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Kentucky Workers' Compensation Laws

Kentucky is home to some of the world's fastest horses and most-coveted whiskeys, creating a booming tourism industry. If you are an employee in Kentucky, you know that the Bluegrass State is also home to burgeoning entrepreneurs. Whether you work in tech, at the track, or in a distillery, Kentucky's workers' compensation laws entitle you to medical benefits and wage compensation if you are injured at work.

The table and accompanying information below summarize important components of Kentucky's workers' comp laws.

Statute Section

KRS Chapter 342

Time Limits


  • Notice to employer: As soon as practical
  • File a claim: 2 years

Time Limits


  • Waiting period for compensation: 7 days
  • Duration of Disability for payment for first week: More than 2 weeks

Exempt Employee Voluntary Acceptance


  • Yes

Wage Replacement Compensation Subject to Maximum


  • Weekly Amounts: Yes
  • Number of Weeks: No

Mental Injury Coverage


  • Only when directly resulting from a physical injury

Choice of Doctor


  • In some cases, yes


Kentucky's workers' comp program is unique with respect to its breadth of coverage. While the typical groups are exempt from coverage -- including agricultural employees, some domestic workers, employees covered by federal acts, and certain religious organizations -- all employees may voluntarily accept coverage under the workers' comp program. However, the injuries and occupational diseases compensable are limited to physical injuries and mental injuries which directly result from those physical injuries. This means that if you suffered a heart attack during a performance review, that injury may be covered.

In contrast, if -- after your performance review -- you suffer a debilitating panic attack every time you see your supervisor and you proceed to seek psychiatric treatment, it is highly unlikely that it would be covered.


If you suffer from coal  workers' pneumoconiosis, Kentucky offers special benefits for income replacement and retraining. As far as other injuries are concerned, Kentucky offers payment for medical care and wage replacement. Wage replacement is equal to 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wages, subject to the state imposed maximums. If your employer does not use a managed care plan, you may choose your own physician by completing and returning the Notice of Designated Physician form within ten days of your employer giving you the form. If you are entitled to permanent partial disability benefits, the Permanent Partial Disability Benefit Calculator is available to help you calculate the amount.

Dispute Resolution

If your claim is denied, you may apply for a resolution of your injury claim by the Department of Workers' Claims. If you disagree with the ruling, you may file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the Administrative Law Judge's opinion or final order. If you are the one filing the appeal, check to make sure that your brief complies with this checklist. If your employer filed the appeal, make sure that your brief complies with this checklist for respondents. Mediation is also available. Whether you choose a traditional hearing or alternative dispute resolution, you may wish to retain an attorney.

Learn How Kentucky Workers' Compensation Laws Apply to You: Speak to a Lawyer

Between lost wages and bills for medical treatment, work-related injuries can get expensive. Fortunately for you, employers in Kentucky are required to provide you with the option to elect to be covered by workers' compensation insurance. Even once you have established that you are covered, claiming your benefits can be a confusing process. If you were injured at work and want to know your right to workers' compensation benefis, it's best to speak to a skilled personal injury attorney in Kentucky who can not only explain your rights, but also help you file a claim for workers' comp benefits.

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