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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


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


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


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


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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