Kentucky Workers' Compensation
Kentucky workers' compensation or workman's compensation is outlined in Kentucky's Revised Statutes and provides work injury compensation for employees who have been injured on the job or who have contracted an occupational disease. Kentucky workers' compensation can include paid medical care, temporary and permanent disability compensation and vocational rehabilitations services. Survivors of deceased employees may also be entitled to Kentucky workers' compensation benefits.
Workman's comp programs have been created throughout the United States to eliminate the need for injured employees to file personal injury claims for work injuries. Workers' compensation benefits both the employee and the employer by providing benefits immediately for the employee without them having to fight a protracted legal battle. Under some conditions the employee may accept less money than they would have received if they had won a personal injury claim, but they will get immediate workers' comp benefits without having to prove the employer's negligent actions contributed or caused their Kentucky work injury.
Kentucky's Department of Workers' Claims is the state agency which administers the Kentucky workers compensation program and has exclusive jurisdiction over Kentucky workers' compensation claims. Currently, 80,000 Kentucky employers and 1.7 million Kentucky employees are covered under Kentucky's workers' compensation law.
Hiring a Kentucky Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Not all injured Kentucky workers will need a workman's comp lawyer, but if your work injury is severe or permanent or if your employer has denied Kentucky workers' compensation, it may be a good idea to contact a Kentucky Workers' Compensation Lawyer.
Kentucky work compensation attorneys can also assist employees whose Kentucky work injury has led to workplace harassment or discrimination.
Kentucky Work Injuries covered by Workers' Compensation
Kentucky workman's comp does not cover all injuries. Injuries are only covered under workers' compensation if they occurred while an employee was engaged in their normal job duties and for employees, who according to Kentucky Rev. Stat. 342.6, are "under an express or implied contract for hire or apprenticeship, and any person performing service in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of an employer at the time of the injury". Certain individuals may be exempt from Kentucky workman's coverage including home maintenance repair workers, domestic workers and agricultural workers (exceptions exist).
Employees, who are injured while they are intoxicated, who intentionally try to injure themselves or other or who are travelling to and from work may not receive Kentucky workman's comp benefits.
Most work injuries will be covered by Kentucky workman's compensation. The most common work injuries can include: Neck injuries, Back injuries, Carpal Tunnel, Concussions, Heart attacks on the job, Strokes on the job, Amputations, Injuries from inhaling toxic chemicals, Closed head injuries, Paralysis, Burns, Spinal cord injuries, Abrasions, Electrocution, Puncture wounds, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Pulmonary conditions.
Types of Kentucky Workers' Compensation Benefits
Kentucky employees may be eligible for the following types of Kentucky work injury compensation:
- Medical Benefits - Medical benefits are provided to employees who are injured on the job. Medical care is provided free of charge to the employee and can include compensation for all medical care which is considered "appropriate and necessary".
Employees should not be required to make co-payments for their workers' compensation medical treatment. It is also unlawful for the medical provider to charge employees additional amounts over the negotiated medical costs.
Medical treatment which is covered under Kentucky workers' compensation law includes: doctor's visits, hospital stays, laboratory services and prescription medication. Employees may choose their own physician, unless the employer has a specific managed health care system.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) - Temporary total disability benefits (TTD) are paid to workers who are injured on the job and are unable to perform any type of work for more than 7 calendar days. If a Kentucky employee misses 8 or more days they will receive TTD benefits. If the employee misses 15 calendar days of employment they will be compensated for the first 7 days of missed work.
TTD benefits are 2/3 of the worker's average weekly wage up to the state's maximum allowable amount under Kentucky workman's comp law. Unlike many states, Kentucky workman's compensation laws do not make an allowance for temporary partial disability.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD) - Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD) may be paid to Kentucky employees who have been injured in a work-related injury and have reached their maximum medical improvement level but have permanent impairments and are unable to earn the same wage as they earned prior to their work injury.
PPD benefits are paid when the Kentucky employee returns to work. According to the Kentucky Workers' Compensation handbook, the Kentucky employee is "entitled to 66 2/3% of their average weekly wage, but no more than 75% of the state's average weekly wage, multiplied by their percentage of impairment caused by their injury or disease".
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD) - Permanent total disability benefits (PTD) may be paid to employees who have reached their maximum medical improvement but continue to have permanent restrictions or residual impairments which do not allow them to engage in any type of regular employment. PTD benefits are paid at 66 2/3% of the employee's average weekly wage and may continue until the worker reaches 65 years of age.
- Death Benefits - Death benefits may be paid to the surviving children or spouse of the deceased Kentucky employee who was killed from a work injury. If the death occurs within 4 years from the date of the Kentucky work injury workers' compensation death benefits are paid in a lump sum payment to the deceased employee's estate. Death benefits can also include burial expenses up to a maximum allowable amount.
- Vocational Rehabilitation - Vocational rehabilitation is allowed under Kentucky workman's comp laws for up to 52 weeks and may include certain educational benefits and training opportunities for the injured Kentucky worker.
Vocational rehabilitation may be extended by a state administrative law judge. Vocational assessments are completed by the state's vocational rehabilitation office. The goal of Kentucky workers' compensation vocation is to help workers return to work.