Workplace injuries can cause physical and psychological damage that poses a threat to your future livelihood. Even a minor injury can end up bankrupting you with medical bills, occupational therapy fees, and lost wages. Despite mandatory workers' compensation insurance coverage, many workers fail to report their workplace injuries or claim redress. If you have been injured on the job, understanding Kentucky employee responsibilities for workers' compensation is the first step to receiving the redress to which you are entitled: Am I Covered By Workers' Compensation? Although Kentucky requires most employers to buy workers' compensation insurance for their employees, there are exceptions to workers' compensation. You may not be covered if:
- You are a sole proprietor, independent contractor, LLC member, or partner.
- Your employer is Amish, Mennonite, or a member of another exempt religious sect.
- You work for an agribusiness or domestic service company with less than two full-time employees, and you work less than forty hours a week.
- You work for railroads, maritime businesses, or other industries governed by federal laws.
- You have been working in residential or home maintenance for less than twenty-one workdays at a time.
If you are not covered by workers' compensation, and you have been injured in your workplace, contact a local workers' compensation attorney who is familiar with Kentucky's particular exemptions and laws. You may still be able to recover your financial losses. What Injuries Are Covered? Even with workers' compensation insurance, your specific injuries may not be covered after an accident. Workers' compensation does not address:
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries resulting from intoxication
- Injuries caused by interpersonal violence
- Injuries obtained during voluntary sporting events, even if they occur on company premises
Workers' compensation in Kentucky also exempts injuries occurring as a result of a natural disaster. However, if your workplace puts you in excessive danger from such disasters--either through negligence to safety on company property, or through your job description (i.e. a natural disaster aid worker)--you could still qualify for workers compensation with the assistance of a qualified attorney. The Claim Filing Process Once you make sure you are covered by workers' compensation insurance and that your injuries qualify, you can begin the process of filing a claim. For your claim to succeed, you must meet all Kentucky employee responsibilities for workers' compensation, so be sure to:
- Report your injury to your employer in detail as soon as it happens. Your employer must provide you with the relevant workers' compensation forms, which you must fill out and send to the Department of Workers' Claims at 657 Chamberlin Avenue, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601.
- Choose a physician from your insurance company's list of qualifying doctors and begin receiving care.
- Obtain a report from your doctor detailing the relationship between your work duties and the illness or injury you contracted. File this along with your claim forms and proof of your wages at the time you were injured.
If the company denies your claim, carefully read the reasons it cites and consider appealing with the help of an attorney. Ensuring Results To increase the chances that your workers' compensation claim will be accepted, you must demonstrate that your injuries were the result of your work and that they have cost you. This includes:
- Receiving medical treatment as soon as you are injured. If you wait for treatment, the insurance company can claim that you did not take adequate steps to recover from your injury and that any long-term problems are your fault.
- Recording testimony from your co-workers and other witnesses who can confirm that the injury occurred at work.
- Keeping careful documentation of all medical tests and treatments to demonstrate the severity of your injuries.
- Saving copies of all out-of-pocket expenses relating to your injury and keeping a record of missed workdays. The more injury-related expenses you can prove, the more workers' compensation you are qualified to receive.
Contact Edwards & Kautz to discuss your workers' compensation claim at 866-795-5087. We are committed to maximizing your workers' compensation claim through every step of the filing process.