Episode 2: Jeff Roberts has over 25 years of experience helping clients to file for and receive Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits. We’ll explore the workers’ comp system, benefits and other information, in this episode. Jeff handles cases all over the Western Kentucky region.
Qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits
Generally, this is an injury, occupational disease and/or occupational hearing loss. All three can qualify for benefits. Let’s focus on the physical injuries, since they are the major of the cases he sees.
You need to notify your employer, within a reasonable amount of time. A co-worker can give notice on your behalf. Generally, notification needs to go to someone above you in the food chain. Some companies may have local policies regarding notification to a specific department or using a specific form. The law states you simply need to give notification.
Some companies may try to require you to see a specific doctor or medical provider. However, Kentucky law allows the injured employee to decide where to get treated and which medical professional to see. The “company doctor” may try to get you to return to work before you’re fully healed. Employers may be more focused on containing cost, rather than taking care of you. The caveat is a company with a managed care plan. There will still be a group of doctors and providers inside the plan. This is the exception to the rule.
If you feel you need medical treatment, then you should seek treatment. It’s probably a good step to see your family doctor, if possible. That person may already have a relationship with you and will be focus on your care.
The 5 Benefits of Kentucky Workers’ Compensation
Medical Benefits – The employer and its insurance carrier is responsible for all reasonable and necessary treatment related to your workplace injury. This goes beyond the initial treatment. You may qualify for lifetime treatment.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – The money you will receive, while you’re off work as a result of your injury. The rate is a percentage of your average weekly wage. There is a cap on TTD benefits in Kentucky. Jeff will work to ensure the amount has been properly calculated. The insurance carrier can get this wrong, resulting in lower TTD payments. The carrier will also be responsible for any underpayment (e.g. “back pay”). Once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), TTD payments stop and permanent disability benefits come into play.
Temporary Partial Disability – Money you receive if you can return to work, but are unable to go back to your original 40-hour job with a light-duty restriction, because a position isn’t available. For instance, if the only job you can return to is a 20-hour week job, temporary partial disability will make up the difference between this and the actual TTD rate.
Permanent Disability Benefits – Once you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), according to your doctor(s), your TTD and Temporary Partial Disability will end. It can take months or years to reach MMI. Now, you will be classified with either a Permanent Partial Disability or a Permanent Total Disability (completely unable to work).
Permanent partial disability includes an impairment rating (assigned by the doctor). This qualifies you for a payment based on a number of factors. Even if you return to the exact same job, you may still qualify because your expected work-life may be reduced by your injury.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits – This benefit may be available if the workers’ compensation judge feels you could benefit from retraining. This can help you enter another field of work.
Another Source of Benefits
Jeff also handles Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Depending on your situation, you may be able to file for both workers’ compensation and social security disability. The standards are different, but both can provide addition funds to help you pay your bills.
For more information, visit www.JeffRobertsLaw.com. This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice. Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson. This is an advertisement.