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.
First ALJ Opinion on COVID-19
Perkins v. North American Stainless, (WC 2021-01615)
Employee Perkins was a mechanical maintenance shift technician working 12-hour shifts in close proximity to his crew partner, Springer. Perkins contracted COVID-19 and died. His widow, Megan Perkins alleged he caught COVID-19 from Springer at work on 8/8/21.
Springer testified that Perkins had been to a party on 8/7/21 at Parkers’ house. Springer had been to the outdoor races earlier in the day but did not go to the party. The two were off on 8/9/21 and 8/10/21 and Springer testified that during their shift on 8/11/21, Perkins was not feeling well and complained of sinus issues. Another employee testified to same.
On 8/13/21, Perkins texted Springer that his wife had pneumonia and he didn’t want to go to doctor and was taking Aleve D. Springer developed sinus pressure on 8/14/21 and tested positive for COVID on 8/15/21, texting his results to Perkins. Perkins texted Springer on 8/16/21 that he was also positive, stating: “I bet we got it from parkers. meg said him and all kinds of people are sick from down there…wonder if we should tell hr that so they don’t think we have it at work cause she was down there too.”
Megan denied that he or she went to a party at Parker’s house. She testified that Perkins, herself, her three children, and her mother all lived together. All three children played outdoor soccer and attended public school. She and Perkins ate out in Louisville on 8/4/21 for their anniversary and went to breakfast on 8/11/21. She did not recall Perkin’s having any symptoms until he told her he was feeling sick on 8/15/21. They went to the hospital, and both tested positive for COVID. She had been having sinus issues for three weeks and frequently had infections due to a deviated septum. All three children tested positive after 8/15/21.
Perkin’s doctor stated that his COVID symptoms were consistent with exposure at work on 8/8/21 but he could not say for sure that his exposure was from work. The employer’s expert determined there was no way to know for certain how and where Perkins contracted COVID, but he and his wife likely contracted it at the same time since they were symptomatic at the same time and hospitalized at the same time and that their children were the most likely source. He further testified that Springer likely contracted COVID from Perkins since Perkins had symptoms several days before Springer.
The ALJ held that Perkins did not prove a workplace injury arising out of employment. He failed to prove an occupational disease since COVID is not “incidental to the character of the business” which is manufacturing steel. Furthermore, Perkins did not prove that the COVID was caused by a work exposure. Perkins had a communicable disease but failed to prove he was at a greater risk than the general public of contracting the communicable disease due to his employment, and therefore the claim is barred.
Coming and Going Rule and Traveling Employee Exception
Com. Of Kentucky, Personnel Cabinet v. Timmons (2021-SC-0271-WC)
Timmons worked in the office daily but was also required to conduct occasional home visits and off-site trainings. While leaving her home to conduct a training at a nearby church, she fell on the front steps. The Commonwealth contested the work-relatedness of the claim arguing for application of the coming and going rule. Timmons argued that the travelling-employee exception to the going and coming rule applied.
The ALJ determined the injury was not work-related and the travelling-employee exception did not apply. The Workers’ Compensation Board reversed finding the travelling-employee exception applicable and the Court of Appeals agreed. The Supreme Court of Kentucky reversed the Court of Appeals, determining that the traveling employee exception to the coming and going rule does not apply until the travelling employee leaves their property, exposing themselves to the common risks of the public street.
2023 Workers’ Compensation Benefit Schedule
The 2023 Benefit Schedule has been published by the Department of Workers’ Claims and can be found here:
2023 Discount Rate Order and Tables
The Discount Rate Order and Tables can be found here:
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