Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 4:52 am
Workers compensation in the state of Kentucky is a state-mandated, “no-fault” insurance system that pays benefits to workers injured on the job. It is managed by Kentucky’s Department of Workers’ Claims. Any employer who has at least one employee must acquire this coverage before the employee’s first day of work. In return for carrying a workers’ comp policy, employers receive immunity from civil lawsuits filed by employees over workplace injuries.
There are a few circumstances where employers can be exempt. For example, purely agricultural workers are not covered by Kentucky Workers’ Compensation. However, agricultural activities are narrowly defined – for example, harvesting crops is considered agricultural but repairing the roof on a barn is not. If you are not sure whether you fall into the agricultural exception, the attorneys at Lawrence & Associates can research the issue for you, for free.
Other exceptions to Kentucky’s Workers’ Compensation system, although less common, include solitary domestic workers in private homes, workers in a charitable or religious organization, and workers covered by another Federal Act such as the Jones Act for American seamen.
Am I an Employee?
Generally, if you are drawing a paycheck from an employer, you are either an employee or an independent contractor. Figuring out which category you fall under is more an art than a science.
Kentucky has a case called Ratliff v. Redmon that sets out the following factors to determine who is an employee:
(a) the extent of control which, by the agreement, the master (boss/employer)may exercise over the details of the work;
(b) whether or not the one employed is engaged in a distinct occupation or business (Do they have their own company?);
(c) the kind of occupation, with reference to whether, in the locality, the work is usually done under the direction of the employer or by a specialist without supervision;
(d) the skill required in the particular occupation;
(e) whether the employer of the workman supplies the instrumentalities, tools, and the place of work for the person doing the work;
(f) the length of time for which the person is employed;
(g) the method of payment, whether by the time or by the job;
(h) whether or not the work is a part of the regular business of the employer; and
(i) whether or not the parties believe they are creating the relationship of master and servant.
If you are confused, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Lawrence & Associates has litigated this issue on many occasions, and on each there are arguments for both sides. If you are not sure whether you qualify as an employee, give us a call and we’ll help you work your way through.
What Happens If I Fall Under an Exemption to Workers Compensation?
Although Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws allow businesses to choose to be exempt from providing workers’ comp insurance, an exempt employer must still provide benefits to an injured worker. These employers also remain exposed to civil lawsuits brought by employees who are injured during work. In addition, employers that fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance can be hit with severe civil penalties and fines.
If you or someone you know has been injured at work, contact Lawrence & Associates today! We’re Working Hard for the Working Class, and we can help!