Workers' Compensation Injuries
Kansas’ workers compensation laws are considered “No Fault”. This simply means fault is not a consideration in whether or not you have a valid case, under most circumstances. The definition of a workers compensation case is: PERSONAL INJURY BY ACCIDENT ARISING OUT OF AND IN THE COURSE OF YOUR EMPLOYMENT. When you are injured by accident while working, you have a potential case. There are two strict statute of limitations. You must report the accident to your employer within 20 days (the sooner the better) and you must file an application for hearing with the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation within 3 years.
Under the workers compensation laws, you must seek treatment through the doctors that your employer sends you to. These are the “authorized’’ doctors and any treatment through them will be paid by workers compensation under normal circumstances. The medical treatment through the authorized doctors includes workers compensation paying for prescriptions, medical appliances, travel expenses, and there is a $500 allowance for you to see physicians of your own selection. If you seek treatment through unauthorized healthcare providers, you could get stuck paying those medical bills if they exceed $500.00 The second benefit is wage loss (temporary total disability or TTD) if the authorized doctor has you off work or if your employer sends you home because they cannot accommodate your restrictions from the authorized doctor. Workers compensation typically pays 2/3 of your wages up to the state maximum while you are unable to work, up until the time you reach maximum medical improvement. The first seven days you miss are not covered unless you are off work 21 days or more. Finally workers compensation provides three types of settlements if you have a permanent injury.
The settlements are called permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD). There are two types of PPD settlements, either a settlement based on permanent functional impairment or a settlement based on work disability. The settlement to determine the value of your case starts with the number of assigned weeks available for the body part involved. Whole body injuries, such as neck, back, two extremities (legs or arms), head, hip, etc. are worth 415 weeks. Other body parts have a specific designated number of weeks available, i.e. shoulder 225 weeks, elbow 210 weeks, forearm, 200 weeks, leg 200 weeks, ankle, 190 weeks, and there are many more specific body parts with a specific assigned number of weeks available. To calculate a settlement, you take the number of weeks remaining and multiply that times either the impairment rating or the work disability. This determines the number of weeks you get paid for a settlement. Next you get paid 2/3 of your wage for that number of weeks.
A work disability settlement is much harder to get and to prove. You have to meet the following criteria, at a minimum: 1) whole body injury, 2) permanent work restrictions, 3) loss of job due to restrictions, 4) more than 7.5% functional impairment, 5) loss of wage earning capacity of more than 10% when comparing how much you were earning at the time of the accident with how much you are capable of earning when considering your restrictions due to the accident. When you are eligible for a work disability, the work disability is determined by the judge by averaging your task loss for the five year time frame prior to the accident with your wage loss. This requires an analysis of the various job duties you performed in that five year time frame by physicians who review the job tasks and give opinions on which tasks you can no longer perform due to your restrictions. The wage loss often requires testimony from vocational experts as to how much you can earn after the injury based on the restrictions.
If you are realistically and essentially unemployable due to your injuries and restrictions, no calculation is used. Rather, you get paid 2/3 of your wage until the maximum allowable is paid over time. Kansas has a cap of $155,000 for these payments to be made over time.
Our office is experienced at handling workers compensation cases. We have handled these types of cases for years. It is important to get legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney to make sure you don’t jeopardize your case. The most common mistake is quitting your employment which can cost you your possible work disability claim and greatly lower your case value, but there are many other traps. Call us and we can help you with your cases! THE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH THE TWO BRIANS AT THE ORIGINAL PISTOTNIK LAW OFFICES IS ALWAYS FREE AND WE CHARGE NOTHING UP FRONT. NO RECOVERY, NO CHARGE TO YOU WHATSOEVER!