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Know Your Legal Options: How To Handle A Work Related Injury

Know Your Legal Options: How To Handle A Work Related Injury

Work-related injuries can happen in a variety of ways. Sometimes, an injury may be the result of a one-time event, such as a fall or being struck by an object. Other times, an injury may be caused by continuous exposure to certain hazards at work. So, if you want to know your legal options, here are some tips.

1. Get a lawyer

If you want to know your legal options, the first thing you should do is talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can help determine whether you have a valid case and what kind of compensation might be available to you. You don’t need to hire an attorney right away, but it’s important that you don’t make any major decisions without consulting with one. For example, while you may be tempted to enter into compromising agreements with your employer or their insurance company, doing so could prevent other employees from recovering from similar injuries in the future. In cases like this, everyone must have access to fair representation and recourse under the law. If you suffered from a back injury, and you live in the state of Kentucky, you should search back injuries at work compensation in Kentucky and find the best options for your needs as there are different regulations for different places in the U.S., so you need to do this for any area you are in.

2. Keep records related to your injury

Whether you decide to hire a lawyer, you must keep as many records as possible related to your injury and treatment. This will provide invaluable information later on down the road if you need to resolve any disputes or resolve your case at trial. A few documents you should be sure to keep include: 

  • a detailed description of the events leading up to and including your work injury
  • witness contact information
  • receipts from treatments, medications, etc. and, 
  • copies of all correspondence with employers/insurance companies involved in the dispute. 

In addition to these documents, one final piece of advice is that you don’t accept any statements from third parties without getting them in writing first. For example, your employer may have a practice of pressuring employees to sign documents without their lawyer present. If you do so, it could be used against you later on down the road. However, if your attorney or legal counsel is with you when these documents are signed, they can help protect your rights and interests in court.

3. Get a second opinion

Getting a second opinion is always a good idea, especially if you’re involved in a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if you’re injured at work and your employer’s insurance company offers to settle with you for a certain amount, get an independent medical evaluation just in case the offer is too low. Another good example of when to get a second opinion is if your employer denies your claim. Employers have a legal right to deny any claims that they feel are not legitimate, but this doesn’t mean that they always make the right decision. Ensure that you get a doctor’s opinion confirming your injury and how it occurred. This will help resolve any disputes with your employer or their insurance company quickly, which is what you want if you’re facing medical bills or not getting paid by them while your claim is still open.

4. File the claim

After you speak to a lawyer and gather all the information that you need to, it’s time to file your claim. Filing a claim is simple. All claims can be done over the phone, through the mail, or even online if you live in certain states. However, if your employer denies your claim after filing it, don’t let them intimidate you into dropping the case. Instead, get an attorney on retainer so that you can take further legal action right away. Sometimes employers will deny valid claims just because they know the employee doesn’t have any representation yet. And by delaying taking legal action against their insurance company for as long as possible, they hope that employees like this will simply give up and move on with their lives. Don’t let that happen to you.

5. Resolve your case at trial

If you’ve reached this point, then it’s likely that no other options besides going to court will resolve the matter in a way that benefits you and your loved ones. If your employer or their insurance company denies your claim during an informal conference with the Kentucky Department of Insurance (KDOI), it’s time to take them to small claims court and get a ruling in your favor. This is not the best option though because if they appeal the decision, it can stay open for longer than necessary while continuing to rack up legal fees on both sides of the argument. An alternative option is a mediation, where you meet with a mediator that can help find a resolution to the matter quickly and efficiently. If a resolution cannot be found during mediation, then you’ll have to move forward with formal proceedings. This means going before a judge in either their chambers or the courtroom if need be.

6. Get compensated

If your employer or their insurance company continues to deny your claim even after filing a small claims court action against them, it’s time to move on to another option: formal proceedings where you receive a trial by the judge instead of a jury. There are costs associated with this step, but if you win at trial, your compensation will more than makeup for the legal fees and all costs of the lawsuit. The biggest benefit for going this route is that it’s a much quicker process than going through formal proceedings from scratch where you have to start from the beginning again, which will only cause your claim to remain open longer as you continue paying out-of-pocket medical bills and losing pay from work because you’re not allowed on the job while the case remains unresolved. If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again.

As you can see, there are many options for resolving work-related injuries, whether they be on the job or otherwise. You just have to know what your best course of action is in any given situation. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer for guidance and representation during this difficult time. Good luck!

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