How to Know if Your Injury Qualifies for Workers’ Comp
When you've become injured at work, whether minor or severe, it's essential to understand which injuries are and are not covered by Kentucky's workers' compensation laws. Often referred to as "compensable injuries," KRS 342.0011 defines eligible injuries as "any work-related traumatic event or series of events, including cumulative trauma" that arises from your employment.
The law also outlines that these must be evidenced by medical findings, meaning that you must seek medical attention for these injuries.
Are Psychological Injuries and Diseases Compensable?
Depending on your line of work, psychological injuries may be common. For example, first responders have a 10% higher chance of developing mental health disorders like depression and PTSD compared to the general population. However, Kentucky law does not always permit these psychological injuries to be covered by workers' compensation. Under KRS 342.0011(1), "psychological, psychiatric, or stress-related change in the human organism" is not covered unless it directly results from a physical injury.
It's also important to note that the state's definition of an occupational disease is extensive. While the standard definition is simply a disease that arises out of employment, KRS 342.0011(3) defines it as one that:
- Has a causal connection between duties performed and the disease;
- Was a natural incident to the work and resulted from exposure due to the nature of employment;
- Can be traced to the employment as the proximate cause; AND
- Must appear to be related to a risk connected with employment.
Communicable diseases like the flu are not covered unless the nature of your employment increases the risk (like being in the healthcare industry). Natural effects of the aging process, however, often are not qualifying compensable injuries.
Common Examples of Compensable Injuries
Workplace injuries are unfortunately common, with a nonfatal incidence rate of 2.7 cases per every 100 full-time employees in the private sector. And while this incidence rate may vary between occupations, it's important to understand what injuries may qualify you for workers' compensation. Here are some of the most common workplace injuries:
- Sprains, strains, and fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
- Hearing or eyesight damage/loss
- Hip, knee, and back injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
This list is not exhaustive, and you may experience higher rates of injuries not listed depending on your work duties.
Making Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Although many people are hesitant to report their workplace accident and file a workers' compensation claim, it's important to take the time you need to heal and recover rather than leave it unreported and exacerbate the issue. While every claims process may look different, the same general steps apply:
- Report the injury to your employer (within a week maximum).
- Seek medical attention for your injuries.
- File an Application for Resolution of a Claim.
- Your claim will be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge.
- Attend a Benefit Review Conference to discuss your claim.
The Kentucky Labor Cabinet acknowledges that this process can be lengthy and complex. For that reason, individual employees who choose to forgo seeking legal representation are held to the same standards as those who hire an attorney to assist them.
Our Louisville Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help Your Recovery
Working with an experienced workers' compensation attorney during the claims process can only serve to benefit you. Not only will they help you better understand the necessary steps and evidence that needs to be gathered for your claim, but they can also be instrumental in appealing if your claim is denied.
Justice Law Office has been helping injured employees through the workers' compensation claims process for over a decade. Our team is committed to putting our clients and their needs first and will help you every step of the way. Schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys by calling (502) 822-2230 today.