Permanent Disability Attorneys in Lexington, Kentucky
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that protects employees from workplace injuries and illnesses in the sense that their medical expenses and related losses due to time off from work will be covered without the need for a lawsuit. In return, employers are protected against legal action.
All states except Texas now mandate that most private employers provide workers’ compensation insurance, either by purchasing it from an insurance provider or by self-insuring.
Wisconsin was the first state to adopt a workers’ compensation mandate in 1911, followed by nine other states in the same year.
In the next decade, 36 other states joined the movement. Mississippi was the final state to enact workers’ compensation legislation in 1948. Texas is still the only state that makes workers’ compensation optional.
Workers’ compensation not only provides coverage for short-term injuries or illnesses resulting from workplace accidents or conditions, but it also is designed to cover workers who suffer permanent disabilities, whether total or partial.
If you or a loved one has been injured or fallen ill on a job because of workplace conditions or an accident, and you need to explore all your options for receiving workers’ compensation in or around Lexington, Kentucky, contact us at Wilson & McQueen, PLLC.
Our legal team of workers’ compensation attorneys has decades of experience in helping workers who are injured or exposed to toxic chemicals and fallen ill to recover the just compensation due them. Reach out immediately. We also proudly serve clients in areas surrounding Lexington, including London, Georgetown, Richmond, and Nicholasville.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Kentucky
Employers must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees in almost all situations. The few exceptions are for agricultural workers, domestic servants, true independent contractors, persons working less than 20 days at another’s home, and some charitable workers.
When an employee is injured at work or falls ill due to workplace conditions such as toxic chemicals, that person is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This includes medical expenses and lost wages.
However, there is a seven-day waiting period before being paid for lost wages, and you must be out of the workforce for 14 days to collect for the seven-day waiting period. Wages are also generally paid at two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a cap set by the state.
What if You’re Permanently Disabled?
The workers’ compensation program has two avenues for compensation if your injury or illness becomes permanent. These are called Permanent Total Disability (PTD) and Permanent Partial Disability (PPD).
For a permanent disability determination to be made, it generally depends on your physician’s declaring that you’ve reached the level of maximum medical improvement (MMI), meaning you will not improve further from your impairment or illness no matter what medical science can do. This physical state is also sometimes called “permanent and stationary.”
Of course, the workers’ compensation insurance provider will likely order an independent medical examination (IME) to verify whether your physician’s assessment is accurate. Take the word “independent” lightly, however. These medical examiners are being paid by the parent insurance company, and thus the result of the exam will often be insurer-friendly.
Differences Between Total and Partial Disability
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) means you’ve reached the point of maximum medical improvement, and you have a permanent impairment as a result of workplace conditions or an accident. You may eventually be able to return to work, and you will be entitled to benefits, including compensation, until you can do so—up to a limit.
PPD benefits are generally paid out over 425 weeks, though that can be sometimes extended to 520 weeks. The benefits end at age 70 regardless of how many weeks are left. Medical expenses will be covered, and compensation will be based upon two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW), or two-thirds of the state’s average weekly wage, whichever is lower.
The key determinant for PPD is that you may eventually be able to return to work. However, if you are unable to return to the same type of work you were doing previously while making the same amount of money, your PPD award can be increased.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) also hinges on a determination of maximum medical improvement, but in this case, the consequences of the work injury or illness are so extreme that you can no longer keep your former job or get a new one.
Benefits include medical expenses and compensation equal to two-thirds of your AWW, just as with PPD, but other factors can weigh in, including what is called an impairment rating assigned by a medical expert, along with the worker’s age and educational level.
Benefits generally end at age 70. You can also opt for a lump-sum payment to invest, put in an interest-bearing account, buy life insurance for your loved ones, or even open a family business. Your age and life expectancy can help determine whether a lump sum is preferable.
Permanent Disability Attorneys Serving Lexington, Kentucky
In Lexington and surrounding areas, rely on the workers’ compensation attorneys at Wilson & McQueen, PLLC to help you assemble the supporting documents for your claim and then answer the questions and challenges by the insurer and their representatives. If you’re facing any permanent disability, we stand ready to fight for your rights to full benefits. Don’t go it alone, but reach out immediately.