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Some Insurance Companies Employ Private Investigators to Find Evidence Against Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Posted on Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 1:47 pm    

private investigatorIf you have a workers’ compensation claim and your gut is telling you that someone may be following you….your gut may be correct. Many insurance companies employ private investigators to find evidence that a claimant is healthy enough to return to work or that a claimant is earning income while collecting workers’ compensation benefits. However, with the increased use of social media, insurance companies may not need to physically follow a claimant in order to discover damaging information.

PIs Troll Social Media

With the increased use of social media, claimant’s need to be aware that what they post on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. may potentially damage their workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, insurers are asking for the passwords to their claimants’ private Facebook accounts. Although this seems like an obvious privacy violation, in 2010, the New York Supreme Court dealt with this exact issue.

Romano v. Steelcase, Inc.

The employer served the claimant with a notice for discovery requesting full access to current and deleted records on her Facebook and MySpace pages. Romano v. Steelcase Inc., 30 Misc. 3d 426, 907 N.Y.S.2d 650 (Sup. Ct. 2010). The claimant refused to give the authorizations, and the employer responded by filing a Motion to Compel with the Court. The employer supported their Motion with the claimant’s public content, which contained photos of the claimant smiling happily outside her home despite her claim of being confined to her house and bed. The claimant argued that the request and Motion violated her privacy rights.

The judge however disagreed that turning over the records requested was a violation of the claimant’s privacy rights. In his ruling in favor of the employer, he stated that the discovery request was valid “with respect to materials that may be relevant both to the issue of damages and the extent of a Plaintiff’s injury.” The judge also stated that it was “reasonable to infer from the limited postings on Plaintiff’s public Facebook and MySpace profile pages that her private pages may contain materials and information that are relevant to her claims or that may lead to the disclosure of admissible evidence.”

Workers’ Compensation Claim Tips to Keep in Mind…

  • Social Media – With social media, you have control of your privacy settings. Make sure you use these privacy settings on all of your social media accounts so only friends, family and people you choose can see your posted content. Also, only friend people you know on a personal level and don’t post pictures and statuses that you aren’t comfortable with the entire world seeing.
  • Private Property – Private Investigators can legally film you; however, they are not supposed to go onto private property.
  • PIs Must Speak with Counsel – If you are represented by counsel, a private investigator cannot ethically talk to you.
  • Report/Video Rights – The investigators report or video cannot be sent to a doctor without your consent. Although this is the law, many insurance companies routinely break the law. The investigators report may skew the facts or be a flat out lie. We have seen a case where a private investigator filmed a mother picking her child up when exiting a vehicle. While picking your child up from their car seat is a necessity in life, in this case the claimant had a lifting restriction of 10 pounds. Based on the video footage alone, the insurance company cut off all of the claimant’s workers’ compensation benefits. The insurance company also sent the video footage to the claimant’s doctor who lifted all of the claimant’s restrictions.

If you feel uncomfortable with the amount or type of information being requested by your employer or their insurer, consult a Northern Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Attorney. 

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Help an Employee of a Hospital Who Denied That She Was Injured On the Job

Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2014 at 8:03 am    

hospitalEveryday employees are injured while on the job and everyday employers and insurance companies try to deny those injuries have happened on the job because they are trying to minimize the value of claims. Our goal is to help our clients get the medical care they need to recover as much as possible. We want to share a recent case we handled to give you an idea of what we can do for our clients. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our client was an employee of a Northern Kentucky hospital who fell while transporting a patient. She hurt her shoulder and neck in the fall, but went home that day hoping the pain would go away. Unfortunately it didn’t, and when she reported the fall to her supervisor, the hospital immediately denied that she had been injured at work and denied any Workers’ Compensation coverage.

What We Did

Our client asked us to determine whether she had a claim. Upon investigation, we found that the patient she was transporting was willing to testify that he had seen the client’s fall and heard her complain of shoulder pain. We gave this information to the hospital and informed them that a claim would be filed if the hospital did not accept its obligations to pay for medical treatment and Temporary Total Disability (TTD) under Kentucky’s Workers’ Compensation laws.

The Result

The hospital backed down and agreed to pay for TTD and medical treatment without the need for a claim. Our client was delighted that she was able to move on with her life without the time and difficulty of filing a claim.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

Experienced Workers’ Compensation & Employment Law Attorneys

Lawrence & Associates have handled all types of workers’ compensation cases. Lawrence & Associates will work to build a strong and successful case for you.

Common Types of Work Injuries….

  • Back injuries and herniated discs
  • Head injuries and spinal cord injuries
  • Meniscus tears and other knee injuries
  • Shoulder injuries and rotator cuff damage
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Exposure to toxic substances, including chemicals and mold
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries
  • Construction accidents, including scaffolding collapses, falls and injuries caused by heavy equipment
  • Broken bones

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How is a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Attorney Paid?

Posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 1:33 pm    

Comp ClaimKentucky workers’ compensation attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis. The easiest way to understand this is to realize that any payments made to your attorney are contingent on the attorney obtaining compensation for you, whether it be back due temporary total disability payments or a settlement. This also means, if your attorney does not recover any money for you, you do not owe your workers’ compensation attorney a dime.

No Up Front or Out of Pocket Expenses

With so many employees living paycheck to paycheck, a work injury can cause uncertainty and worry about how bills will get paid and how the employee’s family will be provided for while the injured employee is not working. Fortunately, Kentucky law is very specific about paying a workers’ compensation attorney. An Injured worker is not required to pay any attorney’s fees or any other expenses up front or out of pocket. The attorney fee is simply taken out of the amount of compensation the injured employee obtains.

The formula for contingency fees is as follows…

  • 20 percent of the first $25,000 recovered
  • 15 percent of the next $10,000 recovered
  • 5 percent of any remaining award

The maximum attorney’s fees in any Kentucky workers’ compensation case is $12,000, meaning, that is the most an attorney can take out of your settlement.

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

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Kentucky Workers’ Compensation 101: An Overview of the Program

Posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 at 4:42 pm    

Kentucky workers compIn Kentucky, it is mandatory for employers’ to provide workers’ compensation. If there is a job-related injury or death, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide the employee or the employee’s family with medical and disability benefits.

Who is Considered an Employer?

Under KRS 342.630, an employer is any person or entity with one or more employees. This definition includes state, city and county. That’s pretty straightforward. 

Who is Considered an Employee?

Under KRS 342.640, an employee is anyone working under contract for hire, expressed or implied; executive officers of corporations; state, county or city employees; volunteer firefighters; those who sell and deliver newspapers; and anyone person performing services in a trade profession or business. Although the list of covered employees is vast, under KRS 342.650 there are several exemptions including: agriculture employees, certain religious organizations and a domestic worker in a private home if less than two.

The 3 Major Components of Kentucky Workers’ Compensation…

  1. Medical Expense pay
  2. Disability pay
  3. Vocational Rehabilitation

Workers’ compensation can be viewed as a type of insurance that accommodates employees who need compensation for medical care due to an injury during the course of work in exchange for the employee’s right to sue their employer for negligence. Plans vary according to jurisdictions, though they can be made for weekly payments instead of wages as a type of disability insurance, compensation for past and future economic losses, the payment or reimbursement of the medical expenses as a type of health insurance, and benefits payable to the dependents of workers who were killed as a type of life insurance. Not included in worker compensation plans are punitive damages for employer negligence and general damages for pain and suffering.

If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, contact Lawrence & Associates today! We can help you get the benefits that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Hurt Working On the Water? Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Vs. The Jones Act (Admiralty Law)

Posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 at 7:48 am    

TugboatKentucky has a greater length of navigable waterways and streams than any other contiguous state, but many Kentucky attorneys know precious little about admiralty law. At Lawrence & Associates, we represent injured workers every day both in state based Worker’s Compensation and through the federal maritime courts. At our Fort Mitchell, Kentucky office, we fight for injured workers’ rights!

Compensation Via The Jones Act

The Jones Act (Admiralty Law) and Kentucky worker’s compensation systems offer very different remedies. Both the Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims under general maritime law allow for damages that are very similar to damages for other tort cases based in negligence. The plaintiff can present and recover for past and future medical expenses, past lost wages and future loss of earning capacity, and past and future pain and suffering.

Compensation Via Kentucky Workers’ Compensation

Worker’s Compensation claimants get Permanent Partial Disability. Permanent partial disability simply takes an impairment rating created by the American Medical Association, multiplies it by the employee’s average weekly wage and some arbitrary, statutorily derived factors, and then presents a weekly amount to be paid to the employee over the course of 425 weeks. This weekly sum replaces all lost earnings and pain and suffering damages that could be received in a trial.

If You Are Truly Injured, a Trial in Maritime Court Could Provide the Most Compensation

Although there are some other benefits received under the worker’s compensation system that can match or offer alternatives to a trial’s more traditional damages, generally an injured worker will receive greater damages via trial than through Worker’s Compensation. The only exception to this rule is a plaintiff that is not seriously injured, and who is likely to return to work with no impairment whatsoever. In that case, the lower cost and relative speed of the worker’s compensation system is an advantage to the plaintiff. Further, worker’s compensation allows for temporary total disability at two-thirds of the plaintiff’s average weekly wage until the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement or returns to work. Maritime law’s corresponding benefit, Maintenance, is merely the replacement cost of daily expenses and is always far lower. So an injured worker whose damages are almost exclusively past, related medical bills and missing pay during a short period in which he or she cannot work may prefer the worker’s compensation system.

If you or someone you know has been injured on the job on the water, contact Lawrence & Associates today! We can help you get the benefits that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Can a Kentucky Employer Fire Me For Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 at 4:05 pm    

Workers CompIt’s one of the most common questions we hear from new clients: Can my employer fire me for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim? The short answer to this question is no. Kentucky law does not allow an employer to fire an employee in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. The employer also cannot refuse to promote you or refuse to give you a raise because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. An employee that has filed a workers’ compensation claim is in one of the rare “protected classes” under the law, similar to gender and race. Just as an employer can’t fire you for being black or white, an employer can’t fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Employers Can’t Fire You for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim But They Can Get Nasty

As many Kenton County workers know, an employer can be cruelly creative and many employers will try to get around the prohibition against firing employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Kenton County employers will sometimes start finding problems in an employee’s work after they’ve been hurt on the job even though there were no problems before. Employers will change an injured employee’s hours so they don’t get the full benefit of their paycheck. Northern Kentucky employers will sometimes even begin treating an employee nastily, so the employee will want to quit before they can be fired. When a Northern Kentucky employee is having these kinds of problems with the employer, is it still a good idea to file a workers’ compensation claim?

So Should You File Even though They May Get Nasty? Absolutely!

Our years of experience at the Kenton County offices of Lawrence & Associates have taught us that an employer that will give an injured worker a hard time for no reason is the kind of employer that will fire the employee anyway. An employee working for that kind of employer is exactly the kind of injured worker that has to protect his or her rights. You can only protect your rights by filing a workers’ compensation claim, and in order to file a workers’ compensation claim correctly – and see it through to the end – you need a good lawyer. That’s where the experienced attorneys at Lawrence & Associates come in.

Fighting Everyday to Make Sure Injured Workers Get their Benefits

At Lawrence & Associates, we fight every day to make sure injured workers like you get the benefits you deserve. You deserve full treatment of your medical bills, TTD and PPD and potentially other benefits like vocational rehabilitation. Injured or not, no one can guarantee your job tomorrow. When you are injured, that means you have to take a stand and fight for the benefits that you have a legal right to receive under Kentucky law. We want to help you fight for your rights.

If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, contact Lawrence & Associates today! We can help you get the benefits that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Survivors Benefits – Who is Eligible?

Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 10:30 am    

workers compensation benefitsWhile it is difficult enough when a worker suffers an injury while on the job, if injuries are severe enough to cause death, the situation becomes unimaginably worse. If you are the spouse or child of a worker who died in a work-related accident, you may be able to recover some financial compensation to help you through this trying time. A Northern Kentucky workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand Kentucky’s complex legal system set up to pay workers’ compensation benefits to the family of someone who has lost a loved one while on the job. 

People Who May Be Eligible for Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Survivors Benefits

Kentucky has a complex legal system set up to pay workers’ compensation benefits to the family of someone who suffers a fatal work injury. The rules are very specific and our attorneys will explain them to you in detail when you visit our office, but generally, the following people are eligible for benefits…

  • A surviving spouse
  • Minor children of the deceased worker
  • Mentally disabled adult children of the deceased worker
  • The parent of the deceased worker, if he or she had no spouse and no children

The state of Kentucky sets minimum and maximum amounts that are available to survivors. These amounts change each year. When you visit us, we will be able to give you an idea of how much you may be able to expect.

If a loved one has suffered a fatal injury while on the job, contact Lawrence & Associates today! We can help you and your family members get the survivor benefits that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Spotlight on Melissa Doss: Associate Lawyer at Lawrence and Associates Focusing on Kentucky Workers’ Compensation

Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2014 at 10:56 am    

Focused on Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Cases

I have been at Lawrence & Associates since 2011. When I first started at Lawrence & Associates, I gained hands on experience in the areas of workers’ compensation, bankruptcy law, personal injury and admiralty law. However, I quickly learned that I wanted to focus my practice on one area of law and learn as much about that one area as possible rather than try to master several areas of law at one time. I chose to concentrate on workers’ compensation because I like the mechanics of it. With workers’ compensation, I get to meet with clients face to face on a regular basis, negotiate with adjusters, draft motions and briefs, file claims, depose doctors and other witnesses and attend hearings without intense trial preparation that other areas of law sometimes require.

Devoted to Giving Clients Personal Attention

Lawrence & Associates stands out from our competitors because we are small enough to give each and every one of our clients personal attention, yet we are large enough to handle a large volume of cases. At Lawrence & Associates, an attorney meets with each new potential client during the initial consultation, which allows the potential client to have his or her questions answered by the attorney who will handle the claim. Additionally, our staff is very personable and always makes our clients feel very comfortable.

Growing the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Practice at Lawrence and Associates

Workers’ compensation is a very competitive area of law and it’s difficult at times to stand out from our competitors, especially in the Northern Kentucky area. Further, because I practice in Kentucky, I am not able to directly solicit clients which adds a wrinkle to advertising. I would say making myself and Lawrence & Associates known in the area of workers’ compensation is the most difficult challenge that I face.

Helping Clients Through Difficult Times

I would say my greatest accomplishment isn’t in the past, it’s the present, this moment, the ‘right now’. I’ve worked hard to be where I am today and I’ve found a career that I love… that’s a pretty great accomplishment. To me, there’s no better feeling than knowing that I have the power to help someone who needs me at a difficult time in their life. I have the opportunity to help people in the community and their families each and every day.

Giving Back and Enjoying Life

Outside of work, I am very involved at Crossroads church in Florence, KY and also with the City Gospel Mission. Additionally, as those who know me can attest, I am also very involved in the local crossfit community and like to spend my free time training and competing with my friends and teammates. Finally, I enjoy spending time with my friends, family and of course, my husband and our two fur babies.

Empathy and Compassion

People often tell me that I’m an easy person to talk to. While this isn’t necessary a talent, this is a quality that I consider very valuable, especially in my field. I genuinely care about each and every person that walks in our door so listening and wanting to help my clients solve their problems, sometimes at their worst moments, comes very naturally to me. In my opinion, in order to be a successful attorney, you need to be able to show empathy and compassion towards your clients.

Working Hard and Making Your Own Luck

My mother has always been a go getter and my biggest fan. She shows me every day that hard work pays off and that most great things in life won’t happen by chance, but by choice. I try to lead my life as my mother does by working hard and by taking risks and putting myself out there.

Melissa Doss… An Experienced Workers’ Compensation & Employment Law Attorney

Melissa has handled all types of workers’ compensation cases. She will work to build a strong and successful case for you.

Common Types of Work Injuries:

  • Back injuries and herniated discs
  • Head injuries and spinal cord injuries
  • Meniscus tears and other knee injuries
  • Shoulder injuries and rotator cuff damage
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Exposure to toxic substances, including chemicals and mold
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries
  • Construction accidents, including scaffolding collapses, falls and injuries caused by heavy equipment
  • Broken bones

If you lost a loved one in a work accident, we may be able to help you obtain survivor’s benefits. We know that there is simply no amount of money that can replace your loss, but we will work hard to get you the resources you need to make ends meet and begin moving forward in life.
>> More About Workers’ Compensation

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

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


What Injures are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014 at 2:04 pm    

repeated motionsWorkers’ Comp Also Covers Work Related Injuries Such As Injuries Due To Repeated Motions, Psychological Stress, and More

To be covered by workers’ compensation, an injury need not be caused by a sudden accident such a fall. Workers’ compensation may also cover claims for injuries due to repeated physical motion like a straining your back from lifting heavy boxes or from the repetitive motions of driving a bus for a long period of time. Also, workers can sometimes be compensated for the effects of psychological stress caused by the job in addition to any physical injuries.

Injuries Must Occur During Work and While You Are In the Course of Employment

With a few exceptions, any injury that occurs in connection with work is covered. The legal boundary is that employees are protected by workers’ comp as long as the injury happened “in the course of employment.” For example, a traveling nurse would be covered by workers’ comp while making service calls to patients and when visiting patient’s homes, but not while traveling to and from work for the day or while traveling to a purely social dinner later that evening.

No Fault Injuries

From the employee’s standpoint, workers’ comp is a no-fault system. It does not matter whether a worker was careless when injured, although claims made by employees who hurt themselves while drunk or fighting have traditionally been rejected as outside the bounds of “work-related activity.”

Injuries that can be shown to have been intentionally self-inflicted by the employee, or to have been caused by substance abuse, generally are not covered. However, courts have often sided with the injured worker when such cases are disputed, ruling that the injury is covered as long as the employee’s behavior was not the only thing that caused the injury.

The Definition of “Working” Has Expanded

The legal definition of when you are working, for workers’ compensation purposes, also has expanded in recent years to cover a greater number of injuries. For example, employees who were injured playing baseball or football on a company-affiliated team have been allowed to collect workers’ compensation benefits for those injuries.

If you or someone you know has a Workers’ Comp issue, please contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney today. Lawrence & Associates can help injured workers in Ohio and Kentucky. Call today for a free consultation.

Contact Us at (859.371.5997) or (513.351.5997) for a Free Consultation

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