Slape & Howard
3 Things to Know When Filing for Workers Comp in Kansas
Being injured on the job is not only painful, it can also be costly. Unfortunately, workers are often unsure of where to turn for compensation when their injuries result in expensive medical bills or prevent or limit their ability to earn a living.
Filing a workers compensation claim on your own can lead to disappointment and frustration. In fact, in the first five months of 2020, more than 1,300 workers comp applications were filed in Kansas, but many of them were initially denied.
At Slape & Howard, we are adept at navigating the ins and outs of the Kansas Workers Compensation Act and getting the vast majority of our clients approved for workers comepnsation benefits. If you live or work in Kansas, we are available to advocate for you.
Important to Know
There are several important things you should know when filing a workers compensation claim in Kansas:
1. Kansas has strict time limits.
When you suffer an injury, understandably, your first priority is often to focus on your recovery. Unfortunately, if you wait too long to give your employer notice of your injury, your application could be rejected. The time limits in Kansas to notify your employer that you sustained a job-related injury are as follows:
- 20 days from the date of the accident
- 20 days from the day you sought medical treatment if you are still working
- 10 days from when you left the company
Notice may be given orally or in writing. Workers should follow the company’s policy as to the individual or department that should be given the notice. If no individual or department has been specified, then notice should be given to your manager or supervisor. Cases in Kansas have generally maded these time limits quite strict. Often, our cases hinge on whether the administrative law judge believes the employer or the employee about whether they gave notice.
When you get hurt, inform your employer in writing. We recommend either a text or e-mail that has a time stamp so you can prove that you told the employer within these time limits. That way, if you are bing ignored, you have already put them on notice you were hurt.
2. The Kansas Workers Compensation Act is going to work against you.
The latest revisions to the Kansas Workers Compensation Act greatly affected an injured employee’s ability to obtain compensation by increasing a claimant’s burden of proof. Prior to the update, a worker with pre-exisitng conditions could show that their injury was aggravated or accelerated by a work condition or situation and have their claim be compensable. Now, an injured employee needs to show that their work is a “prevailing factor” or was the primary factor of their injury. This works to excludes legitimate injuries by allwoing the employer's doctors to relate injuries to things like degnerative conditions or old injuries that have resolved.
Furthermore, the Act instituted stricter penalties for extenuating circumstances. For example, it used to be that if the injured employee tested positive for drugs or alcohol then it was up to the employer to prove that the impairment contributed to the injury. Now, it is assumed that the presence of drugs or alcohol did contribute to the injury and it is up to the injured employee to refute that presumption. A positive drug test will likely result in an initial denial, but it is not the end of your case. If you have been denied for this reason, call an attorney. There are ways to help.
The KWCA will work against you, and we will work with you to fight it. If you need help, call us today for your free consultation.
3. Your chances of successfully claiming compensation increase drastically when you get an experienced lawyer on your side.
Since Kansas workers compensation is so complex, benefits are difficult to obtain when you don’t have a knowledgeable attorney to guide you through the process. Legal counsel experienced in these cases, know what to look for and what is required. Left to their own devices, injured employees may fill out and submit forms with information that works against them. Especially with the latest revisions to the Act, this has led to a significant increase in denials.
Hiring skilled legal representation will drastically increase the probability that your claim will overcome the hurdles that have prevented injured employees from obtaining compensation for their injuries. The vast majority of our clients end up receiving benefits, and we can do the same for you.
Call the Skilled Workers Comp Attorneys at Slape & Howard
The Kansas Workers Compensation Act has undergone extensive changes during the past decade, many of which are not in favor of the worker, or even local businesses. The Kansas Workers Compensation Act seems to be designed to benefit the insurance companies instead of the workers.
Our firm has been diligently working with other legal offices in Kansas to get this legislation changed or repealed. In the meantime, we can support you throughout the claims process so that you are treated as fairly as possible.
Contact our team of lawyers at Slape & Howard today. We are experienced in filing workers compensation claims and we can help you fight for the compensation you deserve after an injury on the job. Call our offices in Wichita. We represent clients throughout the state of Kansas.