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Kentucky workers’ compensation can apply to out-of-state injuries

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2023 | Workers’ Compensation

You might frequently travel out of state as part of your job duties, or perhaps you split your time at work between two of your employer’s worksites, one in Kentucky and one in another state.

Work outside of Kentucky, just like work within Kentucky, presents job hazards and you could be injured while traveling out of state for job purposes or working for your Kentucky employer in another state. If this happens, are you still covered by Kentucky workers’ compensation laws?

Workers’ compensation and out-of-state injuries

Under Kentucky Revised Statutes section 342.670(1), if an employee is working in another state and is injured on the job, they may still apply for Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits if they would have qualified for benefits had the injury occurred in Kentucky.

This means the employee must meet several factors at the time of the injury. First, the employee’s job must be either principally localized in Kentucky or not principally localized in any state. Alternatively, Kentucky workers’ compensation laws will cover the employee if the workers’ compensation laws in the state where the injury occurred do not apply to the employee’s employer.

What does “principally localized” mean?

To better understand these factors, it is important to understand what the phrase “principally localized” means.

An employee’s job is principally localized in Kentucky if their employer has a physical location in the state and the employee regularly works out of that location. Alternatively, an employee’s job is principally localized in Kentucky if the employee lives in Kentucky and spends most of their time on the job for their employer in Kentucky.

What about those who frequently travel between work sites, one in Kentucky and one in a different state? Their job is principally located in Kentucky as long as the travel the employee does is for work purposes and, per a written employment contract, the employer states that the job is principally localized in Kentucky.

The plus side of workers’ compensation benefits

Kentucky workers’ compensation laws benefit both employees and employers. Employees are compensated for on-the-job injuries that they suffer, either in Kentucky or likely in another state. Employers in Kentucky are protected from lawsuits brought by employees who were injured on the job. It is a way to ensure that workers have the financial means to recover from injuries and return to work, for their benefit and that of their employer.