Kentucky Workers’ Comp FAQ

Q: When should I contact an attorney to represent me on my work injury claim?

A: As soon as you are injured. The sooner you hire counsel, the easier the transition from injury to successful resolution of your claim will be.

Q: Can I recover pain and suffering for my workers' compensation case?

A: No. In workers' compensation cases, monetary damages are limited to your occupational disability. That disability is capped at two-thirds of your average weekly wage times your percentage of impairment as determined by utilizing the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

Q: If I file a workers' compensation claim, is my case decided by a jury?

A: No. Workers' compensation cases are administrative in nature and are decided by an administrative law judge. A workers' compensation claimant is not entitled to a jury trial.

Q: What is the procedure for filing a workers' compensation claim?

A: Your attorney, with your assistance, will fill out and file various forms. They will detail how your work injury occurred, whether notice was given, your body parts involved, as well as your chronological work history and medical history.

Once these forms are filed with the Department of Workers' Claims, a scheduling order is issued, which contains the name of the administrative law judge who will decide the case, the scheduled date of your benefit review conference and the deadlines for each party to submit evidence from their respective doctors to assist the administrative law judge in deciding the case.

Q: What is a benefit review conference?

A: A benefit review conference is a meeting scheduled with the administrative law judge and opposing counsel. The parties involved stipulate to agreed facts and issues and list the contested issues to be addressed at the final hearing and then decided by the judge in his/her opinion.

Q: How much will I receive while I am treating and recovering from my work injuries?

A: You will receive roughly two-thirds of your average weekly pay (referred to as temporary total disability).

Q: What is temporary total disability (TTD)?

A: Temporary total disability is the condition of an employee who has not reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) from an injury and has not reached a level of improvement that would permit a return to employment. This is the money you use to pay your bills while your case is pending and treatment administered for the cure or relief of your work injuries.

Q: What happens after my temporary benefits are cut off?

A: Once you reach MMI and/or return to work, your case will proceed to either a hearing or settlement. There are two types of awards you can receive:

1) Permanent partial disability, which is the condition of an employee and, due to an injury, has a permanent disability rating but retains the ability to work; or

2) Permanent total disability, which is the condition of an employee who due to his/her work injury has a complete and permanent inability to perform any type of work.

Q: How long can I receive benefits?

A: If you are permanently and totally disabled, under a new law in effect July 14, 2018, you can receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage up until 70 years of age. If you are less than 100 percent occupationally disabled, then you could either receive the workers' compensation benefits for 425 weeks from the date of your injury or 520 weeks if your permanent disability rating is greater than 50 percent.

Q: If I file a workers' compensation claim, will I lose my job?

A: No. You can still receive workers' compensation and work. If, however, due to your work injury, you are unable to return to work, your employer does not have to hold your job. In summary, there is a reasonable period after which you will need to be able to physically return to work or your employer, will fill your position. There is no right to work in Kentucky.

Q: How long do I have from the date of my injury to file a workers' compensation claim?

A: Two years from the date of injury or two years from the last payment of temporary total disability, whichever is longer.

Q: How much do I have to pay an attorney to handle a workers' compensation claim?

A: Your lawyer's fees are set by law. Your attorney does not get paid unless you do. The fees are 20 percent of the first $25,000 you recover, 15 percent of the next $25,000, and 10 percent of the remaining award you recover. Your fees, however, will never exceed more than $18,000.

Q: What kind of benefits, in addition to workers' compensation benefits (weekly, biweekly or lump sum cash award) am I entitled to?

A: In addition to a monetary award, you are entitled to payment of reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred for treatment to the body parts that were injured. You are also entitled to reimbursement for prescription drugs and round-trip mileage incurred for your treatment.

Additional questions? Reach out to the Richmond, Kentucky, attorneys at Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold today.