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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


Make Sure to Report The Required Types of Income in Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 2:30 pm    

income checklist in a chapter 13 bankruptcyWhen filing for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor is required to list his or her current monthly income on the chapter 13 Means Test. This is important because it allows for the calculation of both the debtor’s commitment period and the debtor’s disposable income. Due to the nature of the chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is sometimes beneficial to the debtor that his or her income be minimal rather than a greater amount. Therefore, it is crucial to know exactly what type of income needs to be listed and what type does not.

The Obvious

  • Gross wages
  • Salary
  • Tips
  • Bonuses
  • Overtime
  • Commissions

Form 22C indicates that “All figures must reflect average monthly income received from all sources derived during the six calendar months prior to filing the bankruptcy case, ending on the last day of the month before filing.” It is important to realize that if the debtor is married, than he or she must list the spouse’s income, regardless of whether or not it is a joint-bankruptcy.

Business Income

  • Gross income derived from the operation of a business, profession, or farm

In re Wuilnau, the court held the where a debtor receives income from an LLC, that income needs to be included as part of the Current Monthly Income.2012 Bankr. LEXIS 1121 at *10-11 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio March 14, 2012).

Other Forms if Income

  • Income derived from rentals or real property
  • Interest, dividends, and royalties
  • Pension and retirement
  • Unemployment compensation (unless it was received by the debtor or the debtor’s spouse as a benefit under the Social Security Act)
  • Other sources of income unless specifically excluded.

Certain transactions that have been held to not constitute income for purposes of a chapter 13 are…

  • Loans
  • One-time withdrawals from 401(k) or an IRA
  • Sales of vehicles in a non-business context – In re Leach, the courts held that income derived from the sale of a vehicle used to purchase a newer vehicle was not income that needed to be included in the chapter 13 Means Test. 61 Collier Bankr. Cas.22d (MB) 15555, 2009 Bankr. LEXIS 1097 at 26 (Bankr. D. Mont. Feb. 26, 2009)
  • Transitional bonus payments set off against loan (such as a pay advance)

If you or someone you know may need to file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact Lawrence & Associates today!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Injuries Caused by Dog Bites – Blame the Owner and Not the Breed

Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 12:30 pm    

Happy Pit BullGovernments have been trying to get a handle on dangerous dogs that apparently menace neighborhoods and attack other dogs or people for years. In the United States, there are more than 60 millions dogs living with humans, more per capita than in any other country in the world. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, a division of the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, with more than 800,000 seeking medical care. Half of these are children and of those injured, more than 350,000 require emergency room treatment. On average, between 10 and 20 Americans die from dog bites.

Dangerous-dog laws and ordinances have been passed in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Cincinnati and a host of other cities. In 2006, Bracken County, KY upheld a ban on pit bull ownership in court. As happened in Jefferson County, the debate over whether or not to target certain breeds in dangerous-dog legislation often turns into an argument over pit bulls. The pit bull is not recognized as a breed per se, but rather as a type — a descriptor of several breeds of dogs with similar physical characteristics. Commonly, the breeds included are the American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier. Sometimes other breeds are included, such as the English bull terrier or the American bulldog, or even mastiff-type dogs like the Argentine Dogo, the Tosa, the Cane Corso and the Presa Canario.

American Humane Association Research

With Breed Specific Legislation banning bully breed ownership in certain areas, it’s easy to understand why people assume anecdotal evidence about the dogs’ aggressive tendencies is true. But the facts tell a different story. According to the American Humane Association, on tests conducted in 2009 by the American Temperament Test Society, bullies scored better than several breeds that are rarely associated with aggression, including beagles and collies.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research

Additionally, research conducted in 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that no specific breed of dog is inherently vicious. And National Canine Research Council director Karen Delise says that, in most cases, any dog that has a tendency to attack is responding at least in part to owners who have either neglected the pup or failed to give it proper socialization and training.

Of the 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs each year, bully breeds are less often to blame than many other breeds, including chow chows and German shepherds. Another CDC study conducted in 2000 attempted to assess which breeds had been involved in the most fatal attacks from 1979 to 1998; however, researchers found numerous challenges and flaws in trying to make accurate calculations. To date, there is no scientific proof that bullies are more commonly involved in fatal attacks than all other dogs.

No Scientific Proof That Bullies Have a Super Strong Jaw

Research conducted by a doctor at the University of Georgia shows that bully breeds don’t show any mechanical or morphological differences in jaw structure when compared to other dogs — nor do their jaws come equipped with locking capabilities.

To explore the question of jaw strength, a 2005 National Geographic study measured force of bite for several creatures as pounds of bite pressure. On average, dogs exhibited about 320 pounds of pressure, while humans came in at 120 pounds and great white sharks at 600. The study also included a simulated bite sleeve test with a German shepherd, a Rottweiler and an American pit bull terrier. The pit bull actually registered the least amount pressure among the group, despite rumors that bully breeds can clamp down with an alarming 1600 pounds of force.

Hold Irresponsible Owners Responsible for Their Dogs Behavior

In general, bullies, as well as all other types of dog breeds, are loveable, loyal and energetic, especially when given the proper socialization and training. Although all dogs can be good dogs if raised properly, often dogs and especially bullies fall into the hands of irresponsible owners and innocent victims are harmed as a result. That’s where an experienced attorney comes into play.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a dog-bite, contact a Northern Kentucky personal injury attorney today. Lawrence & Associates can help!

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


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


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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