Workplace accidents remain far too common in Kentucky. According to information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 40,600 on-the-job injuries reported in Kentucky in 2016 alone.
Alarmingly, Kentucky’s workplace accident rate is nearly 10 percent higher than the national average, making it one of the most dangerous states for workers in the entire country.
The overwhelming majority of Kentucky workers are protected by the state’s workers’ compensation insurance program. Though, unfortunately, many workers have trouble getting the full benefits owed to them under the law.
At Harville Law Offices, PLLC, our top-rated Louisville workers’ compensation lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of injured workers in Kentucky. If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, please contact us today for free legal guidance.
Workers’ Compensation Eligibility in Kentucky
In Kentucky, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance or purchase self-insurance. There are very few exceptions to the insurance requirement, depending on the size, industry, and employment setting.
Kentucky workers’ compensation is ‘no fault’ insurance; workers are not required to prove that their employer was to blame for their injuries in order to receive compensation. Instead, injured Kentucky workers must prove:
- They were covered under the workers’ compensation program;
- They sustained a real injury (most physical injuries qualify); and
- Their injury is related to their occupation.
Workplace Accidents Happen More Often in Certain Industries
Though fault is not a consideration in workers’ compensation claims, there are certain occupations that tend to be more hazardous for employees. Examples include:
Equipment, vehicles, heights, and other factors are behind many workers’ compensation claims in the construction industry. Plus, the work environment is constantly in flux, with different teams and physical conditions changing every day.
Loading, unloading, stacking, and storing massive amounts of inventory presents serious risks to workers in warehousing. Debris, spills, and other conditions can cause accidents.
Driving presents a risk to any motorist, but truck drivers spend their working lives on the road. Operating an enormous vehicle, along with cargo, is extremely challenging and the slightest lapse in judgment can lead to serious consequences.
Working in close proximity to dangerous equipment means that any errant movement can lead to life-threatening injuries.
Common Work-Related Injuries in Kentucky
Injuries to Kentucky workers may be minor, requiring a visit to the doctor, rest, and a few days to recover. However, they can also be more severe, making surgery, physical therapy, and long-term care necessary. Some of the most common on-the-job injuries include:
- Head injuries, concussion, and traumatic injuries from falls;
- Broken bones, strains, and sprains, often resulting from slippery surfaces;
- Burns, which may occur due to exposure to hazardous substances, fires, or explosions;
- Respiratory conditions from inhaling toxins;
- Injuries that are common in motor vehicle accidents, such as whiplash and soft-tissue injuries;
- Amputations, especially in manufacturing, warehousing, and construction;
- Eye injuries and hearing loss; and,
- Many other types of injuries you may incur while performing job-related tasks.
Benefits Available to Injured Louisville Workers
Workers’ compensation benefits come in a number of different forms. Ultimately, the benefits available to you will depend on the specific nature of your injuries.
To start, injured workers are eligible for coverage for all related medical expenses.
Next, injured workers are eligible for compensation that makes up for their lost wages during the period they are forced to miss on the job. Wage loss compensation is paid at two thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, up to a limit of $600 per week.
Finally, in cases involving especially severe injuries, workers may be entitled to permanent disability compensation.
What to Do If Your Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied
Under Kentucky law, your sole remedy for a work-related injury is to file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. Like dealing with other types of insurers, you may face resistance in dealing with the representative. The company may contest:
- That you are a covered employee under the insurance policy;
- That you were engaging in work-related tasks;
- The circumstances of the accident;
- The severity of your injuries; or,
- Many other aspects of your claim.
If you are having trouble getting the full benefits available to you, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Louisville workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Workers’ compensation claims can be delayed, underpaid, or denied for a wide variety of reasons.
Once you have received an adverse decision from the insurer, you need to get that letter into the hands of a qualified lawyer immediately.
Your Louisville workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to comprehensively review your denial, and determine precisely what steps need to be taken to get you benefits.
In many cases, additional medical evidence will need to be obtained. Of course, every case is unique. You deserve fully personalized attention from a skilled Kentucky workplace injury attorney.
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Exceptions Under Kentucky’s Workers’ Compensation Laws
In most cases, seeking workers’ compensation benefits is your sole remedy as the victim of a workplace accident. You cannot directly sue your employer for damages, unless your claim falls within one of the exceptions provided by Kentucky law. Therefore, you may have alternative legal remedies if:
- Your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance as required by statute; or,
- Your employer engaged in intentional conduct that resulted in your injuries.
In addition, you may file a personal injury claim if a third-party was responsible for your injuries.
For example, if you were in a motor vehicle accident while working or you were hurt by a subcontractor, you may be able to seek compensation under the legal theory of negligence.
You should discuss your circumstances with our workers’ compensation attorneys to learn more about your rights. The key benefit in filing a third-party claim is that you can recover for your non-economic damages, such as emotional distress and pain and suffering.
What Do Our Clients Say?
“Bradley is an amazing lawyer and helped settle a work comp and fought for me the entire way!”
Contact Our Louisville Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
At Harville Law Offices, PLLC, our workers’ compensation lawyers have helped many injured workers recover the full benefits that they deserve. If your workers’ compensation claim was denied in Kentucky, we are ready to assist you.
For a free, no-obligation workers’ compensation consultation, please call us today at (502) 276-8036. From our office in Louisville, we represent injured workers throughout the region, including in Jefferson County, Floyd County, and Clark County.