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
Kansas Workers Compensation benefits are intended to provide health care benefits to employees who are injured on the job, without having to resort to the courts.
Typically, if you suffer a personal injury because of your work on a job, you would sue your employer for compensation.
However, if you are entitled to Workers Compensation benefits, you can be compensated for your injury or illness without having to go to court. This article will discuss some of the most recent statistics relating to Workers Compensation accident claims.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Occupational Safety and Health Act, enacted in1970, established regulations that require most private industry employers to maintain records and create reports on work-related injuries and illnesses.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is responsible for developing a framework for collecting and reporting comprehensive statistical data on work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the private industry.
Statistics on Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in Kansas
Data on nonfatal occupational injury and illness are collected randomly from approximately 3,500 Kansas employers every year.
In 2016, the rate of private industry nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses was 3.3 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers. Specifically, workers in private industries reported approximately 31,800 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses which was an increase from the approximately 28,100 cases in 2015.
Men accounted for 68% of all days away from work cases in Kansas, compared to 61.6% across the nation. Workers aged 25-34 accounted for the highest percentage of cases involving days away from work at 24.7 percent of the total, followed by workers age 45-54 with 20.3 percent.
Lost Work-time Cases
The most serious nonfatal workplace injury and illness claims include lost time at work for the injured or ill employee. Per the data, there were a total of 8,810 cases involving injuries and/or illnesses that required days away from work. Twenty-eight percent of these cases involved 31 or more days away from work.
Nature of workplace injuries
Four characteristics typically used to describe the incident or accident that caused an occupational injury or illness are the nature or physical characteristics of the injury or illness, the part of the body affected, the source of the injury or illness, and the incident or exposure.
Sprains, strains, and tears make up around 40 percent of the nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that resulted in days away from work in 2016 in private industry. Bruises and contusions accounted for nearly 12 percent. The part of the body affected in nearly 35 percent of all nonfatal in 2016 was upper extremities. However, lower extremities accounted for almost 30 percent.
Payment for Lost Wages under the Kansas Worker Compensation
In cases where you are absent from work because of a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to receive cash benefits, often referred to as indemnity benefits.
However, the waiting period for these benefits is seven calendar days and will only be awarded at the direction of your approved doctor. Payments for lost wages are meant to help you through the period you are disabled from your workplace injury or illness.
Your coverage will begin on the eighth day of partial or total disability and you will be compensated for the first seven days only if you are disabled for more than fourteen days.
Types of Medical Benefits you can receive
Workers’ Compensation insurance will generally pay for all reasonably necessary medical care related to your on-the-job injury or illness.
This includes visits to an approved health care provider, necessary surgeries, hospital care, physical therapy, prescription drugs, braces, and crutches, or other medical supplies if they are ordered by your approved physician.
You are not responsible for the medical bills if the workers’ compensation carrier has approved the health care provider from whom you receive treatment.
Therefore, before being treated make sure you have that approval.
Otherwise, if you see a doctor without the carrier’s approval, you may be legally responsible for the expenses you incur. If your treatment is approved, the doctor will either bill the insurance carrier directly or you can send the bill to your employer or the carrier.
If you have questions regarding Kansas Workers Compensation matters in, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation.
You can contact us either online or by calling us at (888) 433-4861.
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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.