Steelworkers do tough and important work that builds our communities and our economy. Working in the steel industry is also dangerous. If you got hurt working in the steel industry, you could be eligible to seek workers’ compensation benefits for medical costs, partial replacement of lost wages, disability, and other financial expenses associated with your condition.

United Steelworkers (USW) is North America’s largest industrial union with 1.2 million members and retirees. USW District 8 includes Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Local unions in Kentucky include USW Local 1865 in Ashland, USW Local 550 in Paducah, and USW Local 9423 in Lewisport.

About 170,000 Kentuckians are members of labor unions such as USW. While labor unions are supposed to protect the rights of their membership, workers sometimes find themselves struggling to obtain approval for workers’ compensation claims after on-the-job injuries. An experienced workers’ comp attorney from Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can help.

Applying for Workers Compensation as a Member of United Steelworkers

Kentucky law requires a worker who is injured on the job to report an accident or injury to their employer as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after the fact. An injured employee generally has the right to choose their treating physician, but a managed care plan may require a worker to choose a doctor within the specified network.

When you seek medical attention, let the hospital know that you are being treated for a work-related injury so your bills can be sent directly to your employer or the workers’ comp insurance carrier. Also, try to get an “off work slip” if your doctor believes that you should stay home.

Give that off work slip to your employer and then contact our workers’ compensation attorneys promptly. Some people believe that they can handle a workers’ compensation application on their own only to learn that can be quite difficult to get full and fair benefits.

It takes Kentucky Courage for steelworkers to fight for the benefits they deserve. You have it, and so do we. Our well-informed Kentucky lawyers help minimize the chances of an initial denial or underpayment of a workers’ compensation claim and can guide you through the appeal process if necessary.

Contact the experienced and dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer today to learn more about your legal rights and options. The claim review is free and comes with no strings attached.

Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation for steelworkers in Kentucky provides various benefits, with two of the most common relating to pay and medical bills. When you are unable to return to work for an extended period, you are entitled to benefits that are two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the state maximum as set forth by the Department of Workers’ Claims.

An injured worker can also use any accumulated leave to maintain their regular salary. But there’s a catch. An employee cannot receive paid accumulated leave and worker’s compensation income benefits at the same time.

Kentucky’s managed care program covers medical benefits that are reasonable and necessary. It is illegal in Kentucky to require employees to make co-payments for treatment of work-related injuries.

Workers’ compensation cases generally offers these ongoing benefits:

  • Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits — TTD benefits are paid during the period when an employee is unable to work for more than seven calendar days.
  • Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits — PPD benefits are paid to employees who have reached maximum medical improvement but still have some impairment causing a loss of wages or wage-earning capacity.
  • Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits — PTD benefits are paid to employees who cannot perform any kind of work because of an injury.

When an employee dies within four years of the date of an injury and as a direct result of the injury, a lump sum payment can be made to the estate for burial expenses. Income benefits could also be provided to the surviving spouse and certain dependents.

Types of Steelworker Injuries

When it comes to ironworker and steelworker injuries, according to federal government estimates, structural iron and steel work constitutes one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in the nation. Accidents in the steel industry can involve various hazardous situations, from workers struck by objects, caught in between equipment, or motor vehicle accidents on the job.

These kinds of accidents have the potential to cause a wide range of possible injuries. Some of the most common include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) — Steelworkers operate in a variety of grueling situations that often put them in danger of blows to the head from falling objects. TBIs can even be caused by slip and falls in the steel mill.
  • Burn injuries — Steelworkers face increased risks of possible welding-related burn injuries because of the extreme heat involved.
  • Lacerations — The steel industry involves work with large sheets of metal. Sharp edges pose the risk of causing deep cuts that result in massive blood loss and may require stitches. Tools could also cause a serious cut.
  • Falls — Steelworkers have to perform their jobs at significant heights. Falls can cause fractures or other serious injuries.
  • Muscle injuries — Heavy lifting required in steel working increases the likelihood of strains or muscle pulls.

Employers have an obligation to provide workers with proper protective equipment.

Common Causes of Steelworker Injuries

Steelworkers often work with heavy machinery. Some accidents can be the result of machinery that was improperly maintained. In other cases, machines may have malfunctioned because of a defective part. In that context, a negligent manufacturer could be liable in addition to the benefits available through a workers’ compensation claim.

Not all steelworker injuries develop immediately. Some employees can get sick over time from exposure to toxic substances. Steelworkers can also suffer gradual hearing loss because of loud noise in the workplace. Benefits through the workers’ compensation system may be available for these injuries.

How a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Could Help You

Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer has recovered $157 million in workers’ compensation for our clients. Kentucky and the nation owe steelworkers a debt of gratitude for their contributions to our society that most of us couldn’t live without. Steelworkers deserve financial protection for doing difficult, dangerous work.

With that in mind, we can’t stand it when big workers’ comp insurance companies give hardworking Kentucky steelworkers the runaround.

Together, we’ll show them what Kentucky Courage means and fight to win all the benefits you are entitled to. Call us or contact us online now to schedule a free consultation.