The majority of Kansas workers are protected under workers compensation laws. Exceptions are made for agricultural employees, firefighters who are members of a firefighters relief association, real estate agents who work on commission, and domestic employees.
Self employed workers, executives and partners are permitted to opt out of worker’s compensation insurance. Although they are not required to have coverage, they are entitled to optional coverage if they so elect.
Injuries Covered by Kansas Workers Comp
Kansas workers compensation law covers personal injuries by accident arising out of and in the course of employment. Accident includes an unplanned and unexpected event or series of events. Personal injury or injury mean any change in the bodily structure that causes harm. The words “arising out of the course of employment” include accidents that occur when the employee is driving on special routes used by employees only.
Coverage is excluded if the injury resulted form a deliberate attempt to cause injury or if the employee was intoxicated at the time of injury. Injuries incurred on the way to work or on the way home are not covered, unless the employer negligently causes injuries to occur while the employee is commuting. Injuries that occur at work social functions are also not covered, unless the employee was under a duty to attend or attendance was part of their normal job function.
Kansas Workers Compensation Claim: Filing Process
You must alert your employer to the accident or injury within 75 days of the accident unless your employer knew of the accident, or was unavailable, or you were incapicitated and unable to alert your employer. You must provide written notice of your injury to your employer within 200 days of the date of accident or injury. You can deliver the written claim directly or mail it, but you should obtain a receipt from the employer or send the claim via registered mail.
You may use form KWC15 to file a worker’s compensation claim with your employer. The bottom half of the form must be provided to your employer and the top half must be signed by your employer and should be kept in case of a dispute.
Workers Compensation Claim Denials
Common reasons for a denial include failure to provide written notice within the required timeframe, failure to use an authorized medical provider, or failure to demonstrate disability.
Appealing a Kansas Workers Compensation Denial
Prior to requesting a hearing, you are encouraged to participate in an informal mediation conference that will be presided over by an Ombudsman from the Worker’s Compensation Commission.
In order to obtain a hearing, you must file an application within three years of the date of the accident or injury. You may have to make pre-trail stipulations and pleadings, which must be sent to the administrative law judge. Once you have filed a hearing, an administrative law judge appointed by the Workers Compensation Commission will hear your case and review evidence by medical experts.
Collecting Kansas Workers Compensation Benefits
Kansas worker’s compensation law provides benefits for medical care, disability and death. The cost of all reasonable medical treatment is paid as long as you go to a covered provider recommended by your employer. You may obtain up to $500 of medical treatment from any provider you want, but beyond this you must go to an employer recommended provider in order to ensure coverage. If you are dissatisfied with your employer’s recommended doctor, you can request a hearing wit the Worker’s Compensation Commission to change your doctor.
Temporary disability benefits begin seven days after the disability renders you unable to work, unless you are unable to work for 21 days or more in which case the first seven days are compensable. Temporary disability payments are equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages.
Permanent total disability is also paid at 2/3 of your average weekly wages. Permanent partial disability is paid according to a scheduled list of disabilities. Disabilities, such as the loss of a limb, have a maximum weekly payout multiplied by the employee’s average wage. The total amount of disability benefits cannot exceed $125,000 for permanent total disability or $100,00 for permanent partial disability.
Hiring a Kansas Workers Compensation Lawyer
The Worker’s Compensation Committee suggests that it may be advisable to hire an attorney in the event of a worker’s compensation dispute. Your attorney can assist you in filing appropriate documents and presenting your case to the administrative law judge.
Kansas Workers Compensation Office Locations
Kansas Department of Labor
Division of Workers Compensation
800 SW Jackson, Suite 600
Topeka, Kansas 66612
FAX: (785) 296-8177