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Kentucky: Hearing Impairment Limitation Ruled Unconstitutional

March 30, 2018 (1 min read)

A Kentucky statute, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 342.7305(2), which provides workers’ compensation benefits for occupational hearing loss only where a claimant’s binaural hearing impairment, converted to impairment of the whole person, results in impairment of more than eight percent pursuant to the AMA Guides, is unconstitutional, said the Court of Appeals of Kentucky. The Court saw no rational basis or substantial and justifiable reason for the disparate treatment of workers seeking PPD income benefits for occupational hearing loss resulting from traumatic ear injuries. The Court reasoned that traumatic injuries involving the ear were in all relevant and consequential respects the same as any other traumatic injury involving other organs, body parts and systems. Yet, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 342.7305(2) imposed a much higher impairment rating threshold on hearing loss claimants than Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 342.730(1)(b) and (c) required of all other traumatic injury claimants. The arbitrary difference in statutory treatment of similarly situated traumatic injury claimants violated the equal protection guarantees of the Federal and Kentucky Constitutions.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Napier v. Enterprise Mining Co., 2018 Ky. App. LEXIS 108 (Mar. 23, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 52.05.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law