How Does Workers Comp Work in KY?

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The workers’ compensation program is designed to provide financial compensation and medical treatment for workers who are injured on the job or who have contracted an occupational disease such as black lung. Fortunately, almost every employee in Kentucky is covered by workers compensation (certain significant exceptions exist, however). In Kentucky, workers’ compensation is administered by the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC).


Who is Covered?

All Kentucky employers, except for certain employers in the agriculture industry, must either carry workers’ compensation insurance or self-insure. This coverage requirement is very comprehensive – even an employer with a single part0time employee is subject to its obligations.

Who is Not Covered

The following workers are not covered by workers’ compensation:

  • Independent contractors;
  • Domestic workers such as maids;
  • Most volunteers; and
  • Federal employers (who are covered under federal statute).

Primary Benefits and Drawbacks of the Workers’ Compensation System

The primary Benefit of the workers’ compensation system is that you do not have to rove that your employer was at fault to win, unlike the case in most personal injury lawsuit. The primary drawback is that you are ineligible for pain and suffering damages, which often amount of more than half of the total value of an ordinary personal injury claim.

Kentucky, however, provides its workers with one major benefit that workers in most other states lack – the ability to waive workers’ compensation coverage by filing a form, with the DWC that will allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit instead of a worker’s compensation claim. This might make sense if, for example, your pain and suffering was extensive, and if you anticipate that it will be easy to prove that your employer was at fault.

Filing a Claim

To file a claim, you must:

  • Report your injury or disease as soon as you learn of it, or as soon as you learn that it was work-related;
  • Fill out the necessary paperwork (your employer should provide it to you) and submit it to the DWC. The necessary forms are available on the DWC website; and
  • Include in your claim documentation (i) a medical report from your doctor detailing your injury or illness and describing why it was work-related, and (ii) documentation of your wages at the time of your injury or illness.


Three main categories of benefits are available:

  • Temporary disability payments, which represent a portion of your salary for time spent off work due to your condition;
  • Medical expenses; and
  • Permanent disability, similar to temporary disability, but awarded for a longer duration in case you suffer from a lingering disability.

Take Prompt Action for Best Results

Most people with significant workers’ compensation claims are assisted by an attorney, and most of these people receive more favorable results than claimants who represent themselves. If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, contact Kentucky `workers’ compensation lawyer Glenn Martin Hammond for a consultation, by calling (606) 437-7777 or by filling out our online contact form. We serve clients throughout the state of Kentucky.

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