Wednesday, October 26, 2016
30,000 Kentucky Workers Are Injured On The Job Each Year. Are You One Of Them?
If you are one of the vast majority of Americans that lives paycheck to paycheck without being able to save much if anything for emergencies, you understand what a devastating blow it is to lose money because you are too sick to work. But what if the reason you are sick is because of your work? What would you do?
Thankfully, there is a pretty easy answer to this question: let your boss know you have been injured on the job and apply for workers’ compensation. Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws were put in place to help workers who have been hurt at work get medical care and keep their heads above water financially.
Steps To Take If You Are Injured On The Job
If you suffer a workplace injury there are a few things you should do as soon as possible:
1. Seek medical attention. In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you need to have your injuries treated by a doctor. Don’t just go home for the day and hope you’ll feel better in the morning. Go see a doctor. Have the doctor report your condition to your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
2. Notify your employer. There are probably instructions in your employee handbook about what steps to take if you are injured at work. If so, follow them! If they seem strange, you can ask a lawyer to look at them later, but to get the ball rolling you should abide by your company’s policies. If your company doesn’t have a policy on workplace injuries, you should still notify your supervisor/employer immediately by describing your injury or illness, how it happened, and the body part(s) affected.
3. Make sure your employer completes an accident report. The Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) requires employers to file an accident report. If they don’t, they can be fined. If you are asked to sign the report before it is filed, make sure you read through it and confirm that it accurately describes what happened to you. Ask for a copy of the report and any other paperwork related to your injury.
4. Talk with an attorney. You should not hesitate to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you make a claim. The compensation system can be difficult to navigate, and employers and their insurance companies don’t want to pay out any more money than they have to, so you might get lowballed if you don’t have someone who knows how the system working on your side. Attorneys typically take workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis, which means if you don’t get paid, neither do they. The fees an attorney can charge you on a contingency basis in these sorts of cases is also capped. For the first $25,000 of any money you are awarded the fee is 20%, 15% for the next $10,000, and 5% can be charged for the remainder of the award, not to exceed $12,000.
Don’t Hesitate To Report Your Injury And Seek Compensation
If you were hurt on the job, you should not hesitate to report your injury. Reporting your injury and filing for workers’ compensation isn’t something that only slackers do. Each year there are actually around 30,000 Kentuckians who report workplace injuries and seek compensation.