Workers’ Compensation in Kentucky: 7 Important Facts to Know
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on September 13, 2017
Workers’ compensation laws can be confusing for even the most savvy of people; however, it is important to know your rights when it comes to workers’ compensation in Kentucky. Workers’ compensation laws were originally mandated to place responsibility of workplace injuries and diseases on the industry. While the purpose of workers’ compensation laws seems straight-forward, there are addendums and loopholes that make it confusing. As an experienced workers comp law firm, we are especially aware of this. Below we have outlined 7 important facts about workers’ compensation in Kentucky that every employee should know.
7 Important Facts to Know About Workers’ Compensation in Kentucky
Who Is An Employee Under Workers’ Compensation?
There are many fields of employment within a state and under each field; certain groups of people are seen as employees while others are not. An employee is anyone – including minors – working under a contract. This includes executive officers, employees of the state, a county, or city, volunteer firefighters, newspaper deliverers, and more. While many people employed in the state of Kentucky are covered by workers’ compensation, there are others who are exempt. Some of these people include workers in the agricultural field, domestic workers who keep a household of 2 or less, employees associated with a religious organization, voluntary carpools, and more.
Who is Liable and Required By Law to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Liability in regards to workers’ compensation in Kentucky is a tricky thing. According to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, anyone who is an employer or who operates as a contractor and offers “up the ladder” coverage is liable and required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. “Up the ladder” coverage refers to a contractor who employs others to complete part of his contract as subcontractors. However, liability will not apply to anyone who is willfully injuring themselves on the job or knowingly intoxicated while working.
Can You, as an Employee, Waive Workers’ Compensation in Kentucky?
As an employee of the state of Kentucky, you can waive your rights to workers’ compensation coverage. In order to reject your rights, you must file an Employee’s Notice of Rejection of Workers’ Compensation Act. This form is commonly known as a Form 4 Waiver. You must do so willingly and Kentucky law forbids employers from requiring employees to sign a Form 4 Waiver.
What is a Work Related Injury?
It’s important to understand what a work related injury is and, furthermore, how they are covered under workers’ compensation laws. A work related injury is defined as “any work-related traumatic event or series of events, including cumulative trauma, arising out of and in the course of employment which is the proximate cause producing a harmful change in the human organism evidenced by objective medical findings”. In layman’s terms, a work-related injury is an injury that occurs while on the job and is determined to have happened then and due to work-related circumstances by a third-party medical professional.
What is an Occupational Disease?
An occupational disease is a condition that is a result of exposure to a hazardous material or substance in the workplace that develops over an extended period of time. One of the most common occupational diseases of the 21st century is mesothelioma which you can learn more about here. However, in Kentucky, workers’ compensation funds are often used to compensate coal workers’ who have contracted pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, and special statutes apply to those employees.
What are the Rights of an Employee under Workers’ Compensation Laws in Kentucky?
There are many details that go into the rights of employees under workers’ compensation in Kentucky and some rights include:
a. Getting coverage at no additional cost to you, as an employee
b. Being informed on who is providing workers’ compensation insurance through an employer
c. Receiving quick and timely responses from the insurance company under which your employer has you covered
d. Choosing a physician to treat you for any work-related injuries or illnesses and also changing physicians without any question
e. Getting reimbursed for any out-of-pocket costs by the insurance company providing workers’ compensation coverage
f. Being able to receive retraining if unable to return back to the same level of work performed prior to injury or illness
What Must I Do as an Injured Employee Under Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Laws?
If injured while on the clock, as an employee covered under workers’ compensation laws in Kentucky, you must notify your supervisors of work-related injuries or illnesses as soon as possible. When you notify a supervisor, be sure to include the situation under which the injury occurred or the illness was contracted as well as what body parts are being affected. As soon as possible, after the injury occurs and notice has been given to your employer, seek out medical attention of your choice. If you choose a physician for immediate care that you find you do not like after treatment, it is outlined by the Labor Cabinet of Kentucky that you are allowed one change in physician with no questions asked. Regardless, it is expected and appreciated that the lines of communication between you and your employer stay open.
These 7 important facts are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to workers’ compensation laws in Kentucky.
In conclusion, if you are interested in learning more, there are multiple reference websites available through the Kentucky government. Visit the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s website for more information on employment within the state. You can also access a digitized version of the Guidebook to Workers’ Compensation online through the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims. You can also visit the Cooper and Friedman blog archive available here for another great resource on workers’ compensation in Kentucky, .
If you work in Kentucky or Southern, Indiana, and have been injured on the job or contracted an illness that you feel is work related, but aren’t sure how to go about receiving workers’ compensation from your employer, contact us today. At Cooper & Friedman, we have nearly 50 combined years of experience assisting workers compensation clients in Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana. To get a free case consultation, contact us online or call (502) 459-7555 today!