Episode 7: Louisville automobile accident attorney Jim Desmond invited his friend attorney Scott Scheynost, who handles Kentucky workers’ compensation, to join him. If you are involved in a collision, while performing work-related activities, you may qualify to file a workers’ comp claim, as well as a personal injury claim.
Who’s Responsible for My Medical Bills?
If you’re on the job, it’s probably work-related, which means workers’ comp is primary for your medical bills and lost wages. While Kentucky no-fault coverage (PIP coverage) generally covers up to $10,000, there is no limit under Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system for your medical expenses.
Kentucky is a choice-of-provider state. This means you can select your doctor, instead of having to go to a company-select doctor. This is an extremely important because your family doctor will focus on getting you healed, while the company-doctor may have an incentive to contain costs by limiting treatment, tests and potentially urging you to return to work more quickly.
Jim Desmond can the third-party claim against the at-fault driver. Scott Scheynost can handle the comp claim. If you have injuries related to the car wreck, workers’ compensation will cover the medical treatment and lost wages. However, once you’ve recovered, the benefits will stop, unless there’s a permanent problem. The automobile accident claim will address your pain and suffering, which could be more that the amount you received via your workers’ compensation claim.
Permanent Injuries from Work-Related Car Wrecks
If there’s a permanent impairment, that will factor into both the third-party claim and additional money based on your impairment rating. The impairment rating of your permanent disability is based on a number of factors. In Kentucky, you’re also entitled to lifetime benefits as part of your workers’ comp claim. Some injured employees may also qualify for vocational rehabilitation (up to 52 weeks for books, tuition, travel and related expenses).
In Kentucky, you generally have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a claim for a car wreck. Kentucky’s workers’ comp system also has a 2-year statute of limitations, but that goes from either the date of the accident or the date of the last payment for temporary total disability benefits (TTD), whichever is later. It’s a good idea not to wait because gathering the records related to the crash, your medical records and other information can take significant time.
What if My Treatment is Denied?
The workers’ compensation adjuster/carrier can attempt to deny the treatment, but you can also use your PIP coverage to go ahead and at least part of the expense paid for, while the workers’ comp process is being either negotiated or argued before the judge. The earlier you get your claim started, the quicker you may be able to get the treatment you need.
Can I Get Fired if I File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Kentucky has a specific law to prevent retaliation. If the employer does attempt to retaliate because you filed a workers’ comp claim, it’s important to document what they are doing, what’s changing or being threatened to change. Good communication with your attorney is an important factor in the success of your case.
What if I’m involved in a Collision, on Company Policy, before I Clock in?
If you’re injured in a company-owned parking lot or an area in which the company exerts control, you’re probably eligible to file a workers’ comp claim. Again, good communication with your attorney is important.
If you’re hit by a fellow employee in the company parking lot, Kentucky’s Exclusive Remedy Law may prevent you from suing the employee, but you are still covered under workers’ comp.
However, if you are involved in a wreck with someone who works at the same company, but it’s not work-related, or on company property, you may be able to pursue a third-party claim (e.g. a car wreck claim). This situation isn’t work-related, so Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system would not apply.
For more information about Automobile Accidents, visit http://www.attorneydesmond.com/.
For more information about Workers’ Compensation, visit http://www.scheynostlaw.com/.
The information provided on this podcast is for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. You should seek the advice of an attorney for guidance related to your specific situation. I am only licensed in Kentucky and Indiana, so the general advice provided may not apply outside of those states.
This podcast maybe freely shared, but may not be the modified or edited in any way. This is an attorney advertisement. Principal office is located in Louisville, KY. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson.