What is Workers’ Compensation?
In Kentucky, workers’ compensation provides injured workers with compensation for medical costs, temporary disability, or permanent disability. Kentucky State law requires all employers who have at least one part-time employee to have workers’ compensation insurance or become self-insured. Workers’ compensation covers physical injuries and occupational diseases brought about by work activities. Examples of injury or illness that may qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits would include:
- All physical injuries occurring while at work, including during breaks, lunch hours, and work-sponsored activities. These injuries often involve industrial accidents, slip-and-falls, equipment failure, or defective machinery.
- Diseases contracted due to products, processes, chemicals, etc. in the workplace. Often these cases involve diseases such as lung cancer or other kinds of cancer after an employee is exposed to toxins at work.
- Injuries resulting from repeated stressors (such as a lower back injury) or exposure to excessive noise (hearing loss).
Though injuries and illnesses arising over time are covered, health care issues due to the natural aging process are not. The employee will need to show the injury to be “arising in and out of employment.” Psychological injury is not covered unless it is specifically a result of a physical injury occurring at work.
Rhoads & Rhoads has been protecting the rights of the injured throughout Western Kentucky for over 45 years. We will help you file your claim with your employer and also determine if there is a basis for a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party for your injury. Our team of experienced workers compensation lawyers and knowledgeable support staff are available to help you with any legal issues and to support you through this difficult time. We will work to get you the financial recovery you deserve.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits include medical costs. This means your employer is responsible for your necessary costs for medical treatment, which will be paid directly by their worker’s compensation insurance company. Covered medical costs include doctor’s visits, physical therapy, hospital stays, prescription medications and other medical treatments required for your recovery.
If your injury prevents you from returning to work for at least seven days, you may be eligible for temporary total disability compensation. This benefit will provide you with 2/3 the lesser amount of your average weekly wage or the state’s average weekly wage and is paid weekly. The benefit payment ends when one of two things happen: you return to work OR you reach “Maximum Medical Improvement” or MMI, which means there is not further medical recovery expected.
Kentucky does not provide pre-MMI benefits for individuals whose injury allows them to return to work in a limited capacity, even if it results in lower earnings. Once MMI is reached, the health of the worker will be assessed for permanent impairment, resulting in what is called a permanent impairment rating. This rating, which indicates permanent disability level, will be reviewed alongside average weekly wage at the time of injury, age, and education in order to determine the amount of permanent partial disability compensation due.
Filing for Workers’ Compensation
When an injury occurs or you are diagnosed with an illness possibly related to your work, it is important for you to make a report to your employer right away. This begins the process of filing for workers’ compensation because your employer will provide you with the necessary forms for filing your claim.
Once your claim is filed with the Kentucky Department of Workers Claims, a decision will normally be provided within two months. If your claim is denied, you have the option to appeal the decision, beginning with an Administrative Law Judge. Beyond that, you can take your appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Board, and then to other appellate courts in the state of Kentucky. Often, denials are due to a failure to provide adequate medical information or proof the injury occurred at work. A related pre-existing condition may also result in an initial denial of your claim and require further review and proof your injury truly was a result of employment.
Owensboro and Madisonville Drug Injury Lawyers — No Recovery, No Fee
With law offices in Owensboro and Madisonville, Rhoads & Rhoads represents work injury victims throughout Western Kentucky. Our practice areas also include social security disability and can help guide your estate planning needs. We offer free consultations, and all cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no payment required upfront. We get paid only if we win or settle your case, so there is NO RISK involved.
Call our law firm at 888-709-9329 or contact us by e-mail to schedule an initial consultation with one of our Madisonville or Owensboro personal injury attorneys.