1) Report the injury right away
Kentucky law requires an injured worker to notify their employer about a work injury as soon as “reasonable.” What is “reasonable” depends on the facts of your case. The best practice is to notify your employer the same day as the injury. Be sure to inform a supervisor or other higher-up with your employer and follow up with them to make sure they reported it to the right people at the company. Try to document your notice in writing like in an email or text message, so you have proof of the notice. Many people have an injury at work that they hope is no big deal and goes away within a few days or weeks, but when they realize it’s something more significant than that, it’s too late. That’s why you should report every injury to your employer right away, no matter how big or small.
2) Seek treatment
Injured workers are entitled to payment of their medical expenses for their work-related injuries. Frequently, employers will have work injury clinics they send their injured workers to or other similar preferred providers. Those providers can get you the help you need. Still, generally speaking, injured workers can treat with any provider they choose, including your primary care doctor or any office your doctor refers you to. Usually, your doctors will be more willing to give you the work restriction or off work notes you need and get you to other doctors who will have YOUR best interests in mind, not the workers’ compensation insurance company who pays the bill.
3) Make sure your workers’ compensation claim is set up
To get treatment and other benefits you’re entitled to such as 2/3 of your wages while you’re unable to work, you will need a claim set up with your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier. Usually, your employer will report the injury and start the process of setting up a claim, but not always. You should receive a claim number and adjuster contact information for your claim within days or even hours of the injury being reported. Without a claim number, you may not be able to get treatment or benefits so make sure your employer has done their job in setting up a claim and if they haven’t or you’re not sure, contact the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims at (502) 564-5550 for help.
4) Get a lawyer
As with all other claims, the insurance companies know the law, and they know you do not. They will try to take advantage of you and get you to admit to things that hurt your claim, talk you into going to doctors who are on their side, mislead you about what benefits you’re entitled to, and other things that only help them. The only way to truly protect yourself and make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to under the law is to contact a lawyer as soon as you’re involved in a work accident. Don’t wait until you have a problem that cannot be fixed!