Worker’s compensation was designed to provide medical benefits and wage replacement for those injured while employed. It is also designed to protect workers from diseases developed or contracted due to workplace exposure.
Every employer is responsible for providing Work comp Insurance, or to become self-insured. Certain employees, however, are exempt from this coverage, including: agricultural employees/employers, domestic workers, some religious organizations, and those who voluntarily reject the coverage.
While every employer is responsible for providing coverage, there are certain limitations and rights specific to each state.
Worker’s Comp Coverage in Kentucky
In Kentucky, worker’s compensation is understood as the “exclusive remedy,” which means that the protection received for any sustained injuries forces employees to surrender their right to sue. Employers cannot be penalized by employees in a civil court case. Benefits received can include:
Partial wage replacement
Medical treatment coverage, and
Payment for restoring an injured worker to sufficient employment.
In the case of a death-related injury, employers pay a lump sum towards the employee’s estate allowing burial expenses to be paid. This payment amount changes annually, however income benefits are given to the spouse, as well as other surviving dependents.
Because Worker’s Compensation can be a disagreeable subject, many disputes are resolved during a compromise settlement involving both parties. If a solution is not determined, parties will have to litigate the claim through a process beginning with an application of claim adjustment, filed under the Department of Worker’s Claims. Once this paperwork is complete, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), is assigned to the case to facilitate a benefit review conference.
During the benefit review conference, both parties have the opportunity to discuss the positives and negatives of the case, while working towards a settlement. If the claim does not reach a settlement, a formal hearing will be scheduled within 30 days by the Administrative Law Judge.
After the hearing, a decision must be released within 60 days, either awarding or denying medical benefits or income assistance. The solution may include rehabilitation benefits, if necessary. Through this process, the outcome is determined with the help of witnesses and medical professionals.
As a result, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is unable to require the employer to pay for income benefits in a lump sum. If any party disagrees with the decision, he or she may file an appeal. This goes through the ALJ once again, and if it is appealed further, it may go to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and finally to the Supreme Court.
In Kentucky, worker’s compensation insurance coverage is issued to every employee in order to remain on the job, and to assist with any work-related medical expenses. For business owners interested in purchasing workers comp insurance, certain agents specialize in offering this product.