State News : Kentucky

NWCDN is a network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers’ compensation claims.

NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.  

Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.

Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.


JSB Attorneys, PLLC


Communicable disease cases require a very fact specific analysis. The definition of a compensable injury under Kentucky workers’ compensation law excludes communicable diseases “unless the risk of contracting the disease is increased by the nature of the employment.”[1] Unlike some other jurisdictions, in Kentucky the employee does not necessarily have to show the disease was contracted during employment.[2]  Communicable disease cases such as COVID-19 are compensable if the risk of acquiring the disease is greater for the employee than it is for the general public.[3]

Obviously the risk of contracting COVID-19 is higher for medical professionals and first responders than the public at large.[4] On March 13th, 2020, Kentucky Employers Mutual Insurance Co. (KEMI) acknowledged this heightened risk, and in addition to compensation for losses resulting from contracting COVID-19, announced it would also pay wage-replacement benefits for any first responder or employee in the medical field who is quarantined due to direct exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19.[5]

In other professions it will be more difficult for the employee to show the risk of contracting COVID-19 was higher due to his/her employment versus the risk to the general public. This is especially true the more widespread the disease becomes. Again this will be a very fact specific analysis conducted on a case by case basis.

In order to protect your business and employees it is extremely important to minimize the risk of COVID-19 by following any and all state or local orders, mandates and advisories. On March 25th, 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued an Executive Order closing all nonlife-sustaining businesses, except as needed to conduct Minimum Basic Operations, as defined in the order.[6] Certain enumerated businesses are permitted to remain open, but are required “to the extent practicable” to abide by the following:

1.    ensuring a distance of 6 feet between employees and customers;

2.    ensuring employees practice appropriate hygiene measures’ including regular, thorough hand washing or access to hand sanitizer;

3.    regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces;

4.    permitting employees to work from home where feasible; and

5.    identifying sick employees and asking them to leave the premises (strongly encouraged to offer paid leave).

In addition, public-facing businesses that remain open must post a flyer per Order of the Cabinet of Health and Human Services.[7]

The Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC) has cancelled in-person proceedings and relaxed the rules for taking remote depositions.[8] The DWC has also published guidance promoting the use of telehealth and telephysical therapy when appropriate for the treatment of workplace injuries and occupational disease.[9]

[1] KRS 342.0011(1)

[2]Dealers Transport Co. v. Thompson, 593 S.W.2d 84 (Ky. Ct. App. 1979)(death from pneumonia was compensable without showing infection was acquired at work because the dock worker was working out in cold damp conditions and more susceptible than the general population).

[3] Seeid.

[4] Covid-19 may also fall under the compensable category of “occupational disease” for those in the medical field. See KRS 342.0011(2)(a disease arising out of and in the course of employment). However, occupational disease cases require proof that the disease was actually caused by the employment. See KRS 342.0011(3).

[6] See Prior orders remain in effect and are listed as follows:

The Governor first issued an order declaring a state of emergency due to confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 6th, 2020. See  

On March 16th, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) banned on-site consumption of food and beverages. See

On March 17th, CHFS closed all public-facing businesses that could not comply with CDC distancing guidelines. See

On March 22nd, all non life-sustaining retail businesses were ordered to close (list of life-sustaining retail businesses included). See

[9] See (the injured worker may decline participation in telehealth treatment and medical payment obligors must reimburse providers for telehealth treatment provided.

Jones Howard Law, PLLC

H. Douglas Jones, Esq. –

Margaret J. Menefee, Esq. –