Choosing a Workers' Compensation Attorney
Oct. 2, 2020
In 2018, more than 36,000 Kansas workers were injured on the job or became ill as a result of their work, 61 of them fatally. That’s nearly 100 employees injured every day. And thanks to the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act, many of them were denied medical treatment, rehabilitation services, and compensation for lost wages and permanent disabilities. If you have been injured on the job, you need to retain an attorney. Not just any attorney, but the right attorney to provide representation for your claim.
At Slape & Howard, our attorneys and legal staff put their decades of experience into action for clients injured at work in Wichita and throughout the State of Kansas. We work diligently and aggressively to get our clients the best compensation possible in a system that can be harsh and uncaring to those that are injured.
Why Having a Lawyer Is Important
While the Kansas workers' compensation process is designed for employees to navigate on their own, it’s extremely unadvisable. Items such as claims, medical records, disability ratings, and calculating lost wages are complicated. You can count on the fact that your employer’s insurance company will have attorneys, adjusters, and nurse case managers that are working against your workers' compensation claim. You need to have someone that is on your side.
It seems like if you’re injured while at work, your employer and its insurer should pay your medical expenses, pay your wages while you’re unable to work, and compensate you if that injury results in a permanent disability. Simple, right? But remember that insurance companies profit when they don’t have to pay, and the current terms of the Kansas Workers Compensation Act (KWCA) provide insurers with plenty of opportunities to avoid compensation of injured employees.
Amendments enacted in 2011 to the KWCA severely limited an injured worker’s opportunity to be adequately compensated under several provisions.
It shifted the burden of proof to employees that the accident or repetitive motion was the prevailing factor in causing the injury, especially those with degenerative or pre-existing conditions.
The Act virtually excluded some medical conditions, including coronary artery disease, stroke, and vascular injury, unless proven under extremely stringent circumstances.
It altered the percentage of work disability from 100% wage loss to a much lower threshold of average pay before the after the injury.
It significantly narrowed a worker’s eligibility for disability claims.
The Act also took away an employee’s right to refuse alternative work when that work caused hardship.
It allowed employers to stop paying for wage loss if the worker resigned or was terminated for cause.
It gave the insurer’s treating physician the power to determine when treatment is complete.
The Act slashed the factor to calculate lost wages from assuming a 40-hour workweek to a strict calculation based upon the hours actually worked.
The KWCA hands insurance companies all the power to deny your claim and spend as little as they can to compensate you. Don’t try to fight them on your own.
Qualities to Look for In an Attorney
Under the restrictive Kansas workers' compensation law, time and knowledge are critical elements. When you’re choosing an attorney to represent you, find one who constantly stays on top of the law and pivots immediately as it changes. Your attorney needs to understand the KWCA and its real-life ramifications for injured workers.
Your attorney also needs to be able to take immediate and decisive action on your claim, limiting the time your employer’s insurer has to deny your claim before the process even begins. That takes not only an aggressive attorney, but a legal team prepared to document your claim right out of the gate.
Why Slape & Howard Is Your Best Choice
For more than 35 years, the attorneys and legal team at Slape & Howard have been not only tracking changes to Kansas workers' compensation law as they happen but fighting changes to the law at the state capitol when they target workers unfairly. We are clearly advocates for fair and just compensation for injured employees.
At Slape & Howard, we’re prepared to move rapidly to file a valid claim that makes it difficult for an insurer to deny. Once that step is done, our clients get the full force of our team, including our own nurse case manager, working on their behalf against a system that treats injured workers with disregard. We’re committed to helping clients in Wichita and throughout Kansas get back their lives and livelihoods.
Don’t try to take on the insurer’s attorneys on your own. The time to file a workers' compensation claim is short, so don’t delay. Call our office right away to schedule a free consultation.