In Lexington, Kentucky, most employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation exists to protect employees and provide them with monetary benefits and wages if they’re injured on the job—regardless of who was at fault for their injury.
Unfortunately, due to the inherent complexity of workers’ comp claims and the fact that some workplaces treat injured employees unfairly, these benefits are not always distributed like they should. If you’re struggling to get benefits after an on-the-job injury or fear retaliation for seeking benefits, it may be in your best interest to seek the help of a Lexington workers’ compensation lawyer. An experienced attorney can make sure you get the money you and your family need.
At Golden Law Office, our lawyers understand the complexities of workers’ compensation claims and why many are denied or refuted. We know how to fight claim denials, can help you through the appeals process, and are prepared to do whatever it takes to help you and your loved ones while you take the time you need to recover.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Lexington, KY
If you’ve been injured on the job in Kentucky or were diagnosed with a disease or illness that was an occupational hazard, you’re more than likely eligible for workers’ compensation. Common work injuries include everything from back injuries to shoulder injuries, knee injuries, repetitive stress/motion injuries, and illness or disease due to chemical exposure or allergens in the workplace. This also covers a disease called coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as “black lung,” which is one of the more common occupational diseases that Kentucky coal miners can suffer from.
To file for workers’ compensation benefits in Lexington, you should first report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. You will have to fill out multiple forms with the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) as well as have them notarized. You will have to submit a medical report that supports your claim along with documentation of your earnings.
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to you regardless of who was at fault for your injuries. If you feel your employer was at fault for your injuries and should have taken action to prevent the incident which caused you to become injured, it may be in your best interest to speak with a personal injury lawyer before finalizing your workers’ comp forms. Workers’ comp claims and work injury personal injury claims vary significantly.
Workers’ comp benefits in Kentucky may include the following:
- Partial or full replacement of lost wages
- Medical costs, including the costs of ongoing care
- Disability benefits, if applicable
- Death benefits to a surviving spouse or dependent(s)
Under Kentucky law, you have a two-year period from the date of your injury or the diagnosis of your occupational disease or illness to file a workers’ compensation claim. This period is commonly referred to as the statute of limitations.
Two crucial factors will determine the outcome of your claim, what type of benefits you receive, and how long those benefits will last: the longevity of your injuries or illness, and the seriousness/severity. These two factors determine what type of workers’ compensation benefits you’re able to receive in the state of Kentucky. They are broken down into the following types:
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
As the name implies, a worker who receives TTD benefits is expected to take time off work and go back to work when their injuries recover. Weekly TTD benefits in Kentucky amount to two-thirds of an employee’s gross pay. These benefits are paid until the employee can return to work. If the worker cannot return to work, they may be eligible to apply for Permanent Total Disability benefits (see below).
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
When a worker is injured and cannot return to work, they will receive Permanent Total Disability benefits until they reach retirement age. PTD benefits are calculated by averaging out the worker’s gross wages and distributing them weekly. Insurance companies also often distribute lump sum payments for PTD claims.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
Permanent Partial Disability benefits are granted when an employee is injured on the job and can return to work, but in a limited capacity. These benefits are intended to provide an offset to a reduction in pay that the worker may have to experience as a result of the injury. The amount rewarded is based upon the worker’s “percentage of disability,” which is determined during the processing of the claim.
In addition to the above, family members and loved ones may be eligible to receive death benefits for a family member who passed away from a work injury. These payments vary depending on the deceased worker’s earnings and the number of dependents, but aim to provide family members with a portion of the deceased’s income benefits.
Legal Options If a Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied
The most common reason injured employees seek out advice from a workers’ compensation lawyer is in situations where they have had a claim initially denied or they are struggling to file a claim in the first place due a workplace or supervisor that is retaliating or threatening retaliation.
When a workers’ comp claim is denied, it’s possible to fight back by filing an appeal. To appeal a claim denial, you’ll need to present your claim to an Administrative Law Judge, through the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. The process to do so is complex and will require at least one hearing. You may also have to appeal to the state Workers’ Compensation Board. Every part of the appeals process requires strict deadlines that must be adhered to.
If you’re currently in the appeal process, it can be highly in your benefit to have a Lexington workers’ compensation lawyer with you during the hearing(s) to fight for your rights.
All Kentucky workers have the following rights regarding workers’ compensation:
- A right to compensation for injuries received in the workplace
- A right to appeal a workers’ compensation decision
- A right to full treatment and coverage for any medical expenses
- A right to report harmful or dangerous conditions in the workplace without retaliation
- A right to be protected from retaliation due to filing a claim
- The right to return to your occupation, if possible
- A right to seek legal representation from an attorney
If you’re in a situation where you’re experiencing workplace retaliation due to filing a workers’ compensation claim or are otherwise having your rights taken away, you should get in touch with a workers’ compensation attorney as quickly as possible. At Golden Law Office, our lawyers are ready to assist you and answer any questions you may have. To learn how we can potentially help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Lexington law office today.