If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury or illness, you’ll need an aggressive and experienced attorney who will work hard to get you all of the Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to. Isaacs & Isaacs attorneys have helped hundreds of workers to obtain their maximum benefits. We understand how important it is to get the money you need ASAP. Call us now at 800-800-8888, or fill out our form for a free consultation with a dedicated Isaacs & Isaacs Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer.
Police officers have one of the most dangerous, stressful jobs around. There is simply no foretelling when a seemingly routine workday can turn violent. Just last summer, a Madison County sheriff’s deputy was shot during a traffic stop. According to news reports, the officer was trying to pull somebody over, and the suspect pulled into his own driveway, got out of the car and began walking up to his house. Police said the suspect responded to commands to stop by opening fire on the deputy. In the ensuing shootout, the deputy suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and the suspect was killed.
After an injury at work, no matter how severe, you may not feel up to filling out the numerous forms and taking the required actions necessary to win a Kentucky workers’ compensation claim. Most jobs aren’t as dangerous as being a cop. But, whether you work at Berea College, the Dollar General or even at the Madison County Public Library, a workplace accident that leaves you seriously injured can happen at any job.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and Which Kentucky Workers Are Covered?
Workers’ Compensation is state mandated insurance to cover workers who are injured on-the-job or become ill from their employment. Each state has its own rules regarding coverage for injured workers. In Kentucky, almost all workers are covered by workers’ comp. In exchange for this coverage, you give up your right to sue your employer for a job-related injury or illness. All Kentucky employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance with a few exceptions. Kentucky workers who are not covered include:
- Agricultural workers
- Some domestic workers
- Federal employees
- Business owners
- Independent contractors
- Temporary residential maintenance workers
You may elect to refuse coverage by filling out a Form 4 Waiver and giving it to your employer to file with the Department of Workers’ Claims. Your employer is not allowed to require or pressure you to refuse coverage as a condition of employment. If you are not sure which category your job falls into (covered or not covered), you can contact the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims or speak to a workers’ comp attorney.
Employers are required to post a Workers’ Compensation Notice in plain sight at the job, and the notice must list the insurance provider and policy number. It might be a good idea to copy down this information for your records. Even if your workplace is very safe, there’s no telling what the future holds, and this info will be important to have if you are injured or become ill as a result of your work.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Receive?
There are three basic types of benefits available in Kentucky:
Temporary Total Disability is paid to injured or ill workers who are unable to work for over seven days. If you’re unable to return to work for over two weeks, you may also receive TTD payment for the first seven days of your job-related illness or injury.
Permanent Total Disability is awarded when you are so disabled you cannot do any kind of work, ever again. PTD is awarded after you have reached maximum medical improvement, as determined by your physician. Some injuries that will qualify you for workers’ comp PTD include:
- Total blindness
- Amputation of both feet
- Amputation of both hands
- Loss of a hand and a foot
- Paralysis of both arms, both legs, or an arm and a leg
- Complete loss of hearing
Permanent Partial Disability is payable if you are disabled due to a workplace injury or illness but can still do some type of work. Your payments will depend on the percentage of disability rating assigned by your doctor. Though PPD means you’re disabled indefinitely, the benefits are paid for a limited time, usually 425 weeks.
Vocational Rehabilitation may be available through workers’ comp if you cannot return to the work you did previously. You may need to complete a vocational evaluation to see what kind of work you can do before the training is provided. Coverage may include tuition, textbooks, transportation, housing and meals while you’re in school.
Death Benefits are available when a worker dies within four years as a result of the job-related injury. A lump sum is paid to the deceased’s estate. Income is also available to the surviving spouse and certain dependents.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Medical Expenses?
Medical care that is reasonable and necessary is covered. Kentucky is one of the few states that allows workers to choose the primary care physician. If you are part of a managed care system, you must choose from participating doctors. You can switch primary care doctors one time. After that, you’ll need permission from your employer, the company’s insurer, or an administrative law judge.
Your employer or its insurer is not allowed to require you to make copayments for medical care for a job-related injury or illness. Your employer, its insurer or a Kentucky workers’ comp administrative law judge may request an independent diagnosis, and such a diagnosis must be performed at a Kentucky university medical school. All related expenses for this independent diagnosis must be paid by your employer. Your employer has a continuous right to have you examined independently by a physician it chooses for as long as you receive benefits.
Why Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney to Get My Benefits?
The Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims recommends hiring an attorney who is experienced in representing injured workers to help you file for workers’ comp benefits. The laws are complicated, and there are many forms to fill out and deadlines to meet in order to file a claim. You will be held to the same standards as a lawyer by the Department of Workers’ Claims, whether you hire an attorney or choose to represent yourself. You have a right to represent yourself in a workers’ compensation insurance claim if you choose to do so, just as you have a right to act as your own attorney in a court case. But it is not recommended.
After your claim is approved, your employer or its insurer has a right to appeal your claim, and you may need to provide substantial proof to support that you have a valid claim. You may be required to attend a hearing before an administrative law judge, and you’ll be expected to abide by the rules, whether you have legal representation or not.
What Grounds Could My Employer Use to Dispute or Deny My Workers’ Comp Claim?
Defenses your employer or its insurer might use to dispute your claim include:
- You have a pre-existing condition
- You were not injured while doing your job
- Your injury is not that severe
- You were intoxicated when the injury occurred
- You were injured while engaging in horseplay
- You intentionally injured yourself
If your intentional violation of a safety rule led to your injury, your claim cannot be denied on that basis but can be reduced by 15 percent. Conversely, if your employer violated a safety standard, your payments could be increased by 30 percent.
There are many complicated workers’ comp laws and procedural requirements that a knowledgeable attorney would be able to navigate to ensure that you receive all the maximum benefits you are eligible for. You shouldn’t rely on your employer or its insurance carrier to inform you of all your benefits. Insurance is not known to be overly eager to pay out the maximum amount to injury victims.
In some cases, you may need to file a third-party lawsuit as well as a claim with the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims in order to receive the full compensation you are entitled to. Your skilled and experienced Isaacs & Isaacs workers’ compensation attorney will know what actions to take to ensure you receive every last dollar you deserve and all the benefits you are entitled to by law for your injury or illness.
How Can I Afford to Hire a Lawyer If I Am Hurt and Cannot Work?
Isaacs & Isaacs will represent you on a contingency fee basis. If we don’t get you your money, we won’t be paid! We have successfully represented hundreds of injured workers before the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims. We understand all the rules and know about all the maximum benefits you may be entitled to. We also have substantial experience with the Kentucky workers’ compensation claims process, so we can keep you informed about what to expect. We will do our utmost to make sure that you receive your benefits as soon as possible for your workplace injury or job-related illness. You can trust your experienced attorney to handle your claim in the best way possible, leaving you free to focus on recovering and going forward with your life.
Because there are strict deadlines for filing workers’ compensation claims and appeals, you should contact an experienced Isaacs & Isaacs attorney without delay. Call us now at 800-800-8888, or fill out our form for a free consultation with an experienced and highly capable Isaacs & Isaacs workers’ compensation lawyer. You don’t have to fight this battle alone.