A workplace accident such as a fall from a ladder or a slip-and-fall accident may cause a fractured or cracked bone.
If you have suffered a broken bone or fracture at work, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should pay your medical bills and replace part of the income you lose if you cannot return to work right away. Unfortunately, many Kentucky workers go without workers’ compensation benefits because insurance administrators dispute the claim and the workers don’t understand their rights to appeal.
At Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, PLLC, our team of experienced worker’s compensation lawyers are ready to help you pursue the full workers’ comp benefits available by law. We know it takes Kentucky Courage to fight for fair workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. We have Kentucky Courage, and we know you do, too.
If you have sustained a broken bone while on the job and lost more than a week of work because of it, you should qualify for workers’ compensation under Kentucky law. If there are complications from a compound fracture or another serious broken-bone injury, the benefits owed you may be significant enough for your employer or their insurer to object to your claim. That’s when you need help to fight for your rights and the compensation you and your family need.
Our knowledgeable Kentucky workers’ compensation attorneys are ready to lead you through the process of filing a broken bone workers’ comp appeal. We can help you understand what benefits you are entitled to by law and how to seek all the compensation you deserve.
Call our office today so we can discuss your workers’ comp case in a free legal consultation.
Accidents That Cause Broken Bones & Compound Fractures at Work
Excessive pressure can cause any bone in your body to break, whether it’s from a single blow, from being subjected to heavy weight or sustained pressure or by twisting the bone of an arm or leg.
Broken bones can occur in any type of job. But bone fractures are more likely to occur in very physical work involving heavy machinery, such as construction or coal mining. Studies have found that people in sedentary occupations such as office work are at increased risk of hip fractures due to low bone mineral density.
Among the most common workplace accidents that may result in a broken bone are:
- Falls, including falls to the same level and falls to a lower level. In a fall accident, the weight of the human body and the force of falling combine to break a bone when the individual lands. If a worker falls to a lower level, such as at a building under construction, a coal pit or down stairs, the worker may suffer multiple fractures. Falls are the most common workplace accident leading to injury.
- Vehicle accidents. Millions of workers drive or ride in a vehicle as part of their jobs, and motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of work-related injuries in the United States. The impact of a motor vehicle accident can cause fractures in multiple ways, whether the worker is riding in a vehicle or gets hit by a vehicle. Arms, legs, ribs and bones of the hands and feet are often fractured in crashes involving cars, trucks, forklifts and other motorized vehicles.
- ‘Struck By’ Accidents. A broken bone can occur as a result of a worker being struck by an object, such as tools, material or equipment falling from a shelf, truck bed, or stack. The weight of the object leads to a broken or crushed bone. Objects falling on a worker’s head can cause a skull fracture, for example.
- ‘Struck Against’ Accidents. These accidents involve a worker being pushed into a structure, machinery, or equipment with such force that it breaks a rib, arm, or leg.
- ‘Caught in / Compressed By’ Accidents. These accidents typically involve having a hand, arm, leg or foot caught in machinery or crushed between a tool and a tabletop, board, etc. These types of accidents can lead to badly crushed bones or caught limbs being twisted until a bone cracks or snaps.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries. Long-term repetition of certain tasks can cause stress fractures in the bones of the hands and wrists. For example, the constant vibration of power tools can also lead to stress fractures in the hands and wrists over time.
Common Bone Fractures in On-the-Job Accidents
The types of bone fractures potentially suffered in a Kentucky workplace include the following types of fractures:
- Stable or simple fracture. The ends of the broken bone line up and are barely out of place.
- Compound or open fracture. A piece of the broken bone elongates or protrudes from the skin.
- Comminuted fracture. The bone has shattered into three or more pieces.
- Compression Fracture. The bone has been crushed under extreme weight or pressure.
- Avulsion fracture. A piece of the bone has broken off but remains inside the body. This typically occurs in a fracture near a joint.
- Spiral fracture. Breaks that extend down the length of the bone and commonly occur when a strong rotational force is applied to the bone.
- Stress fracture. Tiny cracks in a bone caused by repetitive force, often from overuse.
If a bone is not severely broken, the doctor will likely be able to set it and apply a splint, cast or brace to immobilize it as it heals. A stable fracture usually heals in six to eight weeks. However, broken bones in older adults do not heal as quickly or as completely.
A more serious fracture could require surgery that includes inserting pins, screws and/or rods to set the broken bone.
When multiple bones have been broken or a large bone, such as the fibula of the leg, is severely fractured, the patient may require traction, which uses a system of weights to slowly realign the broken pieces of bone. A patient in traction will be bedridden for several weeks and likely require physical rehabilitation to regain full use of an injured limb.
Compensation for Broken Bone Injuries
Under Kentucky workers’ compensation law, you don’t have to prove fault or negligence to obtain benefits through your employer for a workplace injury. If you broke a bone while performing a work-related duty, you are entitled to seek benefits provided by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ comp is no-fault insurance providing coverage for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and disability benefits. No-fault means that you do not have to prove that anyone was at fault for your accident in order to recover benefits. As long as your injury happened at work, you are entitled to coverage. However, the trade-off of the workers’ compensation system is that you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer, even if your employer’s negligence caused your injury.
The primary workers’ compensation benefits in Kentucky are payments for:
- All medical expenses, including emergency assistance, doctors’ and hospitalization bills and rehabilitation costs, as well as reimbursement for prescription medications and durable medical devices, such as a wheelchair or hospital bed.
- Lost wages / salary amounting to two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly pay.
Additional payments you may be eligible for after a severe or complex broken bone injury include:
- Payment for the loss of the use of an arm, leg, hand, foot, finger or toe.
- Return-to-work services, such as vocational or occupational rehabilitation, or education or training necessary to assume a new job, including tuition, textbooks and other associated expenses.
To obtain workers’ compensation benefits, it is critical that you notify your employer of your broken-bone injury as soon as possible after it happens. You could be denied coverage if you wait too long to provide notice. You also need to make sure the doctor who treats you understands that you were injured while on the job.
The injured worker applies for workers’ compensation in Kentucky instead of the employer filing a claim on their employee’s behalf. However, it is a complex process. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet, which administers the state’s workers’ comp program, states this warning, not once, but twice in four paragraphs on a single page:
“Due to the complexity of the claims process, most injured workers hire an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim for them.”
Further it says:
“Employees may choose to represent themselves, but they will be held to the same standards as attorneys who present workers’ compensation claims.”
Why You Need A Lawyer for Your Bone Fracture Injury
Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system is a complex program. Most injured workers are unfamiliar with the process. It is easy to file a claim and make a simple mistake or omission in the required paperwork that leads to a denial of benefits. Injured workers can also make errors that provide their employer and the insurance company the opportunity to block a claim.
But an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer from Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can guide you through the process of claiming all the benefits that Kentucky law provides to workers injured on the job.
As your attorneys, we will make sure your application supports your claim to benefits and has the supporting medical documentation. If your claim has already been denied, our skilled workers’ comp attorneys can represent you throughout the appeals process.
Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer has seven offices located across Kentucky. Our attorneys are ready to fight for you. We will show them what Kentucky Courage means. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation.