Workers' Compensation Board
Since 1987 and pursuant to KRS 342.285, the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Board has been the first step in the appellate process in a workers’ compensation litigated claim. The three members of the board are appointed to four-year terms by the governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Board members must possess qualifications of Court of Appeals judges.
Beginning in 1994, statutory alterations obligated the board to render its opinion within 60 days of the filing of the last brief. The cases are randomly assigned to each board member to be the primary author of that opinion. In each opinion, unless it is necessary for a board member to recuse himself from the case, all three will participate in the decision.
From 1994 to present, approximately 65 percent to 72 percent of the decisions rendered by the Workers’ Compensation Board were appealed no further. In the years in which a higher percentage of appeals occur, it generally follows that many of these cases are addressing new law changes. Because of major changes in the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Act in 1994, 1996, 2000 and now with a significant change dealing with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, appeals addressing first-time issues have tended to increase.