Worker's failure to join second claim with first isn't fatal to claim
Case name: St. Joseph Hospital v. Frye, No. 2011-CA-001797-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 10/05/12).
Ruling: The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a worker's second claim against a hospital was not barred due to her failure to join it with an earlier claim.
What it means: In Kentucky, an injured worker is not required to join her second workers' compensation claim against an employer with a first claim when a hearing was already held on the first claim.
Summary: A worker for a hospital sustained a cervical injury from falling five feet from a dumpster platform, striking her head and chin on the lip of the dumpster. She filed a workers' compensation claim. After a hearing was conducted on the first claim, but before the decision was entered, the worker sustained a second work-related injury when she fell on a wet floor while carrying baked potatoes into the cafeteria. Kentucky law states that when a claim is pending, a worker should join all other claims against the employer. A failure to join all accrued causes of action with result in the claims being barred. The hospital argued that the second claim was barred. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the second claim was not barred.
The worker argued that the second injury occurred after proof was concluded and a hearing was conducted for the first claim, so it would be unfair to deny her the opportunity to pursue her second claim. The court did not find that the first claim was "pending" when the hearing already occurred. The court said that the worker's second injury occurred after her first claim was already concluded. Although the decision in the first claim had not yet been made, the worker was diligent in her efforts to get the second claim before the employer.
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January 7, 2013
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