Answering Common Workers’ Compensation Questions
Here at Robinson Salyers, PLLC, our lawyers can answer any questions you have about the workers’ compensation process in Kentucky.
What rights do I have?
Everyone knows the insurance company has rights. But, so does the injured worker. You have a right to fight denials and other adverse decisions in your claim. You also have a right to future benefits if you have permanent disability. Your settlement can often be negotiated to fit your personal future needs.
Will I be fired if I hire an attorney?
Your attorney works directly with your employer’s insurance company. This allows you to maintain a relationship with your employer while you are off work, if you choose to do so. Kentucky law does not allow your employer to retaliate against you for making a workers’ compensation claim or to try to intimidate you from doing so. While Kentucky law does not actually protect your job if you are off for a work injury, you may be entitled to significant additional benefits if you lose your job.
Can I sue my employer or a third party for my injuries?
Under Kentucky law, you can usually only recover workers’ compensation benefits from your employer. Sometimes this requires a workers’ compensation lawsuit. However, you do have a right to make an additional claim or lawsuit if your work injury was caused by someone else. If this is the case, you may have a right to make a claim for your pain, suffering and any other damages not covered by workers’ compensation. This could allow you to be fully compensated. Learn more here.
What if my injury occurred as a result of a safety or OSHA violation?
Kentucky law allows for a 30 percent increase in your disability benefits if your injuries occurred as a result of a safety violation.
What if my employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance?
In Kentucky, all employers are required to have a workers’ compensation policy. However, if your employer does not have coverage, you can make a claim for your benefits with the Kentucky Uninsured Employers Fund. Usually, the UEF will then seek reimbursement from your employer.
I am finished with treatment. Now what?
If you have permanent disability, you are entitled to benefits, including compensation and lifetime medical treatment for your injury, even if you have returned to work. However, these benefits are not automatic, and you must make a claim before the time limit expires.
The insurance company is taking care of my claim. Do I need an attorney?
Problems with your claim arise most often after an initial period of cooperation by the insurance company. It is common for continuing medical treatment to be denied, along with being returned to work too quickly, delaying treatment approval, delaying, underpaying or denying lost wages. An attorney can help you manage your claim, fight denials, and negotiate and resolve your future benefits depending on what is important to your future.
The insurance company says I was an independent contractor and has denied my claim. Now what?
If you believe you are an employee and not an independent contractor, you have a right to fight.
I have received an offer from the insurance company. Should I take it?
The short answer is no, at least not before consulting with an attorney. The insurance company represents your employer and its shareholders, not you. It does not have to explain your rights to you. Its offer of settlement will often undervalue your disability claim or cause your future benefits, such as medical treatment, to be closed forever. Further, the insurance company’s doctor may assign an unfair disability rating. You have a right to keep your future benefits and to be compensated fairly.
I think the insurance company is underpaying my lost wages.
It is very common for the insurance company or the employer to make a mistake when calculating your lost wage benefits. Further, if you have a second job, you may have a right to have those wages included. You have a right to review and contest the insurance company’s calculation of your lost wages.
A doctor I’ve never seen has denied my doctor’s recommended treatment. Now what?
This is one of the most common frustrations of injured workers. You have a right to fight for your treatment.
The doctor says I am at maximum medical improvement (MMI). Now what?
The insurance company’s doctor could unfairly say you are at MMI and therefore deny your doctor’s recommended treatment. This also often results in your lost wages being cut off, and you may not even be able to go back to work. You have a right to fight if this has happened to you.
The insurance company is denying my claim due to a pre-existing condition. Now what?
The insurance company may try to deny your claim for a pre-existing condition you did not even know you had. Further, even if your condition was pre-existing, you may still have a claim if the pre-existing injury was dormant prior to the work injury. You have a right to fight any treatment denial.
What is my time limit to make a claim?
Kentucky law states you have the longer of two years from the date of injury or two years from the last payment of lost wages to make a claim. However, it is possible you may still have a claim even if this time has expired if you did not receive a letter from the Board of Workers’ claims advising you of your time limits when your lost wages benefits stopped. It is always wise to seek the advice of an attorney sooner rather than later.