Workers’ compensation insurance protects Kentucky workers who suffer injuries in the workplace. These benefits replace lost wages and pay the medical expenses that recovering workers accumulate. But before workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits, the presence of a work-related injury must first be established.
Defining a work-related injury
Any physical or mental injury resulting directly from performing job duties is a work-related injury for workers’ comp insurance programs. Experts commonly break these injuries down into three categories: physical injuries, repetitive stress injuries and occupational illnesses.
The symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome and other debilitating mental distress also constitute a work-related injury when they result from an event that takes place at work. An important note is that these mental injuries cannot result from stress caused by factors such as write-ups or negative performance evaluations.
Workers’ compensation protections cover injuries that happen in the workplace or any other location at which workers perform duties for their employer. This protection includes workers traveling in company vehicles as well as workers attending company events.
A professional medical opinion may be the best evidence a worker can provide for a work-related injury. Medical records will indicate what injuries a worker sustained and detail the extent of those injuries. A medical professional will also show the links between an injury and the conditions at work responsible for it.
The statements of any witnesses to an accident are also strong evidence of a work-related injury. A strong witness will attest that the accident took place and the injured worker was performing his or her job duties at the time. Other witnesses may include coworkers who have experienced similar conditions. Other potential proof of a work-related injury can include footage from a surveillance camera and the results of an investigation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Proving the existence of a work-related injury is an essential part of the workers’ compensation claims process. Individuals who suffer an injury in the workplace and are uncertain of what to do next may benefit from the help of an attorney familiar with the workers’ comp process.