Workers who suffer a work-related injury or illness may need compensation to make up for lost wages and medical benefits. Kentucky, like other states, has a workers’ compensation program that provides these important benefits.
Workers’ comp defined
Kentucky requires that employers have workers’ compensation. This is a form of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to employees who suffer a work-related injury, illness, or disability. A federal workers’ compensation program generally governs U.S. government employees.
Worker compensation is a type of social contract between employers and workers. In return for granting compensation for work-related injuries without proof of fault, employers are generally protected from civil lawsuits.
Independent contractors, certain domestic workers, agricultural workers. employees of certain religious organizations and a residential or repair person employed by a homeowner for up to 20 consecutive workdays are among the workers exempt from coverage in Kentucky.
Independent contracts must fall within specific criteria to be excluded. Otherwise, employers may be accused of misclassification.
The amount of compensation is set by the state. Compensation generally includes lost wages until the injured worker recovers from the injury.
Medical benefits cover a wide range of costs for various treatment and care. These includes doctor visits, diagnostics, hospital care, medication, physical therapy, and certain equipment such as wheelchairs.
Disability benefits depend on the seriousness of the injury or whether it is permanent. These may include certain educational benefits and training. If a worker dies because of a work-related injury or illness, their family will receive death benefits that can pay for expenses such as a funeral.
Workers’ compensation pays for injuries that occur at and during work. It may also cover long-term conditions that developed from work like carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic back pain, occupational illnesses, and sickness contracted at work which may include COVID-19.
Compensation may be denied for injuries resulting from certain conduct. Excluded conduct includes drinking alcoholic beverages, using illegal drugs, starting a fight, self-inflicting injuries, or violating a written employer policy.
Injured workers must report injuries, file a benefit claim, submit documents, and take other actions within specified times. There are also procedures governing appeals.
An attorney can help injured workers participate in legal procedures that are sometimes complicated. Lawyers can help assure that injured workers do not inadvertently surrender important rights.