The purpose of Workers’ Compensation benefits in every state, including Kansas, is to provide health care benefits to employees who are injured on the job while eliminating the need to file a lawsuit in court. The Kansas Workers’ Compensation system is designed so that the injured employee receives compensation for the work-related injuries and agrees not to file a legal action against the employer. As the employee, you are not required to prove negligence or liability in order to be compensated for his injuries; making it essentially a no-fault system. Here are some of the most important Workers’ Compensation rules that apply in Kansas.
Overview of Kansas Workers’ Compensation Laws
All employers in Kansas are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, per the Kansas Department of Labor, with the following exceptions:
- Employers engaged in agricultural pursuits,
- Employers with a gross annual payroll of $20,000 or less, and
- Sole proprietors and partners.
Some other exceptions exist, including some firefighters and owner-operator vehicle drivers.
Coverage pays for all medically necessary treatment and may reimburse you for a portion of your lost wages. Employees must report an injury within 20 days from occurrence. You must seek treatment from the provider specified by your employer.
You can verify whether an employer has current coverage using the Kansas Department of Labor coverage verification search engine.
Types of Medical Treatment You Can Receive Under Kansas Workers’ Compensation
You are entitled to any medical treatment reasonably necessary to treat the effects of your work-related injury or illness. This may include diagnostic services and treatments such as surgery, physical therapy, and any prescriptions. With Kansas Workers’ Compensation, there are no deductibles or co-payments to be made by the employee and no maximum limit. Also, your employer or its Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier has the right to select an authorized treating provider. You are not necessarily entitled to compensation for work absences to receive medical treatment, but in Kansas, you may be entitled to reimbursement for mileage for medical-related travel, as long as the round trip is five miles or more.
Worker’s Compensation Benefits in Kansas
Workers’ Compensation benefits will cover reasonably necessary medical care you receive as a result of a work-related illness or injury. Workers’ Compensation insurance is maintained by your employer at no cost to you. Still, you are responsible for reporting all work-related accidents or injuries to your employer as soon as they happen. It is important to understand that your employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier has the right to choose which doctor will provide your medical care for your work-related injury or illness.
How to Obtain Medical Care through Workers’ Compensation
In order to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, your employer must first report the injury or illness to its workers’ compensation insurance carrier, once the claim has been submitted by you. The next step is to go see the health care provider chosen by your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
It is crucial that you be cooperative and comply with everything your employer requests. If you don’t your benefits could be delayed or stopped altogether. That means complete all workers’ compensation forms timely, keep all of your doctor’s appointments. You should obtain approval from the carrier before actually receiving treatment.
What Happens if You are Dissatisfied with the Doctor Chosen
If you are not satisfied with the doctor your employer or workers’ compensation carrier has chosen, you can ask your employer to approve another doctor. If that is not an option, then you can obtain a second opinion from another provider for treatment. In Kansas, you are allowed to seek medical services from an unauthorized provider. Those services of an unauthorized provider can be sought without application or approval. However, there is a $500.00 limit for the medical treatment payable by the insurer if your claim is authorized.
Workers’ Compensation Retaliation is Illegal in Kansas
In Kansas, as in most states, an employee may not be terminated in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In order to have a claim for unlawful retaliation, an employee can show either that a workers’ compensation claim was filed or that the employee suffered an injury for which a workers’ compensation claim could have been filed. The employee must also show that the employer knew of the injury and terminated the employee because the workers’ compensation claim was or could have been filed. Furthermore, employees who were retaliated against in a different way, short of termination, such as those who are suspended or demoted, may also have a workers’ compensation retaliation claim against their employer.
Retaliation Often Includes More Than Simply Termination
Unlawful discrimination or retaliation for exercising workers’ compensation rights includes more than just termination. The following kinds of employment actions can also be lawful if it is determined that the employer was motivated by an employee exercising his or her rights:
- Poor performance review
- Failure to promote
- Reduction of wages
- Intimidation in the workplace
- Threats of adverse action
- Negative reassignment, reclassification or transfer
- Unreasonable increase or decrease in job duties
- Unwarranted disciplinary action
Call for a Free Consultation at Our Rogers or Joplin Office
If you have questions regarding worker’s compensation benefits, retaliation or any other workers’ compensation issues in Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation, either online or by calling toll-free at 800-364-8305.