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Working Hard for the Working Class

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Am I Covered Under Kentucky Workers’ Compensation?

Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 4:52 am    

**Workers compensation in the state of Kentucky is a state-mandated, “no-fault” insurance system that pays benefits to workers injured on the job. It is managed by Kentucky’s Department of Workers’ Claims. Any employer who has at least one employee must acquire this coverage before the employee’s first day of work. In return for carrying a workers’ comp policy, employers receive immunity from civil lawsuits filed by employees over workplace injuries.

There are a few circumstances where employers can be exempt. For example, purely agricultural workers are not covered by Kentucky Workers’ Compensation. However, agricultural activities are narrowly defined – for example, harvesting crops is considered agricultural but repairing the roof on a barn is not. If you are not sure whether you fall into the agricultural exception, the attorneys at Lawrence & Associates can research the issue for you, for free.

Other exceptions to Kentucky’s Workers’ Compensation system, although less common, include solitary domestic workers in private homes, workers in a charitable or religious organization, and workers covered by another Federal Act such as the Jones Act for American seamen.

Am I an Employee?

Generally, if you are drawing a paycheck from an employer, you are either an employee or an independent contractor. Figuring out which category you fall under is more an art than a science.

Kentucky has a case called Ratliff v. Redmon that sets out the following factors to determine who is an employee:

(a) the extent of control which, by the agreement, the master (boss/employer)may exercise over the details of the work;

(b) whether or not the one employed is engaged in a distinct occupation or business (Do they have their own company?);

(c) the kind of occupation, with reference to whether, in the locality, the work is usually done under the direction of the employer or by a specialist without supervision;

(d) the skill required in the particular occupation;

(e) whether the employer of the workman supplies the instrumentalities, tools, and the place of work for the person doing the work;

(f) the length of time for which the person is employed;

(g) the method of payment, whether by the time or by the job;

(h) whether or not the work is a part of the regular business of the employer; and

(i) whether or not the parties believe they are creating the relationship of master and servant.

If you are confused, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Lawrence & Associates has litigated this issue on many occasions, and on each there are arguments for both sides. If you are not sure whether you qualify as an employee, give us a call and we’ll help you work your way through.

What Happens If I Fall Under an Exemption to Workers Compensation?

Although Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws allow businesses to choose to be exempt from providing workers’ comp insurance, an exempt employer must still provide benefits to an injured worker. These employers also remain exposed to civil lawsuits brought by employees who are injured during work. In addition, employers that fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance can be hit with severe civil penalties and fines.

If you or someone you know has been injured at work, contact Lawrence & Associates today! We’re Working Hard for the Working Class, and we can help!


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

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

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