Episode 8: In Part 2 of this conversation, Louisville automobile accident attorney Jim Desmond continues his discussion with Louisville workers’ compensation attorney Scott Scheynost about how a collision might involve both an auto accident claim and a workers’ comp claim.
There are more options if a workers’ compensation is involved in your automobile accident case. Rather than simply having to rely on the at-fault drivers’ insurance policy (and potentially your own UM/UIM coverage), Kentucky’s workers’ comp system provides more benefits.
What if a Work-Related Accident Results in Death?
Jim and Scott describe a previous case involving a work-related fatality. Workers’ compensation benefits are often tied to the amount of money you were earning, prior to the accident. However, under the current workers’ comp system, there’s a significant lump sum death benefit amount that’s paid directly to the deceased worker’s estate. The current amount is approximately $85,000. This amount is not related to your earnings.
Your dependents may also be able to receive benefits, based on the amount of money you were making.
How Do Workers’ Comp Attorney’s Fees Differ from Personal Injury Attorney’s Fees?
While a typical personal injury lawyer may charge a 1/3 fee (33%) or more of any financial award in an automobile case, under Kentucky’s workers’ compensation law, workers’ comp lawyer fees are limited to 20%, up to a maximum of $18,000.
Can worker’s comp benefits be disputed?
There may be a valid argument that an employee may have decided to deviate from his/her work-related travel. Generally, minor deviations during the day may still be covered. For instance, stopping off at a restaurant for lunch, pulling into a rest area to use the restroom. It really depends on how far the driver went for a non-work-related activity.
If the workers’ compensation is successful in arguing the employee made enough of a deviation that the accident is not covered, the employee still has the option of pursuing a normal auto accident claim. Remember, if it is work-related, the claim will be handled as a workers’ compensation claim. That system is considered “primary.”
Are Independent Contractors Covered by the Employer if They’re in an Accident?
The employer’s control over the laborer or independent contractor, may legally require the employer’s workers’ compensation coverage to pay benefits. The more say a company has in the activities, tools, etc., the higher the amount of control over the activities of that individual. In this case, the law may actually consider the independent contractor to be eligible for workers’ comp.
If the employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation coverage, the government has a fund to cover these situations, if someone qualifies. This is the Kentucky Uninsured Employers Fund.
A personal injury attorney can handle the property damage and a auto accident claim for pain and suffering. The workers’ compensation attorney will handle the medical expenses claim. There’s also a possibility that both can use a permanent impairment as part of the multiple claims. If your attorneys can work together, you may have multiple options for recovering compensation for the issues related to the collision.
Can Company Executives File for Benefits if Injured Traveling for Business?
For more highly-compensated employees (e.g. managers or executives) who are injured while traveling for business, their medical expenses could be covered, but there is still a limit on the Temporary Total Disability (TTD) payments, because they are capped at 2/3 or your average weekly income. There’s also a cap on the dollar amount of your TTD (currently it’s approximately $900).
If the individual is traveling outside of Kentucky, Kentucky workers’ comp coverage should still apply, in addition to potential automobile accident coverage (e.g. UM/UIM), if they were driving. It’s also possible that local coverage may apply, enabling the individual to choose which system to use.
For more information about Louisville Personal Injury Attorney Jim Desmond, visit www.AttorneyDesmond.com.
For more information about Louisville Worker’s Compensation Attorney Scott Scheynost, 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.