rights and responsibilities of employers and injured workers.
Workers’ compensation is insurance that covers you if you’re injured on the job. In exchange for coverage, you do not have a right to sue your employer. Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits pay a percentage of your wages and your medical bills and help you to return to work or train for other employment if your injury prevents you from returning to your former occupation.
If a worker dies from a workplace injury or accident, workers’ compensation will pay a lump sum to the worker’s estate to cover funeral and burial expenses, and also may pay a stipend to the surviving spouse and other dependents.
Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover All Kentucky Workers?
All employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, with a few exceptions. These include:
- Agricultural workers
- Domestic workers in homes with less than two full-time employees
- Workers employed in temporary home maintenance (less than 20 consecutive work days)
- Federal employees who are covered by federal workers’ compensation
- Business owners and full partners in LLCs are not required to purchase coverage for themselves but may choose to do so
- If a business is a corporation, then it has to purchase workers’ comp for all employees, including officers
What Must I Do to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits When I Am Injured or Ill?
The first thing you must do is to report your injury or work-related illness to your supervisor. Your employer may have a system for reporting accidents. Be sure you comply with any rules as this will help you to receive your benefits.
You must seek medical help immediately. You are free to choose your own doctor, but if your employer has a managed care system, you must choose from the authorized managed care providers. Notify your employer which medical provider you are using. Ask your physician to report your injury and prognosis to your employer and its insurance provider in order to ensure you receive your workers’ comp benefits as soon as possible.
After you report your injury, it’s your employer or his or her insurance carrier’s responsibility to report your injury to the Department of Workers’ Claims. This report is called a First Report of Injury. You should keep your employer updated about the status of your injury if you will be out of work for an extended period and/or may be permanently disabled.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Receive in Kentucky?
Kentucky Workers’ Comp benefits include:
- Temporary Total Disability – if you are unable to return to work for more than seven days
- Permanent Partial Disability – when you are deemed permanently disabled but can still work
- Permanent Total Disability – if your injuries are so severe you cannot do any kind of work again, ever (i.e., blindness, double amputation, complete loss of hearing, paralysis, insanity, etc)
- Workers’ Comp Death Benefits – for surviving spouse and dependents, including a percentage of the deceased worker’s pay and a lump sum settlement for funeral and burial costs
Why Would I Need An Attorney to Help Me Receive Benefits I’m Entitled to by Law?
The Kentucky Guidebook to Workers’ Compensation, a government publication, recommends that you seek legal representation and states that if you choose to represent yourself you will be held to the same standards as if you had a lawyer. Filing a claim in Kentucky is complicated and can be a job in itself. There are many deadlines and multiple forms to fill out correctly and file with the Department of Workers’ Claims. The DWC will hold you accountable for filling out the forms and filing them correctly with or without an attorney.
A knowledgeable attorney will know about any additional benefits you are entitled to and could defend your claim from attempts to deny or reduce your benefits. For instance, according to Kentucky Revised Statute §342.165, if your employer intentionally violated a safety law and the resulting unsafe condition led to your injury, your payments can be increased by 30 percent. Conversely, if your employer or its insurance carrier claims you purposely violated a safety rule, your payments could be decreased by 15 percent.
I’ve Been Denied Workers’ Comp–What Now?
Once your claim is filed, your employer or the company’s insurance carrier has 45 days to file a notice of claim denial or acceptance. Both you and your employer/the insurance carrier will have a time period to submit proof to the administrative law judge who is assigned to rule on your claim. Your employer or its insurance carrier may dispute your workers’ compensation claim. You will be notified within two months if your claim was denied. If you were seriously injured and will be permanently disabled, the insurance carrier may work hard to escape liability for your claim, as the total cost could run into millions for lifetime disability and medical expenses
Reasons Your Claim Could Be Denied Include:
- You were not injured on the job
- Your medical condition was preexisting
- You did not fill out the forms correctly
- You did not seek medical help
- You did not follow doctor’s orders
- You don’t have an attorney to protect your interests
If your claim is denied, you will receive notification by mail within a couple of months after your claim was filed. If you haven’t done so yet, now would be a very good time to seek help from an experienced workers’ comp attorney to help you with the appeal process. First, you will attend an informal benefit hearing along with your employer or the insurance carrier. If you cannot reach a settlement agreement you will be scheduled for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Be advised that, if your claim is approved or denied, both you and your employer or its insurance carrier has a right to appeal your approval/denial before the Workers’ Compensation Board.
The process could drag on and on. Your employer and the insurance carrier will almost certainly have at least one insurance defense attorney handling your claim if they decide to not pay and want to dispute your eligibility.
How Can I Hire An Attorney When I Cannot Work?
Isaacs & Isaacs will represent you on a contingency fee basis: we don’t get paid until and unless we win your claim! At Isaacs & Isaacs, we respect hard-working people and want to see you get all the benefits you are entitled to after you are injured on the job. Let us take the burden of dealing with the Kentucky workers’ compensation claims process off of your shoulders so you can focus on healing and rebuild your life in the very best way possible.
Our experienced and dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers are here for you now. Call 800-800-8888 or fill out our form, so we can get started as soon as possible helping you to receive the money you need to make ends meet when you cannot work. We know that your bills don’t stop coming in just because you cannot work. We are here for you now.