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Understanding Current Workers Compensation Wage Caps

Slape & Howard Jan. 15, 2024

Workers compensation is a system designed to provide financial and medical benefits to employees who suffer injuries or become ill due to their job-related activities.  

It's a no-fault system, meaning that employees are entitled to benefits regardless of who is at fault for the injury.  

In Kansas, the rules and regulations for filing a workers compensation claim are set out in the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act. This legislation outlines the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees when it comes to workplace injuries. 

At Slape & Howard, we pride ourselves on being more than just attorneys – we're advocates for injured workers throughout Kansas. Our firm is based in Wichita, but we serve clients across the state, helping them understand workers comp laws.  

Our team of experienced attorneys is committed to helping you receive the maximum compensation you're entitled to under Kansas law. 

The Role of Wage Caps

In Kansas, wage caps play a significant role in the workers compensation process. These caps are essentially limits set on the maximum amount of wages that can be considered when calculating your benefits after a work-related injury.  

For instance, the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act stipulates that an employer or its insurance carrier should pay an injured employee two-thirds of the employee's gross average weekly wage. However, this amount is subject to the applicable maximum benefit levels. From July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, the revised maximum weekly benefit is set at $804. 

The actual amount you receive as a worker is the lesser of two amounts: either two-thirds of your gross average weekly wage or the maximum in effect at the date of your injury. This effective maximum does not change over the life of your claim, even though the maximum benefit level for each new 12-month interval usually increases by a small amount. 

It's also important to note that there are different categories of disability compensation benefits, and each category has its own cap. For example, the total payments for permanent total disability cannot exceed $155,000, while for permanent partial or temporary disability, the cap is $130,000.  

In the case of Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) based on functional impairment, the maximum PPD payable is $75,000. 

Understanding the role of wage caps in workers compensation is crucial as it directly affects the amount of compensation you may receive.  

Exceptions to Wage Caps

While the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act sets clear wage caps for most workers, there are exceptions to these caps that can affect the compensation you might receive. It's important to note that these exceptions are not loopholes or oversights but are intentional exclusions set out in the law. 

  • Exceptions for non-covered employers, those with payrolls of $20,000 or less, or certain agricultural pursuits.  

  • Corporate employees owning 10 percent or more of stock also fall under this exception.  

  • Individuals, proprietors, or partnerships are also exempt from these wage caps. Additionally, employers seeking coverage for volunteers and other non-covered workers, such as volunteer directors, officers, or trustees of a nonprofit organization, are not subject to the usual wage caps. 

  • Certain agricultural pursuits are another category that falls under these exceptions. If your work involves specific agricultural activities, you may not be subject to the standard wage caps. 

  • Realtors who qualify as independent contractors are another group that falls under these exceptions.  

  • Firefighters belonging to a firefighter’s relief association which has waived coverage under the workers comp law. 

  • Sole proprietors, LLC members, and partners are also exceptions, provided all other employees would need to be covered if payroll is greater than $20,000. 

  • Certain owner-operator vehicle drivers covered by their own occupational accident insurance policy are also exempt from the usual wage caps. 

Calculating Workers Compensation Benefits

The calculation of workers compensation benefits involves multiplying the injured worker's average weekly wage by a percentage determined by the wage cap. This calculation helps determine the maximum amount of benefits the injured worker can receive.  

Our attorneys have extensive experience in accurately calculating these benefits and helping injured workers receive the full amount they are entitled to under the law. 

Legal Representation for Injured Workers

Understanding current workers compensation wage caps in Kansas is a crucial step in securing fair compensation for work-related injuries. At Slape & Howard, we are committed to providing you with the knowledge and legal support you need to get through this complex process.

Our experienced team of attorneys, based in Wichita but serving all of Kansas, is dedicated to fighting for your rights and helping you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury, don't hesitate to contact us today. We're here to help.