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.
Employee has contracted COVID-19
KRS 342.0011(1) requires psychological, psychiatric, or stress-related claims to be a direct result of a "physical injury." In other words, Kentucky does not recognize mental-mental claims. There is no Kentucky case precedent holding that a disease condition constitutes a "physical injury." Therefore, contracting COVID-19, in and of itself, does not give rise to a psychological claim.
Kentucky courts have held in certain circumstances a “physically traumatic event” may give rise to a psychological claim. For example, the Court held a police officer who performed CPR on an individual he had just shot three times, which included skin contact with subject’s blood and body fluids, constituted a “physically traumatic event.”Richard E. Jacobs Group, Inc. v. White, 202 S.W.3d 24 (2006). A police officer who was physically assaulted by a knife wielding suspect suffered a “physically traumatic event.”Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government v. West, Ky., 52 S.W.3d 564 (2001).
Based on the foregoing, for a COVID-19 exposure or condition to give rise to a psychological claim, there must be an underlying “physical injury” (other than COVID-19), or a physically traumatic event. For example, intubating a patient, administering an IV or putting a patient on a respirator does not constitute a physical injury or a physically traumatic event, absent aggravating circumstances.
Employee is fearful of contracting COVID-19
Kentucky does not recognize mental-mental claims. For example, if an employee has an emotional reaction to job stress, absent a physical injury, there is no basis for a psychological claim. The fear of contracting COVID-19, in and of itself, would not give rise to a psychological claim.
Psychological claims associated with COVID-19 mandate a detailed, factual analysis of each and every claim. One key fact may change the outcome.
Jones Howard Law, PLLC will continue to provide COVID-19 updates regarding any significant developments associated with workers' compensation benefits and exposure. Should you have any questions or wish to discuss any of these matters personally, please contact one of our attorneys at your convenience.
H. Douglas Jones, Esq.
Mark W. Howard, Esq
Troy W. Skeens, Esq.
Margo J. Menefee, Esq.