Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Laws
Kentucky workers’ compensation laws require every employer with one or more employees to carry workers’ compensation coverage.1 Workers’ compensation insurance helps protect employees and businesses from the costs of a work-related injury or illness that occurs. If an employee is hurt or gets sick from a work-related cause, Kentucky workers’ comp helps pay for their medical treatment. If the employee is unable to return to work right away, this coverage can also help pay a portion of their lost wages during recovery. Workers’ comp also helps protect employers from lawsuits stemming from a work-related injury or illness.
Kentucky employers can buy workers’ compensation insurance in one of two ways. They can get it through a state fund or through a private insurance provider, like The Hartford.2
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage
Kentucky workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for nearly every employer in the state. Coverages may differ depending on the insurer. Workers’ comp typically helps cover:
- Medical costs
- Partial lost wages
- Disability benefits
- Death benefits
Workers’ compensation requirements in Kentucky state businesses with one or more employees need workers’ comp coverage. Workers’ compensation from The Hartford helps protect your business and employees from the costs of a work-related injury or illness that occurs.
Proof of coverage allows a business to prove it has workers’ comp coverage. This document is also known as a certificate of insurance. Every employer in Kentucky must display proof of coverage at their office. It should be posted anywhere employees go for payroll or personnel matters.3 Employers can easily get proof of coverage from The Hartford. Get a workers’ compensation quote and learn how you can get a certificate of insurance for your business.
What Workers’ Compensation in Kentucky Covers:
Kentucky workers’ compensation can help cover:
A work-related accident or injury. If an employee is hurt on the job, workers’ comp can help cover their treatment costs.
Illnesses caused by exposure to harmful chemicals or allergens in the workplace. The most common occupational disease in Kentucky is coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.4 This is also known as black lung. Workers’ comp can help cover your employee’s medical treatment costs needed to get healthy and return to work.
Repetitive stress injuries that occur from doing harmful motions or activities. Workers’ comp can help cover an employee’s medical expenses needed to treat a work-related repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Missed wages if an employee takes time off to recover from a work-related injury. Workers’ comp can help replace some of their lost wages until they can return to work.
Ongoing care needed to treat a work-related injury. This can include physical therapy or multiple surgeries. Workers’ comp can help cover an employee’s ongoing care costs.
Funeral costs if a worker loses their life while on the job. An employee’s family can also receive death benefits.
Disability, if a work-related injury or illness leaves an employee disabled. Employees can suffer a permanent partial disability, permanent total disability or temporary total disability. Workers’ comp can provide disability benefits to injured workers. For example, one of your employees that got hurt in a warehouse accident can receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Exemptions
Under Kentucky workers’ comp laws, certain employees are exempt from coverage, including:4
- Any person employed in agriculture
- Members of a religious sect or organization that oppose insurance benefits
- Domestic workers employed in a private home with less than two, regularly-employed employees
- Any person temporarily employed less than 20 days as a handy worker to do remodeling, maintenance, repair or similar work in a home
- Any person working in return for aid or sustenance for a religious or charitable organization
Waiving Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Employees can reject workers’ compensation coverage, according to Kentucky law. This is done by filing a Form 4 Waiver with the Department of Workers’ Claims. The waiver is effective until voluntarily withdrawn.5
If an employee waives coverage, they keep the right to sue their employer for a work-related injury or illness. The employee has to prove negligence or wrongdoing on the employer’s part. 6
Kentucky law prohibits employers from using Form 4 Waivers as a condition of employment. Waivers must be signed voluntarily by employees to be upheld. If an employer requires an employee to submit a Form 4 Waiver, the employer could be subject to civil penalties.7
What to Do if You Are Hurt on the Job
It’s the employee’s responsibility to report all injuries or illnesses immediately to their supervisor.8 Most employers have policies for reporting injuries. Following the process helps facilitate the payment of benefits.
Employees should report a repetitive injury or work-related illness as soon as they learn of it.
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Fee Schedule
The Department of Workers’ Claims puts fee schedules in place. The Kentucky Workers' Compensation Fee Schedule explains the amount providers can charge for services when treating a work-related injury or illness. Medical providers can't charge more than the amount in the fee schedule.
Time Limits for Filing Claims
Written claims for workers’ compensation benefits need to be filed with the Department of Workers’ Claims. Claims have to be filed within two years of the date of injury or last voluntary payment of disability benefits.9
For occupational diseases:
- Claims have to be filed within three years of a diagnosis or after symptoms first appear, whichever is earlier.
- The maximum period to file occupational disease claims is five years after the employee was last exposed to the cause of the disease.10
Workers’ Compensation Kentucky Questions
Who Chooses the Physician?
In Kentucky, an employee may choose their own physician. If an employer enters an authorized managed care program, employees have to select a physician from a list. Employees can change their physician choice once, no questions asked.11
Who Pays the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Although Kentucky has state-funded workers’ comp, the Department of Workers’ Claims doesn’t pay benefits. Employers are responsible for payment of benefits. This is usually done through an insurer, like The Hartford.
How are Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Rates Calculated?
The amount the employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance depends on different factors, including:12
- Industrial job classifications of the employer
- The amount of payroll
- Loss history
Having programs in place can help reduce the premium cost, such as:13
- Workplace safety practices
- Modified duty programs for injured employees
- Managed care programs
- Certified drug-free work plan
Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Claims
If there’s a dispute with workers’ comp claims, an employee can hire a lawyer and enter into an attorney-client relationship. These disputes are reviewed by administrative law judges. The judges can also review settlement agreements in the state. To file a claim in Kentucky, visit our workers’ comp claims page today.
This article provides general information, and should not be construed as specific legal, HR, financial, insurance, tax or accounting advice. As with all matters of a legal or human resources nature, you should consult with your own legal counsel and human resources professionals. The Hartford shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, punitive or exemplary damages in connection with the use by you or anyone of the information provided herein.
1, 2Commonwealth of Kentucky: Department of Workers’ Claims, “An Overview of Kentucky’s Workers’ Compensation Law”
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 Commonwealth of Kentucky: Department of Workers’ Claims, “Guidebook to Workers’ Compensation”