Workers’ compensation (WC) is insurance for workers that provides medical coverage, disability and other benefits to them in the event they suffer injury on the job and become unable to work. Every state has different WC requirements for employers to have, often determined by the number of employees in the company.
In Kentucky, employers must provide WC even if they have just one employee who is either part-time or full-time, with exclusions for independent contractors or domestic workers. Postal workers and other government employees have separate coverage under federal laws. While most states disallow workers from suing their employer for injuries in a work-related accident, in Kentucky they may waive their rights to WC when pursuing a claim directly against their employer.
What kinds of injury does Kentucky WC cover?
No matter the occupation, workers can suffer a work-related injury in any line of work. Most work-related injuries are due to one of four causes:
- Strain, stress, or injury related to overexertion from pushing, lifting, carrying, or throwing objects, with the back most often affected.
- Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) from repetitive motion or strain of one particular part of the body, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, as well as knee or spinal injuries.
- Injuries related to slips, trips, or falls.
- Contact injuries from heavy objects and equipment.
While these injuries often occur in the construction, warehousing and transportation industries, many RSIs occur in office or healthcare settings that require routine repetitive tasks, long hours of sitting, or frequent bending, lifting, or reaching. Many of these injuries develop over time and can cause occupation disease, resulting in temporary or permanent disability. WC coverage in Kentucky also includes injuries that result from work-related travel.
How difficult is it to file a claim?
Under the Department of Workers’ Claims, WC claims go through a complex administrative process that requires injured workers to file specific forms, meet strict deadlines, and submit detailed paperwork that substantiates the relationship of the workers’ injury or condition to work-related conditions or activities.
This will mean keeping detailed records of the workers’ medical history, diagnosis and treatments and office visits, as well as documentation verifying wages and loss of employment due to the injury.
While it may make sense at the time to do the paperwork on your own, a denial letter can significantly delay treatment. Many WC denials occur when there is insufficient documentation for a claim, or the worker submitted the wrong forms or missed the deadline for filing. By the time the worker receives the denial letter, they may begin to also suffer out-of-pocket expenses related to treatments or missed work.
For residents of Louisville, Lexington and throughout Kentucky, having effective and knowledgeable legal advocacy when filing a WC claim can make all the difference in avoiding a delay of benefits and receiving the compensation that they need. Legal help becomes all the more important if a claim is rejected and the employee must fight to get the benefits they need.