What Changes Are Coming To Kentucky's Workers' Compensation Laws?

Posted on: 4 April 2018

If you're injured on the job in Kentucky and aren't a farm or agricultural employee, you'll likely be eligible for workers' compensation benefits through your employer. These benefits are designed to provide you with a source of income during the time you're unable to work and also cover the medical expenses you wouldn't have incurred but for your on-the-job injury. If your injury is of the career-ending type, workers' compensation benefits can eventually turn into partial or total disability payments, but the length of time you're eligible to receive these types of benefits could soon be subject to change. Read on to learn more about the Kentucky workers' compensation bill that is now awaiting the governor's signature. 

What Does This Bill Accomplish?

Kentucky's House Bill 2 just passed the House of Representatives on its way to the governor. This bill limits the time period workers' compensation insurers are required to make medical payments for specific "permanent partial disabilities." If Governor Bevin signs this bill into law, injured workers will only be able to claim medical expense payments for 780 weeks (or 15 years) after the injury, even if they're still dealing with healthcare costs related to the injury. 

In addition to this limitation on permanent injury payments, House Bill 2 limits employers' exposure to drug screen costs. If you're required to take regular drug screens as a condition of your continued receipt of workers' compensation benefits, you may be required to pay for these screens out of pocket. This extra monitoring is designed to stem the trend of over-prescribing opioids to injured workers, which can often lead to long-term addiction problems.

In exchange, you'll be eligible for higher maximum compensation rates if you're receiving temporary total disability, permanent total disability, or permanent partial disability payments. 

How May This Bill Impact Kentucky Workers' Compensation Recipients?

If you're a Kentucky worker who is currently receiving workers' compensation benefits, your eligibility for these benefits won't change, but the amount you receive (and the length of time you're eligible to receive benefits) may change. Once this bill is enacted and employers are provided with more information about its specific impact, it can be a good idea to consult with a workers' compensation attorney. This bill is intended to stabilize employers' and insurers' costs, not to harm injured workers, so it's important to make sure you have someone else advocating for your rights under Kentucky law.

Talk to a workers compensation attorney for more information.