State Likely Has Jurisdiction of Miner’s Cumulative Trauma Claims Even Though Miner Last Worked in Another State

In a coal miner injury case, a miner who had worked for a mining company in Kentucky from 1990 to 2009 was transferred to a mine owned by the same company in Virginia, where he worked for approximately six months before stopping work because of alleged cumulative trauma injuries.  The worker filed for workers’ compensation benefits in Kentucky but the ALJ held that Kentucky did not have jurisdiction of his claim because he ceased working while in Virginia.  On appeal, however, the Workers Compensation Board distinguished the injury that caused him to stop working from the aspects of the cumulative trauma injury that occurred while the employee worked in the Kentucky mine.  The Board stated that the applicable statute of limitations for the cumulative trauma injury for the Kentucky time period started from the time the employee was first diagnosed with a work-related cumulative trauma injury, not from the time he stopped working in Kentucky.  The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the Board’s reasoning.

Accordingly, employees who have worked in multiple states and are later diagnosed with a work-related cumulative trauma injury may still have the ability to bring claims in states where they previously worked where some of the alleged cumulative trauma occurred.

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