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“What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?” is a Frequently Asked Question to Northern Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyers

Posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 at 1:40 pm    

car wreckPersonal Injury Protection, or “PIP”, is a basic coverage that is required in Kentucky on all motor vehicles, with the exception of motorcycles. It generally provides up to $10,000 to each covered individual in an accident to be used for the purposes of paying for medical expenses, lost wages, and all other costs that resulted due to the accident (optional higher benefits and deductibles are available).

Who’s PIP is Used and How?

 

In most circumstances, the PIP is paid by the insurer of the vehicle in which the injured person was riding at the time of the accident. For example, if an insured motorist is in an accident while driving his insured vehicle, his insurance company will pay the PIP. It does not matter who was at fault in causing the accident. Additionally, if a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the insurer of that vehicle will pay the PIP associated with the pedestrian’s accident related expenses.

What if there is no PIP?

In certain circumstances, an injured party will find that there is no PIP available. For example, this can occur in a situation where the injured party is uninsured and the owner of the vehicle does not have existing coverage for his vehicle. If a pedestrian is struck by an uninsured vehicle (where the owner of the vehicle failed to have insurance or the driver of the vehicle was uninsured), then his best option is to file a claim for basic PIP to the Kentucky Assigned Claims Plan. The KAC is a state fund which provides basic PIP benefits to those who meet the certain requirements listed under KRS 304.39-160 and 304.39-170. An example of someone who would not be entitled to apply to the KAC for PIP would be an injured driver who was uninsured at the time of the accident.

If you or someone you know has been in an automobile accident, have medical bills piling up, and are unsure of what your options are, do not hesitate to contact a Northern Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyer. Lawrence & Associates can help get you the benefits that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Is It Really Necessary to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney When My Injury Isn’t Being Contested By My Employer?

Posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2014 at 12:15 pm    

Workers Compensation AttorneyOften times, I hear people say, “Why would I hire a workers’ compensation attorney? My employer is paying my medical bills.” Before practicing workers’ compensation law, I had the same school of thought. What I learned after diving into the area of Kentucky comp is there are several reasons to hire a workers’ compensation attorney, even when the employer is not contesting that the employee’s injury occurred at the workplace.

Reasons Why You Should Get a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Lawyer For Your Case…

  • Workers’ Compensation Can Be Complex – It’s difficult for an injured employee to navigate the system without the help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
  • Kentucky Attorney’s Fees for a Workers’ Compensation Case are Contingent – Contingent means that  the attorney does not receive any form of compensation unless the injured employee recovers a settlement. Therefore, the injured employee has nothing to lose by hiring a workers’ compensation attorney to file his or her claim.
  • Employers Have a Conflict of Interest and Want You Back on the Job Quick – Even though an employer may not contest that an employee’s injury happened at work, the employer’s goal is to get the employee back to work as soon as possible. With this goal in mind, the injured employee may not be receiving proper medical treatment or the employer or insurance company may be forcing the employee to work in violation of medical restrictions from the employee’s treating physician. Hiring an experienced Northern Kentucky workers’ compensation attorney can help the employee navigate these issues if they pop up and the attorney will help to ensure that the injured worker is receiving proper medical treatment.
  • You Don’t Need the Hassle of Dealing with the Employer’s Insurance Company –  When hiring a workers’ compensation attorney, the employee no longer has to deal directly with the employer’s insurance company. The attorney handles all medical records and deals directly with all insurance companies involved leaving the injured worker to focus on his or her treatment.
  • Ensure You Get a FAIR Settlement – Hiring an experienced Northern Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer can help an employee receive a fair settlement at the end of his or her treatment. Without an attorney, insurance companies may offer an employee a settlement that the employer believes is fair and the employee may accept the first offer, not knowing that settlements are negotiable. A workers’ compensation attorney can help with the settlement process and negotiate a fair settlement for all parties involved.

Also Know That If a Claim Has Been Denied by the Insurance Company That You Still Have Options….

Other times, I hear people say that they were injured at work and their workers’ compensation claim has been denied by the insurance company. The injured worker may wrongfully believe that the denial is the end of the road. In this situation, it is imperative that the injured employee speaks with a workers’ compensation attorney because he or she could be missing out on the opportunity to have medical bills related to the injury paid and a settlement at the end of the case. Just because an employer says that an employee’s injury did not occur while the employee was on the clock, it is not the end of the road for the injured employee. When an employee’s injury is denied by the insurance company, a workers’ compensation attorney can file the employee’s claim, which gives the employee the opportunity to be heard in front of a Kentucky Administrative Law Judge who then determines if the employee’s injury is in fact work-related and compensable.

If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, don’t wait to contact a Northern Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Attorney. Lawrence & Associates can help get you the benefits that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


You Have the Right to Wipe Your St. Elizabeth Bills Clean Through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 at 5:00 pm    

chapter 7 bankruptcySt. Elizabeth Medical Center is the largest medical provider in Northern Kentucky, serving thousands of patients daily. In addition to its five area hospitals in Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties, St. Elizabeth also owns multiple medical practices in areas ranging from physical therapy to business health and women’s health. While St. Elizabeth can be a great force for good for the Northern Kentucky community, they are also known as an aggressive bill collector that will file lawsuits against its patients for collection of bills, or send bills to collection agencies. Even if you are insured, St. Elizabeth can file a lawsuit for the portion of your treatment bill that is not covered by insurance.

You Have the Right To Reduce or Eliminate Medical Bills

If this happens to you, as a Kentucky citizen you have rights to help reduce or even eliminate the medical bill in its entirety. This is especially important for medical costs, because unlike many other types of debt a medical bill can cost enormous amounts of money and can be totally unexpected for even the most diligent and reasonable person. I speak from experience – my son had complications at birth that caused medical bills of nearly a million dollars. We were fortunate that her employer had insurance to cover the vast majority of these bills, but many people are not that fortunate.

You Could Try to Negotiate Lower Payments

If St. Elizabeth (or any other medical provider) has sent your bill to collections or is suing you for full payment of the bill, don’t despair. You need to take action (and quickly!), but you do have options. First, be aware that you can often negotiate your medical bill down to a fraction of the total bill. This is because Northern Kentucky medical providers often bill from a “chargemaster”, which sets an arbitrary price for services the hospital provides. All health insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, negotiate reduced rates from the chargemaster. For this reason, most medical providers don’t actually expect to receive the full amount of the bill they have given you, although it is quite rare for any Northern Kentucky medical provider to negotiate below the amount they have agreed to pay a health insurance company for any given treatment.  If you want professional help negotiating down your medical bills, there is a cottage industry of people that are familiar with Medicare guidelines that can try to pressure health care providers into reducing their bills to a more reasonable amount. You can also try a debt consolidation company, and there are several that service the Northern Kentucky area or operate nationwide.

The Problem with Negotiators and Debt Consolidators

The central problem with both a private negotiator and a debt consolidation company, however, is that they have no power to force the medical provider to do anything.  They are only asking permission.  If an aggressive medical provider, such as St. Elizabeth, refuses to negotiate, you will have paid money to the negotiator or debt consolidation company for no result.  Often, a medical provider that will not negotiate will decide to sue instead.  Courts in Boone County, Kenton County, Grant County, Gallatin County and Campbell County routinely see such lawsuits and rarely – if ever – side with the patient.  They are courts of law, not courts of fairness, and the law is on St. Elizabeth’s side.

Wiping Debts Clean with Chapter 7 Bunkruptcy

This is where a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be very important. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your medical debts will be wiped out completely. You can also choose a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in which you would pay back a reasonable portion of the medical debt before having the remainder of the debt wiped out. The attorneys at Lawrence & Associates are skilled bankruptcy practitioners, and we have helped hundreds of people discharge medical debts and receive a fresh start on life.  At our Fort Mitchell, Kentucky offices, Lawrence & Associates can counsel you on how to file bankruptcy, discharge the greatest amount of debt possible, keep all of your assets through the bankruptcy, and get control of your financial situation.

It is key to understand your rights when deciding to file for bankruptcy. If you are considering filing a bankruptcy, contact the experienced attorneys at Lawrence & Associates. We can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


What to Do Immediately After an Automobile Accident

Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 2:38 pm    

After an automobile accidentAccording to the a Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts Report, Kentucky reported 150,278 car accidents on public roads. Out of those reported accidents, 37,289 drivers and passengers were injured or killed. Either you or someone you know is overwhelmingly likely to be in a car accident at some point in their lives. If you are involved in a personal injury litigation arising from a car accident, you will greatly benefit from consulting a Northern Kentucky personal injury attorney. Although automobile accidents are unfortunate, there are certain things that a person can do immediately after an accident which can either help or hurt their case.

Automobile Accident Tips 

  1. Stay at the scene – If you are involved in an accident involving injury, or substantial damage to property, stay at the scene of the accident until the police give you the okay to leave. Leaving the scene of an accident can result in driver’s license sanctions and even criminal charges.
  2. Obtain information – If you are involved in an accident, it is always wise to obtain the other driver’s name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number. Moreover, if there are witnesses take down their name, address and telephone number which may prove useful in your case. Obtaining the police officer’s information may also prove useful when obtaining the accident report. Finally, it may be wise to take notes about the accident itself, including the location where the accident occurred, the speed limit, the weather, time of day, how the accident occurred, etc.
  3. Give a statement only to police –  It is best not to make statements to anyone at the accident scene, other than the police. You are not required to give a statement to the other person’s insurance policy.
  4. Seek medical care if you are injured – Seeking medical care immediately following an accident will help halt arguments by the other driver’s insurance company that you were not actually injured in the accident or that your injuries arose from something that occurred after the accident. In certain circumstances, we get cases where a person is injured in an automobile accident but waits until the pain is unbearable before seeking medical treatment. This not only can hurt the injured person’s case, but it also causes the person to suffer from pain unnecessarily.

Although being involved in an automobile accident may be devastating to both you and your family, there’s good news- you may be entitled to compensation! Contact Northern Kentucky law firm Lawrence & Associates today for a free initial consultation with an experienced automobile accident attorney who can evaluate your case and help determine if you should pursue a personal injury action.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


How Personal Injury Settlements Are Handled When They Involve Minors

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 1:29 am    

In most states, the parent of a child who has been injured and received a settlement as reparation for those injuries cannot generally access his or her child’s settlement funds.  The reason for this is to protect the child from parents who might use the money to benefit themselves, instead of the child.

“Blocked” Bank Accounts

A court will usually place a child’s settlement money in a “blocked” bank account until the child turns 18. A court will sometimes allow withdrawals from blocked accounts if the funds are needed for the child’s care and well being, and the court is satisfied that the funds are to be used for the benefit of the minor.

In Kentucky

Kentucky courts will generally follow the same rule, although there are certain instances where the courts will grant the parent of a minor access to the full settlement. For example, under the Kentucky Revised Statute 387.280, the custodian of a minor is able to petition to receive the minor’s settlement so long as that settlement is $10,000 or less.

If you or someone you know is dealing with an accident related injury involving a minor child, please contact an experienced Northern Kentucky personal injury lawyer at Lawrence & Associates!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Even If You Don’t Live in Kentucky, Talk to a Northern Kentucky Lawyer if You Where Hurt On the Job in Kentucky

Posted on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 at 10:29 am    

View of Cincinnati Ohio from Kentucky

Because Lawrence & Associates is located along I-75 and conveniently close to Cincinnati, OH, we often help injured workers who live outside the state. It is very common for injured workers to work at a factory or warehouse – such as the Amazon warehouse in Boone County, Kentucky – but live in Ohio or Indiana. If you are injured while working in Kentucky, then you will be covered by Workers’ Compensation in Kentucky! Companies located within the state are not required to have Workers’ Comp insurance in the state where you live.

Kentucky’s law says that your employer has to provide Kentucky Workers’ Compensation to you if any of the following are true…

  1. You mostly work in Kentucky.
  2. You work all over, but were hired in Kentucky. This would be true for a lot of truck drivers who drive all over the country, but report back to a depot in Kentucky and were hired out of that depot.
  3. You work in a state where your employer doesn’t have Workers’ Comp insurance, but were hired in Kentucky. This is true for a lot of people that live in Cincinnati and work out of their homes in Cincinnati, but have been hired by a company in Northern Kentucky.
  4. You work outside the country, but were hired in Kentucky.

The Bottom-line

Basically, if you were injured while working in Kentucky or were hired in Kentucky and got injured elsewhere, you should consider talking to a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation attorney.  At Lawrence & Associates, we have helped many people just like you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.

If you or someone you know has a Workers’ Comp issue, please contact a Northern Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Attorney today. Melissa Doss and Lawrence & Associates can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Ways to Improve Your Credit Score After Bankruptcy

Posted on Friday, May 2nd, 2014 at 2:24 pm    

Declaring bankruptcy is a decision that affects not only your finances but also may affect your credit score. In fact, one of the biggest concerns that people have when considering bankruptcy is how it will affect their credit score. While filing bankruptcy may decrease your credit score short term, it may not affect your credit score as much as you may believe. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it is likely that your credit is already low because of maxed out credit cards, late payments and mounting debt.

Credit Scores and Bankruptcy

Your credit score may also be affected by multiple factors including your payment history, outstanding debts, how long you have been using credit and by the types of credit that you use. It is important that you understand what happens when you file a bankruptcy. A bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, and there is a good chance your FICO score will be low until you have started rebuilding your credit.

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score After Financial Hardship…

  1. Review your credit report – The first thing you should do is obtain a copy of your credit reports and make sure there are no errors or inconsistencies.
  2. Pay bills on time – Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. One of the easiest ways to improve your score is to make sure you pay bills on time.
  3. Apply for credit, but make sure you pay the bill off in full each month – You don’t have to carry balances on your credit cards in order to build good credit.
  4. Beware of credit repair services – You may receive offers from credit repair services promising to help repair your credit. Beware that the fees are high and it’s best to rebuild your credit on your own at no cost.
  5. Know your limits on your credit cards – Once you begin re-establishing credit, it is crucial to know the limits on your credit cards and to keep your balances well below them. Use your cards sparingly and continue paying the bill on time.
  6. Do not close accounts – It’s best to keep the credit lines open, however, if you’re tempted to spend over the credit limit, cut up the cards.

The most important lesson to learn is to be patient. The road to bankruptcy did not happen overnight and neither will the road to improving your credit. By following the guidelines above, you can move toward a better financial future and improved credit score.

If you are a Kentucky resident that is interested in filing bankruptcy, call Lawrence & Associates today. We can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Filing a First Report of Injury (FROI) Form is Not the Same as Filing a Claim for Workers’ Compensation

Posted on Thursday, May 1st, 2014 at 3:40 pm    

Workers Comp - Lawrence and AssociatesIn today’s world almost every employer has procedures in place when an employee is injured on the job. In many cases it involves documenting the events that led to the injury and recording them on a form for future use and reference. In Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system, this form is often referred to as a First Report of Injury (or FROI). 

First Report of Injury (or FROI)

In this report, the date and location of the injury and the circumstances surrounding the injury are disclosed. When an employee is injured on the job, the employer works with the injured worker in order to complete the form. Once the form has been completed, it is generally kept on site at the workplace. In addition to being kept on site, the employer should submit this form to the Department of Workers’ Claims in Frankfort, Kentucky. The FROI provides as a documentation of your injury, which can provide helpful information concerning your workers’ compensation claim down the road.

Filing the FROI Isn’t the Same as Filing  a Claim for Worker’s Compensation

Working with your employer to complete and file the FROI is not how an injured worker files a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Many injured workers are under the impression that they have filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits by filing a First Report of Injury. This is not true. Filing a First Report of Injury with your employer is helpful in your claim but it is not the same as filing a claim for benefits. It is key to understand the difference between filing a FROI and a workers’ compensation claim because in Kentucky, the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim is two years from the date of injury or two years after the last temporary total disability payment, whichever comes later. Although a FROI should be completed as soon as an employee is injured, filling out the FROI is insignificant for purposes of the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In other words, you can fill out a FROI and still lose your rights to benefits if you do not get an attorney and file a claim with the Department of Workers’ Claims.

If you or someone you know has a Workers’ Comp issue, please contact a Northern Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Attorney today. Danielle Lawrence and Lawrence & Associates can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2014? You Should Get Started Early Due To New Increased Paperwork Requirements

Posted on Friday, April 18th, 2014 at 4:12 pm    

bankruptcy papersMany people filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October of 2005. It was important to file before the new bankruptcy regulations went into effect later that month. The new bankruptcy regulations were much stricter and would require many Chapter 7 filers to file a Chapter 13 if they waited until November 2005. The rush of Chapter 7 filings in October 2005 helped save many people from ruthless creditors who were trying to take their property or garnish their paychecks.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Only Be Filed Every 8 Years

The unfortunate side effect was that all those bankruptcy filers from 2005 were prevented from filing bankruptcy between October 2005 and 2013. The bankruptcy code only permits a Chapter 7 to be filed every eight years. The eight years is measured from the date of the first bankruptcy filing to the date of the second bankruptcy filing. If no discharge is received during the first bankruptcy, then the eight year limitation does not apply. However, most Chapter 7s result in a discharge. Although you can file a Chapter 13 within eight years of receiving a discharge from a prior bankruptcy, there are certain limitations that apply to Chapter 13s as well.

Have You Been Waiting to File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

There are many people in Northern Kentucky that filed bankruptcy eight years ago and have found themselves in the same unfortunate situation now that they were in then. Many have gone through divorce or have had unexpected medical problems. Others still struggle with student loans that they were unable to discharge in the first bankruptcy, and these payments have led to more credit problems. Others were caught in the financial crisis and lost their homes to foreclosure. Whatever the reason, there are many people who have been waiting to file a Chapter 7 and that time is now upon them.

The Latest Generation of Bankruptcy Laws Requires a Great Deal of Paperwork

The most important thing for a Northern Kentucky bankruptcy filer to realize is that the new bankruptcy laws require a great deal of paperwork. If you intend to file bankruptcy in or near the date you are eligible in 2014, you should get started early. The requirements are very different now than they were eight years ago. A Northern Kentucky person filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today has to do many different things that were not required in 2005. If you don’t consult with an attorney now, you will probably not be ready to file in October.

If you or someone you know may need to file bankruptcy, contact a Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyer today. Lawrence & Associates can help! We serve all of Northern Kentucky including Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Gallatin and Grant counties! 

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


BANKRUPTCY CASE STUDY: Couple Gets To Keep Their Home After Both Being Laid Off By Using a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 3:03 pm    

safe homeClient(s) Challenge – Our clients L.S. and P.S., a husband and wife living in Northern Kentucky, got a foreclosure notice in the mail. They had worked really hard to get their house and even harder to get the mortgage modified after they both got laid off a few years ago. Now it looked like all those efforts were for nothing, because the bank was coming to take the house away.

Lawrence and Associates’ Solution – Lawrence and Associates helped L.S. and P.S. file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, with a five year repayment plan to get their mortgage caught up. Their monthly payment was something they could afford to pay, and the bank was not allowed to foreclose on their house.

Results – L.S. and P.S. kept their home and are still living there to this day.

About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are a Kentucky resident struggling to pay your debts, you need to take action. A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can put a stop to foreclosure or repossession actions, as well as wage garnishments, so that you can get a fresh financial start. It will also end the harassing phone calls and letters. You must comply with the terms of any repayment agreement or you will lose these protections, so it is important to have strong legal guidance before agreeing to anything. You want an experienced bankruptcy to protect your interests. At Lawrence & Associates, we provide comprehensive counsel in Chapter 13 bankruptcy matters to people throughout Northern Kentucky. We will take the time to listen carefully to your questions and concerns, and explain the law and the process, as well as your options. We will help you identify your needs and goals, so that we can tailor our counsel to your specific situation.

Experienced Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys

If you don’t qualify to permanently discharge debt under Chapter 7 or prefer to set up a new payment plan with your creditors, we will help you reorganize your debt in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. We will prepare and file all the necessary paperwork to complete the process and will represent you in hearings or meetings with creditors, the bankruptcy trustee or the bankruptcy court. We will help you put together a reorganization plan and will review all proposed repayment plans to ensure they are appropriate.

Immediate Relief

When you file for protection under Chapter 13, an automatic stay goes into effect, which prevents your creditors from calling, writing or using any other means to collect the debt, other than through the bankruptcy proceeding. The automatic stay will suspend foreclosure or repossession actions, as well as wage garnishments, giving you time to get back on your feet financially. In many instances, you will be able to reduce the amount you have to pay, sometimes to as little as a penny on the dollar, by entering into agreements with your creditors. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be ideal for someone with large medical bills or credit card debt, allowing you the opportunity to keep most or all of your assets and enter into payment arrangements that are workable.

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