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Learn How Personal Injury Protection Can Help After an Auto Accident

Posted on Monday, July 25th, 2016 at 11:54 am    

In this video, Justin Lawrence describes and defines Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage as it relates to Kentucky drivers, and talks about the types of bills that PIP should cover after a motor vehicle accident.  Justin also describes the process for receiving PIP benefits, and talks about warning signs that your automobile insurance carrier may be ready to cut off your ability to access this important, post-injury coverage.


Liability for Employers Furnishing Alcohol to Employees

Posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2016 at 3:50 pm    

Attorney Justin Lawrence writes here about the liability for drunk drivers who cause automobile accidents when the drunk driver gets behind the wheel immediately after a work event.  Kentucky law has a surprising loophole for employers that allow their employees to get drunk at company functions and drive home.

If you’ve been in a car accident with a drunk driver, get the facts to know your rights.  Call the experienced attorneys at Lawrence & Associates for a free consultation to determine whether you should sue.

Click here to read his article, Liability for Employers Furnishing Alcohol to Employees.


Tort Reform, and How It Hurts Us

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 at 8:24 am    

KY_State_CapitolRumor has it that tort reform will be on the legislative agenda in Kentucky in 2016, based on leaks from Matt Bevin’s transition team meetings. Tort reform is great for insurance companies, but hurts average state citizens. To get an idea of how much it can hurt an average citizen, Lawrence & Associates is going to share a current case study (with the identifying data removed or rounded) that compares how an injured person can be compensated in Ohio for medical bills, and in Kentucky for the same medical bills.

Lawrence & Associates’ Client, His Injuries, and His Medical Bills

Our client, Mr. W, was injured while driving his car. He had a leg amputated and a hip fractured, and had extensive therapy so he could re-learn how to walk. After a thorough police investigation, the other driver was found to be at fault. Fortunately, the other driver had excellent automobile insurance, with policy limits high enough to cover all of Mr. W’s medical bills.

Mr. W has over $850,000.00 in medical bills. He had health insurance that paid about $100,000.00 of the medical bills, leaving the other $750,000.00 to be written off. In Ohio, they have enacted tort reform. As part of that tort reform, Ohio’s case law Robinson v. Bates states that the automobile insurance policy for the at-fault driver only has to pay the $100,000.00 that was paid by the health insurance company. In Kentucky, there is no tort reform. Kentucky’s case, Baptist Healthcare v. Miller, says that the at-fault driver has to pay the full $850,000.00 in medical bills. (Bear in mind that, in any event, there is enough insurance coverage to pay all the medical bills, so the driver himself would not be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars). What happens to the $750,000.00 when you cross the border from Kentucky to Ohio is the essence of tort reform.

Who Profits from Tort Reform?

How can two neighboring states reach such totally different positions on such a simple issue? It would seem obvious that the medical bills should be paid by the insurance policy. That is, after all, why we have insurance. However, years of lobbying dollars by insurance companies has muddled that logic and created a huge windfall for these multi-billion dollar businesses.

Kentucky adheres to the “common law,” developed over the centuries from the founding of America, while Ohio uses statutes passed within the last decade. In Kentucky, the logic of the common law is that someone that does something wrong should have to pay to fix what they did wrong. Thus, someone that causes $850,000.00 in medical bills should have to pay the full amount. If the injured person has health insurance that takes care of the medical bills, then the injured person gets the benefit of both policies. If there is a windfall, then Kentucky says Mr. W should get the windfall as part of his compensation for losing his leg.

Ohio’s statutes, on the other hand, were passed with the goal of limiting anyone’s right to recover in court, and most especially seriously injured people like Mr. W. Ohio says that the person who did something wrong only has to pay for that wrong to the extent that the injured person has to re-pay his or her insurance company to cover the bill. So if Mr. W’s insurance policy covers $100,000.00 and Mr. W has to pay that back, then automobile insurance company for the person who hurt Mr. W only has to pay $100,000.00. In Ohio, the windfall goes to the insurance company that has cleverly avoided paying $750,000.00 in damages.

Is Tort Reform Right for Kentucky?

All of us who drive on the road have the potential to be Mr. W. That is an ugly fact, but a true one, so we all must ask ourselves whether Kentucky or Ohio is right. When one person hurts another person, does the first person have the duty to pay the second person for the full amount of the damages? Put another way, should the other driver’s automobile insurance company have paid for all the medical bills Mr. W received when he lost his leg? Tort reform says no, that the car insurance company should keep the money. At Lawrence & Associates, we respectfully suggest that everyone in Kentucky should call their state legislator and express serious concern about Mr. W’s case happening again and again, right here in Kentucky.

If you have been involved in an accident, please contact us. We’ve helped thousands of people recover for their injuries, and our testimonials reflect the quality of our work. We are working hard for the working class, and we want to work for you. Call today!


What is an Umbrella Policy?

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 at 12:06 pm    

Our previous two blog posts talked about automobile insurance and homeowner’s insurance, but there is another very important type of insurance that every injured person’s attorney should be looking for. An umbrella policy can provide valuable coverage for the most serious injuries, whether they occur on the road, at home, or somewhere else.

umbrellapicAn umbrella policy is “excess coverage,” which means that it only kicks in after some other kind of insurance coverage has been exhausted. It doesn’t matter what the other kind of insurance is, and if there is no other insurance that covers then the umbrella policy will typically kick in. A typical situation would be a very serious car accident, where the injuries as a result of the accident are in the millions of dollars. The automobile insurance policy for the at-fault driver might have only $100,000 limit, but the driver’s umbrella policy might be as high as five million dollars. Although the injured driver will have to receive the entire policy limits from the automobile policy first, once that happens the entire umbrella policy is available to pay any damages the injured driver can prove.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

Most people do not have umbrella policies, so many attorneys don’t think to check for one. This is why an experienced personal injury attorney, such as those at Lawrence & Associates, should be contacted for serious injuries. The worst thing an injured person can do is settle an insurance claim for an amount of money much smaller than the total damages under the mistaken belief that there is nothing out there beyond the automobile or homeowner’s insurance policy. Remember that the insurance company is not required to tell you about the existence of an umbrella policy. You have to figure that out for yourself!

Our experienced personal injury attorneys can examine the insurance coverage related to any injury and make sure you take advantage of each and every insurance policy with coverage. We help injured Northern Kentucky residents every day. If you have questions about your insurance policy, please call today! Lawrence & Associates is Working Hard for the Working Class, and we want to work for you!


What Does My Car Insurance Cover?

Posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 at 11:21 am    

Everyone in Kentucky is required to have a minimum of $25,000 in liability automobile insurance by state law. Despite that common knowledge, very few Northern Kentucky drivers seem to have a good understanding of exactly what their insurance policy covers, and why it is a good idea to buy more than the bare minimum. In this post, your local Northern Kentucky personal injury attorneys will briefly explain what the different types of coverage within your automobile policy mean, and how they can help you.

Remember that the words in your full insurance policy matter. The policy is a contract between you and an insurance company such as State Farm, or Allstate. While the Kentucky statutory system is the outline for the contract, and sets the minimum duties for the insurance company, the policy is what fills in all the details. Therefore, for specific information about your rights under your insurance policy, always start by getting a copy of the policy itself.

What is Liability Coverage, and How Is It Different from Full or Collision Coverage?

that-hurt-1450455-639x461When Kentucky law requires you to have $25,000.00 in automobile insurance coverage, that refers to liability coverage. Liability coverage does two things in the event that you cause a car accident: first, it requires the insurance company to provide a lawyer for you, generally free of charge, and; second, it requires the insurance company to pay up to the liability policy limit toward the other driver’s damages. Many Northern Kentucky drivers are confused about the attorney requirement, and try to hire a lawyer to defend themselves after a car wreck. This is not necessary, so don’t waste your money!

Liability Coverage does not require your insurance company to cover your damages, regardless of who caused the car wreck. PIP coverage does (more on that below), but this is why getting liability coverage only is generally a bad idea. Yes, it is nice to save money each month, but if a car accident occurs, you will be completely out of a car! It’s worth a little more each month to make sure the damage to your vehicle is covered.

What Is PIP Coverage?

We’ve previously written about PIP coverage, how PIP coverage applies to medical bills, and how PIP can affect your right to file a lawsuit. In short, this is one of the most important and most misunderstood parts of the typical Kentucky automobile insurance policy.

PIP is commonly referred to as no-fault benefits, and Kentucky is commonly referred to as a no-fault state. Our clients often confuse these terms to mean that they cannot recover money from another driver in Kentucky, even if the other driver is at fault, because they believe “no-fault” means that it doesn’t matter who is at fault. This is not true! PIP benefits are used to cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages – regardless of whether or not you were at fault for the automobile accident – but they do not take away your ability to sue for your damages if the other driver is responsible. Please follow the links to our other blog posts on PIP for more information, and remember: PIP is cheap and you may want to buy more than the state minimum of $10,000. Most insurance companies will sell policies with up to $50,000 of PIP.

How are UM Benefits and UIM Benefits Different?

UM stands for Uninsured Motorist Coverage, and UIM stands for Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Uninsured Motorist Coverage applies when the other driver was at fault for the wreck, but did not have any insurance coverage. It stands in the place of the liability coverage that the other driver should have had, and covers injuries or damages you have related to the accident. UM coverage applies in hit-and-run situations.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage is additional coverage for you if the other driver was at fault and you have injuries or damages that require more money than the upper limit of the other driver’s policy can provide. Typically, the UIM portion of your policy will kick in only after you have finished getting money from the other driver’s liability policy.

Usually, UIM and UM coverage is fixed at the same amount as your liability coverage. Raising limits for UM and UIM coverage along with the liability coverage helps protect you in the event of a crash. While UM and UIM generally cost more than PIP, consider raising these limits if you can!

How are Collision, Comprehensive, and Full Coverage Different?

There is no such thing as “full coverage.” This simply refers to a policy that combines liability coverage with collision. Collision coverage covers the physical damage to your vehicle in the event of a wreck. Comprehensive coverage covers physical damage to your vehicle even if there was no wreck involved.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

Insurance policies are contracts, and lawyers know contracts. An experienced personal injury attorney can look at your insurance policy and tell you what your policy will cover in the event of a car accident. We help Northern Kentucky car accident victims every day. If you have questions about your insurance policy, please call today! Lawrence & Associates is Working Hard for the Working Class, and we want to work for you!


What You Should Do If Your Auto Insurance Carrier Refuses to Pay for Your Medical Treatment With PIP Benefits

Posted on Monday, July 6th, 2015 at 11:11 am    

stretcherThis post discusses the PIP benefits that are available on all Kentucky automobile insurance policies for people who live in Kentucky at the time they take out insurance.  If you have an Ohio motor vehicle policy or lived in Ohio when you got car insurance, you can check this page of our blog to find out more about Ohio’s no-fault benefit, Med Pay.

Kentucky passed the Motor Vehicle Reparations Act (MVRA) in 1974. Among other things, the MVRA requires all Kentucky drivers to have liability auto insurance, and requires all such auto insurance to have no-fault benefits, which is often called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). PIP benefits must be at least $10,000.00 per person covered by the policy, and can go to pay any medical treatment related to an automobile accident or lost wages related to the automobile accident up to $200 per week. If you look at the itemization of your auto insurance premium, you will see that part of your premium goes to support your PIP benefits.

Kentucky’s main purpose for passing the MVRA law was to make sure Kentuckians injured in car wrecks got prompt medical treatment and rehabilitation by ensuring that money was set aside to pay for whatever treatment was necessary. Although $10,000 does not stretch nearly as far today as it did in 1974 – especially where skyrocketing medical bills are concerned – PIP payments are still a crucial first link in a long chain of medical payments for most car accident victims in Kentucky.

How Does Your Medical Treatment Get Denied By The PIP Carrier?

Northern Kentucky residents have started seeing more and more denials of PIP benefits in recent years. Where car accidents are concerned, Lawrence & Associates mostly represents victims in Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant, and Gallatin counties, and in those counties we have mostly observed Allstate and Geico challenging treating doctors by refusing to pay PIP.

Typically, Allstate or Geico will challenge the treating doctor by sending medical records off to a “peer review” or a “utilization review.” These are both bogus terms for “hiring a doctor who has never treated you to second guess your doctor.” The insurance company will send you a formal letter that typically does not address you by name, advising you that your treatment cannot be approved until the “peer reviewer” has given a decision. To make matters worse, your health insurance company will often refuse to cover the bills because, by law, the PIP insurance company is “primary” which means the PIP carrier has the duty to pay before the health carrier does. For this reason, your medical treatment stops entirely, even if you are in pain or getting worse.

Your PIP carrier then sends a “review,” which is the peer reviewers report. It will either accept the treatment as being necessary and related to the car accident, deny the treatment, or recommend an “independent medical exam” (IME). An IME means you have to allow the insurance company to pick a doctor for you and go see that doctor. The trick of an IME is that IME doctors are not truly independent; they are paid by the insurance company and nearly always claim that future treatment is unnecessary. (If they cost the insurance company money, why would the insurance company continue hiring them?) Regardless of whether the treatment is accepted, denied, or referred to an IME, it is rare for the PIP carrier to put the review letter in language that a layperson will understand.

The end result? You pay premiums for PIP coverage and never see the PIP money that you paid for. In the meantime, your untreated injury keeps hurting and keeps getting worse.

How Can An Attorney Help Make Your Auto Insurance PIP Benefits Pay For Your Medical Treatment?

The worst thing about the process above is that the MVRA doesn’t allow it. The MVRA states that a PIP carrier like Geico or Allstate must file a claim in court if it wants to deny PIP payments for your medical treatment. These insurance companies can’t ship all your medical records off to some hidden doctor in a backroom, with no transparency as to why medical treatment is being denied! Rather, the law requires the insurance companies to challenge a treating doctor (and you!) in open court, with full transparency. Auto insurance PIP carriers only get away with this because the average person in Northern Kentucky doesn’t know the rights that come with their auto insurance premiums.

If a PIP carrier wrongfully denies you the payment of your PIP benefits, you are allowed to sue that company in court and get 18% interest on all overdue payments. Further, if the PIP carrier didn’t have a “reasonable foundation” for denying your PIP benefits, you can force the insurance company to pay for your attorney’s fees. However, forcing the PIP carrier to relinquish your insurance benefits to you will necessarily involve filing the case in court and proving the insurance carrier is wrong. The insurance carrier will hire attorneys to represent it. That means you’ll need an attorney to represent you too.

Don’t Give Up On Your Right to Kentucky PIP Benefits

At Lawrence & Associates, we are Working Hard for the Working Class. We take great pride in representing Northern Kentucky residents who have been injured in car accidents. We can’t fix broken bones or heal cuts, but we can make sure no one takes advantage of you while you are hurt. PIP carriers that ignore the law to line their pockets with your money should be brought to justice. We can help. Call us today.


What is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases in Northern Kentucky?

Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 4:26 pm    

Gavel and old clockMany people understand the importance of seeking an attorney after they have been involved in a car accident. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that a licensed attorney will be able to tell a person exactly how much time they have to file or settle their accident related claim. This is known as the Statute of Limitations, and if a claim is not filed within the allowed time frame, then in most situations, it will not be heard by the Kentucky Courts.

2 Years From the Date of the Accident or No-Fault Medical Payment

The Statute of Limitations in Kentucky for car accident cases is two years from the date of the accident, or two years from the date the last no-fault medical payment (or no-fault PIP payment) was paid by your car insurance company. However, the maximum time allowed is four years from the date of the accident, regardless of the date of the last no-fault medical payment.

Statutes of Limitation Vary From State to State

Statute of Limitations can even vary depending on the type of accident a person was in or who the lawsuit is being brought against. In Kentucky, the Statute of Limitations is different for different types of claims. The Statute of Limitations for an auto defects or product liability claims is one year, as opposed to the Statute of Limitations for a contract, which can be up to 15 years (depending upon the type of contract).

When Does the Statue Begin to Run

There can also be a question as to when the statute begins to run. For example, the Statute of Limitations for filing a professional malpractice claim, including medical malpractice, must be commenced within one year of the date of the act or omission giving rise to the claimant’s injury. If the malpractice cannot reasonably be discovered within that time, the lawsuit may be filed at a later time not to exceed five years after the date of the act or omission giving rise to the injury.

If you were in a car accident but are afraid that your Statute of Limitations has already run or is about to expire, contact an attorney Northern Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney. Lawrence & Associates will be able to tell you with certainty whether or not you may still file a claim in Kentucky.

Contact Us at (513) 351-5997 for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Helps a Client in a Car Accident Get a Settlement For His Surgery, Time Off Work, and Pain and Suffering!

Posted on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 3:31 pm    

personal injury settlementAt the firm of Lawrence & Associates in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, we fight for the rights of people who have suffered serious injuries and the families of fatal accident victims. We work tirelessly to help our clients get compensation and deal with the medical, financial and emotional effects of serious accidents. We want to share with you the results of a case we oversaw in September of 2011. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our client was in a motor vehicle accident in November 2011. The other driver failed to yield the right of way and hit the left rear of of our client’s vehicle.

The Injury

A few days after the accident, our client developed numbness and tingling in his arm and severe jaw pain. He was 58 years old at the time of the accident and had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Our client’s numbness was diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome, which his doctor thought came from clenching the steering wheel when the collision occurred. The doctor also said the jaw pain was related to the impact.

The Result

Our client initially came to Lawrence & Associates because he had no way to get the medical treatment he needed. Lawrence & Associates was able to get him the surgery his doctor recommended, which was fully paid for by the other driver’s insurance company. Our client  also got paid for his time off work and for his pain and suffering.


Lawrence & Associates Help a Client Get a Settlement That Contains Extra Money For a Future Surgery

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2014 at 3:18 pm    

settlementAt the firm of Lawrence & Associates in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, we fight for the rights of people who have suffered serious injuries and the families of fatal accident victims. We work tirelessly to help our clients get compensation and deal with the medical, financial and emotional effects of serious accidents. We want to share with you the results of a case we oversaw in September of 2011. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our client was in a motor vehicle accident in September 2011 when another driver ran a stop sign and T-boned her vehicle.

The Injury

Our client suffered low back pain and her doctor recommended surgery that our client was unable to go through because of her work schedule. She went to physical therapy instead but knew she was going to need surgery at some point in the future. The insurance company wouldn’t pay for a surgery that hadn’t happened yet, and our client needed help.

The Result

Lawrence & Associates got our client a settlement that not only paid for the physical therapy medical bills, but also contained extra money to be used for the future surgery. The other driver’s carrier was forced to compensate our client without hiding behind frivolous defenses.

Contact Us at (513) 351-5997 for a Free Consultation


Lawrence & Associates Help a Client Who Was Hurt on a Bus Trip Passing Through Northern Kentucky

Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 2:24 pm    

Bus WreckAt the firm of Lawrence & Associates in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, we fight for the rights of people who have suffered serious injuries and the families of fatal accident victims. We work tirelessly to help our clients get compensation and deal with the medical, financial and emotional effects of serious accidents. We want to share with you the results of a case we oversaw in July 2013. We will supply as many details as possible while still respecting our clients need for privacy.

The Situation

Our client was traveling from Miami to Chicago by bus when the bus he was on had to make a sudden stop and ran off the road in Northern Kentucky. Since the wreck happened in Northern Kentucky, our client was forced to file a claim in a Kentucky court as well. The bus company’s insurance carrier did not believe that our client was injured in the wreck.

The Injury

Our client had been asleep when the wreck happened and was thrown into the air. He landed on an armrest on his lower back, which caused his injuries, including a disc bulge in his spinal column.

The Result

Lawrence & Associates was able to prove the injury was related to the bus wreck and forced the company’s insurance carrier to pay our client for his medical treatment and pain and suffering without him ever having to return to Kentucky or file a lawsuit. Contact us at (513) 351-5997 to speak with an attorney.

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