Common types of workers’ compensation benefits in Kentucky are medical treatment, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death/funeral services. Kentucky workers’ comp law requires businesses with one or more workers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The law also requires employees to report all work-related illnesses or injuries to their supervisor.
Workers must report a workplace injury within a three-day window of it occurring and file a workers’ compensation claim within two years. They must file the claim with the state’s Department of Workers’ Claims.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in Kentucky?
Your rights under workers’ compensation laws in Kentucky include getting the coverage at zero cost and knowing who offers the insurance to your employer. You are also entitled to receiving timely responses from the insurer about the coverage and getting reimbursed for out-of-pocket costs you incurred when coping with the workplace illness or injury.
Employers in Kentucky are mandated to enroll in a program that offers benefits to workers who get ill or injured while performing work duties. As such, workers’ compensation is an insurance program offering healthcare benefits and wage benefits to injured or ill workers.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation benefits may include temporary wage replacement when you cannot work because of your work injuries. It can also reimburse you for healthcare and rehabilitation services. A private insurance company usually pays for this program using your employer’s premiums.
The state’s workers’ compensation laws consider an injury or illness work-related when it occurs while a worker is on the job or performing job-related tasks. Also, the injury or illness must potentially produce a harmful change to the victim.
Waivers and Disputes Involving Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation insurance helps protect employers from further recourse, such as a personal injury lawsuit. Instead, employers agree to a certain degree of responsibility while avoiding a likely higher cost of a negligence suit.
The Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims helps resolve a dispute involving an employer and a worker. Disputes may revolve around the liability for an illness or injury.
Workers’ compensation does not cover work-related injuries or illnesses caused by intentional acts and illegal activities at the workplace. A worker may also be ordered to pay back all benefits received and risk facing jail time when accused of unknowingly or knowingly committing fraud. That’s why you should seek legal support from a skilled workers’ comp lawyer before initiating a claim.
The lawyer can review the circumstances of your work injury to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation. The lawyer can back your claim with evidence-supported arguments to maximize your compensation. He or she can also guide you through the process of appealing a denied claim.
What to Do if You Are Injured on the Job
Taking the right steps after getting injured on the job can help safeguard your health and eligibility for compensation. On-the-job injuries can arise from slip and falls, repetitive motion activities, moving equipment, and other workplace hazards, such as chemicals, fires, and electricity.
Seek Medical Help
Seek urgent medical attention to reduce physical damage to your body and protect your rights. A medical professional can accurately analyze the nature of the injury or illness. Seeking medical attention also helps to tie your injury to the workplace accident.
Report Your Work Injury to Your Workplace Supervisor
You should report the incident to your workplace supervisor by stating the events that led to it and naming any witnesses who were present. Be sure to explain the specific work activity that caused the accident. If you became unconscious or incapacitated after the accident, wait until you are stable to report the injury or illness.
Ensure Your Supervisor Prepares an Accident Report
Your supervisor needs to prepare an accident report detailing your injury or illness. If your supervisor refuses to do so, write a letter that explains the nature of your condition and hand it over to the supervisor. Keep a record of the report and ask the supervisor to sign it for confirmation.
Gather relevant contacts related to your condition, including doctors, supervisors, insurance representatives, and any other person at the accident scene. Ensure that your employer’s workers’ insurance covers the medical care you seek. Also, stick to your healthcare provider’s medical advice.
The Time Limit for Filing a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are injured while performing a work-related activity, file a claim as soon as you start experiencing symptoms or become aware of your injury. Early filing can help expedite the investigation into the accident and help you recoup the compensation needed to pay for necessary expenses. Filing late may increase the risk of losing witnesses and crucial evidence.
In Kentucky, workers have a limited three-day window to report a work-related injury or illness when it first occurs. They must file the First Report of Injury to begin the compensation process. After filing the report, there’s a two-year window from the date of the incident to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
Kentucky law requires injured or ill workers to file compensation claims with the Department of Workers’ Claims. If the claim is for an occupational disease, you must file the claim within three years after a diagnosis or first symptoms appear. There’s also a five-year window (from the date you got exposed to hazardous conditions that caused the disease) for filing a claim for an occupational illness.
Victims can file a personal injury lawsuit if the employer lacks workers’ comp insurance coverage. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury lawsuit has different requirements and deadlines. Hire a workers’ compensation lawyer knowledgeable about workers’ compensation and personal injury cases to help you explore your legal options.
Who Is Exempt From Kentucky Workers’ Compensation?
Kentucky workers’ compensation laws exempt certain workers from receiving workers’ compensation coverage. These employees include domestic workers in private homes with less than two regular workers.
You are ineligible for workers’ comp if you are a handy worker doing maintenance, repair, or remodeling of a home for less than 20 days. The law also exempts you from workers’ compensation insurance if you work for a charitable or religious organization in return for sustenance or aid.
Employees can reject workers’ comp insurance coverage under Kentucky law. They can do this by filing a waiver with the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims. It is also possible to withdraw the waiver, depending on the circumstances.
Once you waive coverage, you can sue your company for a workplace illness or injury, but you need to prove wrongdoing or negligence on the company’s part.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation is designed to offer medical care and monetary benefits for employees who become ill or get injured due to a work-related incident. So, when pursuing these benefits, you will need to be compensated for any losses sustained at your workplace. If the claim is successful, you may recoup the following benefits:
Medical Treatment Costs
Employees who get an illness or injury caused by their job duties can file a workers’ compensation claim to recoup their medical expenses. The monetary compensation can pay for doctor’s appointments, medication, emergency room visits, therapy/rehabilitation, and recovery equipment.
Recovering from a serious illness or injury requires ongoing care, which will accumulate expenses in the long run. Workers’ comp can cover all those expenses. However, the insurance may not cover some types of alternative medical care. These include homeopathic medicine, naturopathic treatment, and acupuncture.
A work-related illness or injury may leave a worker with a disability. The disability may be categorized as temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent total disability, and permanent partial disability. These categories help classify the condition based on its effects on someone’s life.
A temporary total disability can make it difficult for someone to work for a specific amount of time, after which he or she can resume work. With a temporary partial disability, the employee can work in a limited capacity without requiring time off.
Permanent total disability can completely affect the worker’s ability to work and earn a living. On the other hand, a permanent partial disability can make someone unable to work in the same capacity as he or she did before the illness or injury.
If a disabled worker takes a break from work to recover, the worker can recoup lost income until he or she can return to work.
A work-related injury or illness that requires ongoing care can increase the need for rehabilitation benefits. These benefits include ongoing vocational rehabilitation or physical therapy. They help an injured worker develop new skills and speed up recovery as the worker plans to resume work.
As part of the rehabilitation, a disabled worker can get an analysis of transferable skills. The analysis allows the worker to find other suitable roles that accommodate his or her condition. The worker will also receive new education or training with the help of a vocational counselor.
Death and Funeral Services
Workers’ compensation can offer death and funeral benefits to the beneficiaries or families of workers who lose their lives due to an occupational illness or injury. The beneficiaries or family members may include the deceased worker’s spouse, children, and elderly parents. Death and funeral benefits can help cater for the deceased’s lost income and funeral costs.