Western Kentucky Door v. Cross, No. 2012-CA-001101-WC (Ky. Ct. App. 03/01/13, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that a worker was entitled to benefits.
What it means: In Kentucky, an employer asserted that a worker was voluntarily intoxicated at the time of his injury must show that the injury was proximately caused primarily by voluntary intoxication.
A worker was disassembling part of a steel roof of a store when he fell 15 feet and landed on a concrete floor. He sustained extensive injuries, including injuries to his brain. He sought workers' compensation benefits. The employer agreed that he sustained work-related injuries in the course and scope of his employment due to the fall. The employer denied liability for paying workers' compensation benefits because it alleged that the worker was voluntarily intoxicated from marijuana. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the worker was entitled to benefits.
The court rejected the employer's argument that the worker was voluntarily intoxicated. The court said that it could speculate that the worker fell due to inadequate training and supervision, an underlying attending deficit disorder, intoxication, or his own negligence. However, speculation was not evidence. The worker's coworkers said that they witnessed nothing unusual about his behavior on the morning of the accident and nothing indicating that he was intoxicated. The laboratory test report from the hospital did not indicate whether he had enough cannabinoids in his system to impair his cognitive processes.
The court found that some medical treatment was not compensable because the medical services providers failed to submit a statement of services within 45 days. The providers failed to explain why the 45-day deadline was not met.
A concurring judge was "troubled" by the decision regarding the medical fee dispute, stating that the result was "harsh and unfortunate." The judge stated that considering the extent of the worker's injuries and the fact that his medical providers were located out-of-state, it was likely that the worker could have shown reasonable grounds to excuse the delay.
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June 24, 2013
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