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Do I Have to Pay Back My Workers’ Compensation Claim If I Win My Lawsuit?

Posted on Friday, February 27th, 2015 at 11:14 am    

disabilityMany people who have been injured on the job have two claims in one:  they are able to file a claim against their employer for workers’ compensation coverage and they are able to sue another company in the court system for their role in causing the personal injury. Common situations where this occurs include employees that are involved in a car accident while on the job, or employees that are injured at work because of a defect in equipment that was manufactured and installed by someone other than their employer. If you are involved in an Ohio Workers’ Compensation claim, please follow this link to learn more about Ohio Workers’ Compensation subrogation. The article below describes how subrogation works in a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation claim. Further, this article has been updated following the 2017 Kentucky legislative session, in which a bill was narrowly defeated that would have altered the way in which subrogation is calculated in a Kentucky Workers’ Compensation claim. If similar efforts are made in future legislative sessions, this information could change.

It’s Helpful For Your Legal Representation to Know Both Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Law

Kentucky law allows both the Workers’ Compensation and the personal injury claims to be filed at the same time. This is good because it allows the injured worker a better chance at a full recovery. The injured worker may hear that the Workers’ Compensation carrier has a lien on the lawsuit, and that the Workers’ Compensation carrier gets paid back for every cent they pay toward the injured employee’s medical bills, lost wages (usually in the form of TTD), and permanent impairment (usually in the form of PPD).  This is true, but only up to a point.  The injured worker has powerful protections in place to make sure that he – and not the insurance companies for the companies that caused the injury – gets fully compensated. It is important for Northern Kentucky workers in this situation to have Northern Kentucky attorney that is skilled in practicing both Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury law.

Example Of What a Judge Will Award to Workers’ Compensation After a Clients Wins a Case

Although the law in this area is so complicated that it frequently confuses even the most seasoned lawyers, this is basically how a judge would determine how much, if any, of the Workers’ Compensation carrier’s payments get paid back from a lawsuit settlement or judgment.

  1. First, either the judge or jury determines whether the employer is at fault for the injury. Remember that Workers’ Compensation is just an insurance system, and it pays even if the employer did nothing wrong (and in return, the employee gives up the right to sue the employer in court).  If the employer is even partially at fault, the judge or jury assigns a percentage to that.  The Workers’ Compensation carrier then has to take that exact percentage off of its lien.  For example, if the employer is 25% at fault for the employee’s injuries, and the Workers’ Compensation lien is $100,000, then the Workers’ Compensation carrier has to automatically deduct $25,000 from its lien, leaving only a $75,000 lien.
  2. Second, the judge will look at the amount the injured employee has to pay for case expenses and attorney’s fees. The Workers’ Compensation carrier cannot get a free ride; it has to pay toward the costs and fees just like the employee.  If the costs and fees are high enough, it can eliminate the entire Workers’ Compensation lien.  For example, if there is a $75,000 lien after step one, but the attorney’s fees and costs are $100,000, then the Workers’ Compensation carrier gets nothing.  On the other hand, if there is a $75,000 lien and the fees and costs are $50,000, then the Workers’ Compensation carrier still gets $25,000 toward its lien.
  3. Third, the judge will look at the categories of damages awarded by the jury, or will fairly apportion the total settlement into the recognized categories of damages. In a personal injury lawsuit, the most common damages are for a) medical bills, b) lost wages, and c) pain and suffering.  The Workers’ Compensation carrier cannot use damages from one category to pay for its lien against another category.  Continuing our second example, above, let’s assume the carrier has at $25,000 lien remaining after steps one and two, and that this lien is entirely related to payments for lost wages.  Also assume a jury awarded only $10,000 for lost wages but awarded $30,000 for medical bills.  The Workers’ Compensation carrier can take the entire $10,000 for lost wages, but cannot recover anything else on its lien, because it is not allowed to dip into the jury’s medical bill award to pay for the lost wage payments it made!

Again, this is complicated and the above steps are a simplification.  It is even possible to get a carrier to forego its lien before filing a lawsuit, but that is beyond the scope of this post. Injured Northern Kentucky Workers need to understand that a Workers’ Compensation insurance company’s lien is not absolute and can be negotiated down.

At Lawrence & Associates, we have negotiated thousands of Workers’ Compensation claims and would be proud to help you get the full recovery you deserve.  

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

Featured Cases

[posts type=”category” name=”Workers’ Comp Cases” limit=”10″ date=”d-m-Y”]

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

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 Us

>> Our Team
>> Our Testimonials
>> Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What Are The Typical Fees In a Worker’s Compensation Case?

Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 at 1:59 pm    

Workers Comp FeesWorker’s compensation fees are set by statute and we can’t deviate from that. In 2014, the law says the fee is 20% of the first $25,000, then 15% of the next $10,000, and then 5% of anything after that, up to a cap of $12,000.00. Money awarded to a client for medical expenses are not figured into these fees.

Injured Workers Are Not Required to Pay Any Attorney Fees or Expenses Up Front

With so many workers living paycheck to paycheck, a work injury can cause uncertainty and worry. How will you pay bills? How you will you continue to provide for your family? On top of that, you may be wondering how you can afford to pay a lawyer to help with your claim. Workers’ compensations attorneys in Kentucky are paid on a contingent fee basis. The easiest way to understand contingent fees is to simply realize that any payments to your attorney are contingent on them obtaining compensation for you. In other words, if your lawyer does not either win your case at trial or negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, you do not have to pay anything. Further, you do not have to pay any fees to your lawyer out of your own pocket. The fee is simply taken out of the amount of compensation you obtain.

If you are injured while on the job, you will most likely be entitled to compensation from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. There is a wide range of injuries that qualify for workers’ comp benefits, including many that some people assume are not compensable. At Lawrence & Associates, we are dedicated to helping injured workers get the compensation they need after an on-the-job accident. We know the tactics that insurance companies use to try to minimize the value of claims, and we work hard to overcome those tactics. Our goal is to help you get the medical care you need to recover as much as possible. We also help workers who have received disabilities from their accidents, as well as families who should receive survivor(s) benefits when they lose a loved one due to a work accident.

Featured Cases

[posts type=”category” name=”Workers’ Comp Cases” limit=”10″ date=”d-m-Y”]

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

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


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


The Statute of Limitations is Crucial In Workers’ Compensation Claims. Act Quickly When You’re Injured on the Job

Posted on Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 8:30 am    

Workers Compensation LawyerWhen considering filing for a workers’ compensation claim, it is crucial to keep the statute of limitations in mind. If an injured worker does not file a claim within the allotted time, the claim will not succeed. The statute of limitations provides for filing deadlines for Kentucky Workers’ Compensation claims.

Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Laws

KRS 342.270(1) and KRS 342.185(1) state that injury claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident, or last payment of voluntary income benefits, also known as temporary total disability benefits (TTD), whichever occurs later in time. “Income benefits” are defined in KRS 342.0011(12) to be those payments made per KRS 342 to the disabled worker or his or her dependents in case of death, excluding medical and related benefits. For instance, if an employee is injured at work on January 1, 2012 and paid TTD by his employer until January 1, 2014, he has until January 1, 2016 in order to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Notifying the Department of Workers’ Claims

Where TTD has been terminated by the employer, the employer must notify the Department of Workers’ Claims of the termination so that the employee can be advised of his/her right to file a claim. Failure to notify the Department of Workers’ Claims will toll the statute. City of Frankfort v. Rogers, Ky. App., 765 S.W.2d 579 (1988).

Gradual Injuries and Statute of Limitations

With regard to injuries that develop gradually from the repetitive trauma, the statute of limitations begins running when an employee has been told by a health care professional that the injury or condition is work-related. Often times, an injured worker won’t know that his or her injury caused by repetitive trauma may be covered under workers’ compensation; however, in many cases, workers’ compensation will cover the injury as long as a medical professional opines that the repetition caused the injury.

Lawrence & Associates is dedicated to helping work injury victims in the Greater Cincinnati area receive the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you know has been in an accident at work, call Lawrence & Associates today.

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