How Fault Affects Workers’ Compensation
One of the most common reasons workplace injuries go unreported is that a worker assumes they will not be eligible for workers’ compensation if they were partially or completely at fault for their accident. In Kentucky, this assumption may not always be accurate since the state observes what is known as a “no-fault” system.
What Does “No-Fault” Mean for Workers’ Comp?
As a no-fault workers’ compensation state, Kentucky typically allows these benefits to be obtained by injured employees or families of the deceased simply if it “arose out of or in the course of employment.” However, this does not mean that every injury is compensable, as the following exclusions may still apply under this system:
When a worker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their injury, they may not always be eligible for workers’ compensation. As a defense, the employer has to prove:
- The employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury.
- The influence of drugs or alcohol significantly impacted the cause of the injury.
In simplest terms, the intoxication must be the cause of the injury, rather than be incidental to it. However, if there are “illegal, nonprescribed” substances present in the workers’ system that are in excess of prescribed amounts that could cause a physical or mental disturbance (intoxication), it may give rise to a presumption that the intoxication was the cause of the injury. In that case, benefits may not be recoverable.
Assault is often regarded as an intentional act. Because of this, it may not always be considered a compensable injury and the worker will have to prove that there is a connection between the assault and their job. One of the most common examples of compensable assault is when nursing home workers experience physical violence from patients. Since the assault is directly linked to their work duties, these are largely compensable.
Intentional Failure to Use Safety Equipment
While this may not always be the case, workers who intentionally disobey safety rules and misuse equipment may reduce their workers’ compensation benefits by 15%. However, these safety regulations must also be actively enforced by the employer at the time of the injury.
To better understand if the situation that resulted in your injury has negatively impacted your eligibility, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today to discuss your case.
Workers’ Compensation Questions? We Can Help.
Justice Law Office is here to provide you with guidance following a workplace accident. If you have questions about your eligibility or your claim was recently denied, we can help you. Schedule a free consultation with a member of our team by calling (502) 822-2230.