Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Benefits: How to Apply

Kentucky Workers' Compensation article image

State law controls how the Kentucky workers’ compensation process works, unless you’re a federal employee. Learn whether you have coverage and the steps to apply for Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits below. We also share an interactive chart showing how the Kentucky workers’ compensation program changed from 2014-2018.



Which Employers Must Provide Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage?

State law requires Kentucky workers’ compensation coverage for all businesses in this state with at least one employee. Sole proprietors, LLC members or partners may opt into this coverage, but it’s not mandatory for those specific employees. Other exceptions under Kentucky state law include:

  • Federal employees (i.e., postal carriers) and railroad workers
  • Agricultural workers
  • Domestic workers employed in a private residence (unless there are more than two of them working in the home full-time)
  • Religious or charitable organization employees that receive aid or sustenance in exchange for their services
  • Anyone whose injuries result from intentional self-harm, or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the incident occurs

Which Employers Must Provide Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage?

According to the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC), follow these steps to apply for workers’ comp benefits:

  1. Report your workplace accident to your supervisor right away (and in writing, if possible). Mention the time, date, place, any witnesses who saw it happen and describe the accident that injured you. You must file a written claim within two years of your accident date to qualify for Kentucky workers’ compensation. You have three years to claim workers’ comp for any occupational illness.
  2. Choose a doctor and seek medical care immediately. If you don’t like the first healthcare provider you see, you can change doctors once with no questions asked. After that, you cannot choose a different treating physician without authorization from your employer’s insurance provider. Always tell the doctor you see that your injury or illness is work-related before treatment begins.
  3. If you don’t have a Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer handling your claim, file a paper application by mail. Download the form you need to print at home from the Kentucky Department of Labor’s website.
  4. Your employer’s insurance provider must then approve or deny your claim within 45 days of your filing date. You or your attorney should get a Notice of Claim Denial or Acceptance in the mail.
  5. You have 30 days to appeal your claim’s denial with the DWC. The DWC then assigns an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to review your case. If you’re unhappy with the ALJ’s ruling, you can file another appeal within 30 days or request mediation.

Every Kentucky workers’ compensation case is unique, and your process may vary slightly from the steps shown above.

Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2014-2018

The annual Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report lists workers’ compensation program data for most U.S. states. This report includes total claims filed by job sector, days missed, employees that transferred to new positions or given work restrictions, etc. Our interactive chart below shows how the Kentucky workers’ compensation program changed between 2014 and 2018:

The biggest change we noted was the 9% drop in total claims filed between 2014 and 2017. In most years, service-industry workers file anywhere from 53%-57% of claims, which also peaked in 2017. Each year, just over half of all workplace injuries and illnesses qualified for Kentucky workers’ compensation lost wage benefits. You must miss at least a week of work before those benefits begin, shown tracked the red line above. All other Kentucky workers’ compensation claims only cover medical expenses incurred from on-the-job injuries and illnesses.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

Based on the language on Kentucky’s website, we strongly recommend having a workers’ comp attorney handle your claim. On the “injured workers” page, it says: “Due to the complexity of the claims process, most injured workers hire an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim for them. Nevertheless, employees may choose to represent themselves, but they will be held to the same standards as attorneys who present workers’ compensation claims.” There are no clear instructions, FAQs, pamphlets or links to get free help from the state with your claim. We can match you with a qualified Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer today in our network for a free, no-obligation consultation. Legal assistance is the fastest, easiest way for you to get paid the most workers’ comp benefits your injury deserves.

Since these lawyers work on contingency, you’ll owe $0 unless you win a cash settlement. And if your case wins, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee, according to state law.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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