Kentucky workers compensation benefits may be doubled where employment ceases due to the disk enabling effects of previous work-related injuries as well as the injury being compensated, according to a ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court in Hogston v. Bell South Communications, No. 2010-SC-299-WC (November 18, 2010).
Chester Hogston work as a lineman for BellSouth. He suffered a work injury to his right knee in the 1980s and to his left knee in 1997. In January 2006, he again sustained a work injury to his right knee.
Dr. Shockey surgically repaired right knee in March 2006 and assigned a 4% permanent impairment rating. After later unrelated surgeries, Dr. Shockey assigned a 10% impairment rating and imposed restrictions related to Hogston's left, which also later required surgery. Hogston's restrictions were because of his left knee and they eventually required him to leave his job with BellSouth.
Hogston's workers compensation claim arose from the January 2006 injury to his right knee in the 4% impairment rating assigned by Dr. Shockey. He claims that he is Kentucky workers compensation benefits should be doubled pursuant to KRS 342.730(1)(c)(2). The court noted that Dr. Shockey's testimony linked the reason for termination of Hogston's employment to a work-related disability. The Court ruled that "KRS 342.730(1)(c)(2) includes a cessation of employment due to the disk enabling effects of previous work-related injuries as well as the injury being compensated." Therefore, the Court directed that in order be entered doubling the Kentucky workers compensation benefits recoverable by Hogston.