Last year in the United States there were 2.6 million work-related injuries. In Kentucky, over 42,000 work-related injuries were reported last year. If you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your medical treatment and lost time so you can focus on your recovery while still paying your bills. However, understanding the process and getting the benefits you deserve is not always easy, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced Kentucky workers compensation lawyer.
At McCoy & Sparks, we have helped countless injured workers who have been injured in a workplace incident. We know the ins and outs of Kentucky workers’ comp law and can help you file your claim and ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
- We are located in Bardstown and represent people across Kentucky with a focus in and around the Central Kentucky area.
- We have extensive experience handling workers’ compensation cases as well as many other types of cases.
- We’ve recovered millions of dollars for clients injured in work-related accidents.
- We truly care about our clients and delivering superior results—we have plenty of satisfied testimonials on Facebook, Google Reviews, and other review sites.
What should you do first after a work-related injury?
Tell your employer about your injury as soon as possible. Make sure to tell a supervisor, not just a co-worker. Be sure to ask about completing a written report of your injury too, and get a copy of that report if you can. If possible, take pictures of where your injury occurred and make a note of any co-workers who witnessed your injury. If you have any written communications with your employer about your injury, like texts or emails, be sure to save those.
When you first see a doctor or medical provider, explain to them how your injury occurred and tell them any physical complaints you have at that time. If the doctor takes you off work or puts you on light duty, make sure you get a copy of your off-work notes or restrictions and take them to your employer.
Workers’ compensation is a type of no-fault benefit offered through an employer’s insurance that provides injured workers with benefits such as payment of medical treatment and wage replacement known as temporary total disability benefits. In Kentucky, all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have at least one employee on their payroll. Because it is a no-fault system, the injured worker is eligible for benefits no matter who was at fault. However, this also means that workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy and in most cases, you cannot sue your employer for additional compensation, even if the accident was due to negligence.
What benefits can I get through Workers’ Compensation?
In general, there are three primary types of Workers’ Compensation benefits for which you may be eligible. First, if you have suffered a work-related injury, your employer is responsible for paying for your medical expenses. Second, if you are taken off work by a medical provider or you have restrictions that prevent you from going back to work, your employer must pay for your post wages. This benefit is known as temporary total disability payments and is usually about two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Finally, if your injury causes permanent impairment, then you may be eligible for additional monetary benefits known as permanent partial benefits or permanent total disability benefits. The amount of PPD or PTD benefits owed to you depend on several factors including the type of injury you suffered, your wages at the time of the injury, your current wage, whether you were physically capable of returning to the same job, and your age and education level.
A work-related accident can happen for various reasons and can also occur on many different kinds of job sites. However, some of the most dangerous industries that result in workplace accidents include construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation.
Common causes of workplace accidents include:
- Lack of training
- OSHA safety violations
- Lack of safety gear
- Defective or malfunctioning equipment and machinery
- Lack of care or maintenance for equipment and machinery
- Falling objects
- Disorganized or messy workplaces
- Poor lighting conditions
- Contact with moving objects, equipment, and machinery
- Too many distractions
- Slip and falls
- Work vehicle accidents
- Exposure to toxic materials and chemicals
- Heavy lifting
Nearly any kind of injury can occur while someone is working on the job; it simply depends on the specific situation and what type of accident occurred. However, some of the most commonly seen workplace injuries include:
- Broken or crushed bones
- Crushed limbs and amputations
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Repetitive stress injuries/Cumulative Trauma Injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Hearing loss
- Thermal and chemical burns
- Eye injuries
- Hand injuries
- Occupational disease from exposure to toxic chemicals
- Shoulder Injuries
- Knee injuries
- Neck and back injuries
Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits cover any injury or illness that occurs as a result of work performed while on the job. This can even include injuries that occur on a paid break or during travel in a work vehicle. Work-related deaths are also compensable and family members of the worker who was killed may be eligible for benefits.
So long as the worker can prove that their injury or illness is work-related, they are eligible to receive benefits. However, proving that an injury or illness is work-related is not always easy. When an incident report is filled out soon after an accident and the injury is reported and documented, injuries that resulted from that incident can be easier to prove than if there was a delay in reporting. Injuries that are not immediately apparent, such as those that worsen with time due to repetitive work duties can be much more complicated.
In either case, working with an experienced Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer is recommended. They can help you navigate your claim and ensure all necessary information is provided to get you the full benefits you need and deserve.
Again, any employer with one or more employees must provide workers’ compensation coverage. But what constitutes an employee according to workers’ compensation law?
In Kentucky, an employee is:
- Anyone who is working under a contract for hire
- State, city, and county employees
- Executive officers of corporations
- Volunteer firefighters
- Individuals who sell and deliver newspapers
- Any person who performs services in a trade profession or business
There are, however, exceptions to who is eligible for workers’ comp benefits in Kentucky. Those who are exempt from these benefits include:
- Agriculture employees
- In-home domestic workers who work less than 40 hours per week
- Charitable workers who work for sustenance only
- Certain religious organization workers
- Certain volunteer workers
- Workers covered by the Federal Act, such as postal employees or those employed by the military working on a military base
There are two primary types of benefits injured workers can receive through workers’ compensation in Kentucky:
- Medical Benefits:
This benefit provides coverage for necessary medical visits and treatments related to workplace injury or illness. This includes doctor appointments, hospitalization, diagnostic imaging, medications, therapy, nursing care, and the cost of medical assistance equipment like wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, etc.
- Wage Replacement Benefits:
This benefit provides a portion of the injured worker’s lost wages while they are unable to work during recovery. This includes:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): TTD is provided to eligible workers who are temporarily unable to work while they are recovering from their injury. These benefits are paid until a worker recovers enough to return to their usual work, or until the worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) and is then eligible for either permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD): PTDbenefits are provided to eligible workers when their injury leaves them permanently disabled, and they are unable to return to work in any capacity. These benefits are payable generally until the worker reaches age 70.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): PPD is given to those who are partially disabled by their workplace injury but may still be able to return to work in some capacity.. These benefits are payable over either a 425 or 520 week period, depending on the severity of the injury and the impairment rating, and may be paid in addition to TTD benefits.
The amount of benefits the injured worker receives can depend on the individual situation. However, the general amount paid is 66 ⅔% of the worker’s average weekly wage up to the state maximum. For PPD benefits, the amount given will also be based on the impairment rating given by the physician, along with other factors such as whether the injured worker is able to return to work at the same wage, their education level, and their age at the time of the injury..
In Kentucky, workers’ comp claims are handled by the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC).
To get your workers’ compensation claim started, you will need to provide notice to your employer immediately following the workplace accident. If you are rushed to the hospital for immediate medical care, you can have a loved one or fellow employee who witnessed the accident report the incident for you.
Once an official incident report is filled out, your employer should file a claim for you. However, you can also file the claim yourself. If your employer filed the claim, make sure to check in with them to ensure they did actually file the report with the insurance company and the DWC. Once the claim is reported to the insurance company, your employer should be able to provide you with the information needed to process your medical claims, such as a claim number and the contact information for the adjuster assigned to your claim.
When in doubt, it’s best to hire a Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer to assist you. They can make sure your claim is properly filed and that no mistakes are made. They can assist you throughout the entire process until your benefits are paid.
In the state of Kentucky, workers have up to two years after the date of the injury, or after the last day TTD benefits were paid, whichever occurs later, to file a claim. Even if your medical bills were paid and you received TTD benefits for the time you were off, if you do not file a claim within the two year period, you will not be eligible for any future benefits, including additional medical care or income benefits.
There are various reasons why a workers’ compensation claim might get denied, including:
- Timely notice was not given
- Minor injuries that do not seem severe enough to warrant benefits
- Lying about the accident and injuries or making false or exaggerated claims about what happened
- The injury is related to a pre-existing condition or a degenerative condition, such as arthritis
- Failure to seek medical care for the workplace injury
- Intoxication or willful intent
- Failure to follow medical advice of a treating physician
- Injury happened off the clock or on a break
If your claim is denied, you should speak to your attorney about the next steps. In some cases, it may have been a mistake that simply needs correcting. In other cases, you may need a lawyer to defend you and argue that you were injured on the job and are entitled to additional benefits.
If you were intoxicated when the workplace accident occurred or if you purposely caused an accident so you could receive benefits, you might not be able to file a claim. These reasons are solid grounds for a denial that cannot be appealed.
The steps you take after being injured on the job are important and can affect how your workers’ compensation claim plays out. One wrong move or mistake could result in a denial or reduced benefits.
If you are injured at work, take the following steps:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention:
Your health and well-being should be your number one priority after a workplace accident. If your injuries are severe, have someone call for emergency assistance or have someone drive you to the hospital. Even if the injuries aren’t that bad, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Proof that you were injured and sought care will help prove that you need workers’ comp benefits.
- File an Incident Report With Your Employer:
You should report the accident and your injuries to your employer as soon as you can. Many businesses have an HR department that handles incident reports, but if you are unsure, report what happened to your direct supervisor. If you are severely injured and unable to file the report yourself, have someone else do it for you and check that the report was filed when you can. The report should include the time and date of the accident, the injuries sustained, and any other relevant information.
- Gather Evidence:
If you are not immediately rushed to the hospital and can do so, gathering evidence at the scene where the accident occurred can be incredibly helpful. The more evidence you have to prove what happened, the easier it will be to get your claim approved. Evidence can include pictures of the accident scene and your injuries, pictures of what caused the accident, and witness statements. If any co-workers saw what happened, make sure to get their contact info if they are needed for witness testimony.
- Make Sure Your Claim is Filed:
Your employer should be the one to file your claim with the DWC and their insurance once the initial accident report is filed. However, you should not rely on them to do so. Make sure you check in with them regularly to ensure the claim has been filed. If you suspect they have not filed a claim, you can file one yourself.
- Contact a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Lawyer:
Navigating a workers’ compensation claim can be tricky. In most cases, it is best to work with an attorney who has experience with workers’ comp law. They can help you file your claim and defend your rights if necessary to ensure you are adequately compensated for your injuries.
Your Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer will guide you through the workers’ compensation claim process and ensure all necessary information is provided. If your claim is denied or you are offered reduced benefits that are less than you deserve, we can help you file an appeal and ensure you get the full amount you deserve.
At McCoy & Sparks, we can:
- Handle communication with the employer, their insurance company, and the DWC
- Gather medical records to build your case
- Help you understand the law and your legal options
- Work to get you the maximum amount of workers’ comp benefits you deserve
- Use trained medical staff to comprehensively understand and convey the extent of injuries and how they are impacting your life and may continue to do so in the future
Each workers’ compensation claim is unique, and there is no guarantee of any certain amount. When you file your claim, various factors will be taken into consideration to determine how much you are owed for medical benefits and wage loss benefits. Your average weekly wage will also play a role in how much you will receive for disability wage replacement benefits.
By working with a lawyer, you are more likely to receive a fair settlement because they can ensure that sufficient evidence is provided to show how much the injury has affected your life. They can also help you calculate your wage loss benefits to ensure no mistakes are made and you are provided the full amount you are eligible for.
If you were injured in a workplace accident, please contact McCoy & Sparks for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll ask questions about your situation and help you understand what to do next.
You can trust us with your workers’ compensation case. We’ll work tirelessly to ensure you get the results you deserve.
NO FEE UNLESS YOU WIN