How to Jumpstart Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Episode 21: Louisville workers’ compensation attorney Scott Scheynost explains what you should do if you’re having problems getting your Kentucky workers’ comp benefits. When the process is slow to start, or you feel the company isn’t handling the process, you need to jumpstart your workers’ compensation claim.
As Scott begins, he comments that this is one of the top reasons people call him. It’s usually because they’ve suffered a workplace injury but can’t seem to get the claim moving. It might mean they’re not receiving their medical benefits, TTD benefits and they’re both confused and frustrated.
Employee’s Requirement to Give Notice to Your Company
The first step, as required by law, is that the injured worker notify his/her supervisor or other manager that they’ve been injured on the job. If you’ve already taken this step, it may mean the company is violating laws requiring them to promptly handle your claim.
There could be many reasons why the company is dragging its feet. Maybe the boss or safety coordinator doesn’t want to risk a bonus or other incentive. It may be that the supervisor is either too busy or unsure of how to properly report the injury. Sometimes the delay is caused by the insurance carrier or the adjuster.
Managing Medical Bills
If you’ve already received medical care for your injury, at some point, you’ll receive a bill for those services. You will be required to pay it. Normally, the bill would be sent to the insurance adjuster handling your claim and workers’ comp would handle it. Unfortunately, at this point, if the company is delaying your claim, you need to do the best you can to avoid damaging your credit.
However, there are still ways for you to jumpstart your workers’ compensation claim, even if your company isn’t moving quickly.
You Need to Go Up the Ladder
If your supervisor or boss is unresponsive, you can speak with HR or the safety director. Someone should be able to get the paperwork moving on your behalf. They will complete a First Report of Injury Form and submit it to the workers’ comp insurance carrier. The carrier will assign an adjuster to handle your claim.
Talk to the Workers’ Comp Carrier
Companies in Kentucky are required to post the contact information for their workers’ comp insurance carrier. It may be in the break room, cafeteria or other common area.
If you can’t find this information, contact the Kentucky Department of Workers Claims. Their phone number is (502) 564-5550. You can also click on this link to email them, directly.
The Department of Workers Claims has a database indicating the insurance carrier for any company in Kentucky. Companies are required to submit this information to the database.
The carrier may wait until they’ve received information from the company itself or they may go ahead and start your claim. They’ll be able to assign you a claim number.
However, Scott reminds you that you still have the responsibility to notify your supervisor or other manager of the injury you sustained along with related details.
Will the Judge Penalize the Company for Inaction?
Scott explains that the judge involved with your case may take the company’s lack of action into consideration. Your attorney may be able to file a claim for bad faith, on the part of the company or the insurance company. If the judge rules in your favor, it’s possible to have your attorney fees covered by the company. You may also be able to recover other costs related to proving your bad faith claim against the company.
Sometimes, just the threat of a bad faith claim may be enough to jumpstart your workers’ compensation claim.
What if My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
In Episode 13, Scott provided a detailed discussion of how this is handled in Kentucky. Take a deep breath, even if your company doesn’t have the required insurance policy, the Kentucky Uninsured Employers Fund will be able to pay your benefits.
If you think this is the case, file the proper form and get the Kentucky Uninsured Employers Fund involved. Their number is 800-554-8601. However, you may need to hire an attorney to get your case started.
You could also call the Kentucky Department of Workers Claims, and they can push the process forward. Again, their number is (502) 564-5550. They may be able to move quicker than an attorney, but nothing moves as quickly as you would like.
Hire a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Attorney
You always have the option of hiring an attorney to jumpstart your workers’ compensation claim. Scott works on a contingency fee basis, so he doesn’t charge you for the initial conversation.
Your attorney will be familiar with the process. He/she will know where to go and what information will be required to handle your case. It can take a lot of the stress and weight off of your shoulders.
If your injury is serious, you’re probably going to need an attorney to ensure you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled. This could include proper impairment ratings, lifetime medical coverage and other benefits.
In Kentucky, the attorney fees for a workers’ comp attorney are capped. This helps to ensure the vast majority of the settlement goes to the injured worker.
It Cost You Nothing to Speak with Scott
Contact Scott Scheynost at (502) 937-5287. This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice. Scott’s principal office is located at 7619 Dixie Highway, Louisville, KY 40258. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson. This is an advertisement.