If you are injured on the job or suffer a work-related medical condition, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that allows injured employees to obtain financial benefits in exchange for waiving their right to sue an employer.
If you suffered a debilitating injury or illness related to your employment, reach out to Kentucky Injury Law Center. From our office in Owensboro, our work injury attorneys provide dedicated legal representation to injured workers throughout Daviess County and the surrounding areas. We dedicate a significant portion of our practice to workers’ compensation law, meaning we have the resources and experience to effectively advocate for you. Whether you need help filing your initial claim or have already had your workers’ compensation claim denied, our team is ready to fight for you.
To discuss your legal needs with a member of our team, call (270) 423-0023 or contact us online. Your initial consultation with our Owensboro workers' compensation lawyer is free.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Comp in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, nearly all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance or be self-insured, with the notable exception of those in the agricultural industry, as well as certain others. This means that most part-time and full-time employees are covered, even if they are the sole employee at the business or company where they work.
However, some individuals are generally not covered by the state’s workers’ compensation system, including:
- Independent contractors
- Certain agricultural workers
- Certain domestic workers
- Most volunteers
- Federal employees
Notably, Kentucky has a unique rule that allows employees who would normally be covered to waive their right to workers’ compensation and, instead, preserve their right to sue their employers. To “opt out” of workers’ compensation, an employee must sign a Form 4 Waiver. Then, their employer must file the completed and signed form with the Department of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available?
The Kentucky workers’ compensation system offers several benefits to eligible employees. First, to qualify for benefits, an employee must be a covered worker who has sustained an eligible injury or medical condition related to their employment. Generally speaking, mental illnesses are only compensable when they result from physical work-related injuries or illnesses.
In Kentucky, the following types of workers’ compensation benefits are available to eligible employees:
- Medical Expenses: Workers’ compensation pays for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses associated with a qualifying employee’s work-related injury or illness. This includes things like emergency transportation (e.g., ambulances), hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, medications, medical equipment, and more. While workers’ compensation medical benefits generally cover all current and future costs, they typically stop after 780 weeks from the date of injury unless the claimant applies for and receives an extension.
- Temporary Disability: Depending on the severity of the injury, an eligible employee may receive temporary partial disability (PTD) or temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. TTD benefits are generally more common and are applicable when an individual is unable to return to work for a set period of time while recovering from their injury or condition. TTD benefits are meant to make up a portion of the worker’s lost wages; they are calculated based on two-third’s the worker’s average weekly wages and are subject to minimum and maximum weekly limits.
- Permanent Disability: If a work-related injury or illness leaves an employee permanently disabled, he or she may be entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD) benefits depending on the severity of the disability. Permanent disability benefits are based on numerous factors and various calculations, including the worker’s “whole-body impairment” rating, their average weekly wages, and more.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: Also known as “job retraining,” vocational rehabilitation benefits are available to qualifying individuals who cannot return to their previous employment but who may be able to re-enter the workforce with the appropriate education and/or training. Vocational rehabilitation benefits pay for certain costs associated with workforce re-entry, such as the cost of educational courses and materials, as well as (in some cases) a weekly cost-of-living allowance.
- Death Benefits: When a covered employee dies due to a job-related injury or illness, his or her surviving spouse and/or dependents may be entitled to death benefits through the workers’ compensation system. Typically, these benefits include compensation for funeral/burial costs (up to certain limits), as well as reimbursement for lost wages/income earned by the deceased in life.
The Kentucky workers’ compensation system also provides a number of special benefits for coal workers who suffer from pneumoconiosis, or “black lung” disease. Our workers' compensation lawyers in Owensboro can help you navigate the compensation process if you have suffered an injury in the workplace.
What if Your Claim Was Denied?
Just because your workers' compensation claim was denied that doesn't mean you can't receive compensation. Claims can be denied for any number of reasons, including insufficient evidence, improperly filled out paperwork, and more. That means that with the proper guidance, you may be able to file an appeal and have your claim accepted after all. Our team can help walk your through the process today!
How Do Workers' Compensation Attorneys Get Paid?
You may be wondering how you can afford to hire a work injury lawyer to represent you. The good news is that you only have to pay us if we're able to win your case. If we aren't able to recover compensation on your behalf, you won't owe us a thing. This means that you have nothing to lose by hiring a lawyer. In addition, if we do win your case, our fee comes out of the settlement that you receive from the insurance company. This means that you won't lose any money out of pocket. Our goal as a firm is to treat every one of our clients as human beings, not just clients. You are a hardworking Kentuckian, and our goal is to recover maximum compensation on your behalf.
Can I Sue Workers' Compensation for Pain & Suffering?
No, unfortunately pain and suffering are damages that you can only receive compensation for if you file a personal injury claim. Workers' compensation does not provide compensation for pain and suffering. However, if you believe that your work injury has led to the development of a mental disorder such as depression, you may have grounds to pursue a larger amount as part of your workers' compensation settlement. Our lawyers can discuss your case with you and help determine whether or not you may qualify for this.
Contact our workers’ compensation attorneys in Owensboro at Kentucky Injury Law Center to learn more.