The widow of a sheriff's deputy who died after surgery related to his workplace injury a decade earlier is entitled to benefits but not a one-time payment under state law, the Kentucky Supreme Court held unanimously Thursday. Calloway County Sheriff & # 39 ;s Department v. Woodall the court found that the lump sum payment at the time of death was delayed but that the widow was entitled to the surviving spouse's income benefits.
Steven Spillman worked for Calloway County Sherriff's department when he was seriously injured in a 2007 motor vehicle accident.
In 2017, he underwent surgery in connection with his work-related injury but developed a pulmonary embolism after the procedure and died.
Karen Woodall, his widow, sought surviving husband inc ome benefits and a one-time payment for his claim under Kentucky law. According to state statutes, if the death of an injured worker occurs within four years of the injury, the employee's property is entitled to a lump sum of $ 50,000. . The Kentucky Workers' Compensation Board did not agree and considered that Mrs. Woodall was entitled to income support for the surviving spouse but not the payment of the lump sum.
The Supreme Court of Kentucky upheld an appeal decision and ruled that Ms. Woodall was entitled to the statutory income benefit and that the time limit did not violate a constitutional provision, but denied her request for a lump sum payment. Although the sheriff's department claimed that the charter's four-year time limit prevented the widow from claiming death benefits, the court disagreed, saying that the four-year limit only applied to the payment of the lump sum, which was intended to compensate for the transportation and burial costs of
the law on the payment of the lump sum treats the farm for injured workers who previously died differently without justification, the court agreed with the law of the court to reject this argument and ruled that the statutory time frame was intended to block "obsolete claims" and help assess risks in the comp system. Catalog