Workplace Injury Attorney Serving Ashland & Paintsville
After an injury in the workplace, you are entitled to a certain level of service. However, not all employees or employers understand what they are entitled to receive or the options open to them. Most of these difficulties can be resolved by understanding the workers’ compensation system.
In Kentucky, workers’ compensation covers all individuals, except for those engaged in a specific set of trades. The employee gives up the right to sue an employer for on-site injuries, and the individual is guaranteed adequate coverage for occupational health concerns. Those not covered by workers’ compensation are not eligible to receive benefits under state or federal law. But they may sue if their employers’ negligence causes injuries.
Kentucky laborers have to deliberately waive their rights to workers’ comp. This must be their decision alone. An employer cannot make their employees waive workers’ compensation as a prerequisite for hiring. If the waiver is forced, the agreement is not legally binding.
Workers’ comp covers any workplace injury, but one caused by an outside party can be a special case. The third-party may be liable for additional damages. This is the only exception to a covered employee’s automatic waiver of the right to sue another individual because of a workplace injury.
Workers compensation is free to all employees and provides:
- Temporary pay while recovering from workplace injuries like slip & fall, burn injury, or spinal cord injuries.
- Access to necessary treatments for these injuries without making a co-payment.
- A choice of doctors to treat workplace injuries without their employer’s input.
- To change this doctor once, with no questions from their employer.
- Compensation for travel expenses related to the treatment of their workplace illness or injury.
- Retraining if they are unable to return to their job.
- To file a claim for permanent disability benefits up to two years after the injury or temporary benefits are discontinued.
If your employer violates any of these rights, you are eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim.
Restrictions on Injuries and Illnesses
Injuries that occur while performing a work related task during normal business hours are covered by workers’ comp. If your injury occurs outside of these parameters, be prepared for questions. Usually injuries that result from roughhousing, intoxication, or that happen on the way to or from work are not covered by workers’ comp.
Furthermore, most illnesses are not covered by workers’ compensation – only those that have a heightened risk due to working conditions. In Kentucky, the most common of these illnesses is “black lung,” or “coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.” Like other occupational illnesses, CWP is caused by the work environment itself and develops over a period of time. When an illness is covered by workers’ comp, there are restrictions on how the illness can be diagnosed. In the case of CWP, it has to be diagnosed from x-rays by a physician licensed to identify black lung.
Workers’ compensation claims have to be filed within a specific time frame. For injuries, this is two years after the event or payment of disability benefits. Illness claims must be filed within three years of the symptoms showing or diagnosis; whichever comes first. For most, this must be no more than five years after the employee was last exposed to the conditions responsible for the disease. The only exceptions are AIDS and diseases resulting from asbestos or radiation exposure.
Filing a worker’s compensation claim can be a daunting task, but you do not have to go through the process alone. Salyer Law has expert knowledge of the workers’ compensation process and will put it at your disposal. We will help you reach the best resolution for your case, whether that involves taking it all the way to court or helping you and your employer understand your rights and coming to an equitable agreement. Contact our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation.