Kentucky has its own workers’ compensation laws that require employers to have insurance to pay for your medical expenses and lost wages if you are injured in a work-related accident.
The purpose of workers’ compensation insurance is to provide benefits to those workers who are injured on the job without forcing them to go to court and prove their employer was negligent. In turn, employers cannot claim workers were somehow negligent and responsible for their own injuries. If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Kentucky. The term “injury” also includes diseases contracted due to unsafe work conditions and hazardous material.
Kentucky Workers Covered Under Workers’ Compensation
Each state establishes its own workers’ compensation insurance requirements applicable to employers and employees. Kentucky employers of at least one employee, even if that employee works only part-time, are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance or be self-insured. There are a few exceptions, including agricultural employers and employers of domestic workers, that are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are also certain employers who are exempt due to their religious beliefs. In order to be covered, you must be an actual employee – and not an independent contractor – of an employer who is required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Also, if you are not actually employed, but volunteer your services, you are not covered. This is true even if you volunteer on a regular schedule. Exceptions are made for those who volunteer for ambulance, fire, or police duty. Federal employees, such as postal workers, are not covered under Kentucky state law, but are generally covered under separate federal statutes.
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Benefits
You may be eligible for compensation if you are permanently, partially disabled and unable to return to your normal job and unable to work regular hours. Benefits are paid weekly and the amount is determined by your average weekly earnings at the time of the injury as well as the extent of your disability. Your workers’ compensation benefits in Kentucky cover the following:
- Medical Expenses
This includes all expenses incurred for medical care which is required as a result of your work-related injury or illness. This means expenses for your hospitalization, emergency room treatment, doctor visits, physical and rehabilitation therapy, ambulance ride if medically necessary, and any other medical expense incurred. This also includes expenses you are currently experiencing as well as medical expenses you are expected to incur in the future due to your injury.
- Lost Wages
If you cannot work for at least seven days, you are eligible for compensation as temporarily totally disabled. You will be paid a pre-determined percentage of your salary on a weekly basis. If medical experts agree you will never recover and be able to return to any employment of any kind–referred to as reaching “maximum medical improvement”–this will convert to permanent total disability. This status would allow you to receive payments until your normal old age retirement age. Unlike non-work related personal injury claims based on negligence, workers’ compensation has no provision for damages due to your pain and suffering. If you were injured at work and are concerned about your coverage or the extent of your workers’ compensation benefits, contact Edwards & Kautz at 270-908-4914 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys.