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Attorneys Hutchinson Kansas

Workers' Compensation Law

Workers Compensation Lawyer

Many injuries are painfully obvious—injured by machinery, a fall or being struck by an object can be the cause for a work-related injury. A less obvious way to suffer a work injury is through jobs that require repetitive motions that can be destructive to the neck, back and limbs or by constant bending, lifting or twisting. For the most part these injuries are covered by the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act. You may have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. On many occasions this is a repetitive injury. Whether you have suffered a work-related injury calls for both medical and legal considerations.

I have been injured at work. Do I really need a lawyer?

If you are asking yourself this question, the answer is probably yes. Workers' Compensation insurers and employers have hired adjusters, nurse case managers, and attorneys to handle these cases. In most workers' compensation cases the employer has a substantial say in determining the physician that will be treating you. Agents hired by the insurance carrier are dedicated to saving the insurance company money.

How do I report my injury? What do I tell my employer?

Prompt and clear reporting of an injury is important. Under recent workers' compensation amendments, failure to promptly notify your employer of your injury, or to provide a written claim, or to file an application for hearing with the State of Kansas can destroy or deny your right to seek compensation for your injury at work. We have heard more than once “the worker said his leg hurt but did not report an injury." We have many workers in Kansas with excellent work ethics and excellent work habits. Unfortunately, injured workers who ignore their injuries because they “do not want to cause any problems” can and do end up losing their rights to obtain benefits under the Kansas Workers Compensation Act. You can call our office before you report your injury.

Recent changes effective May 15, 2011, have significantly affected older workers and workers who have been injured before.

Recent changes to the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act have set up serious hurdles for claims by older workers or workers that have suffered a prior injury. If you are an older worker, or have suffered a previous injury, workers' compensation can be a mine field. Employers have many defenses that can be raised to defeat or limit injured workers' rights to medical treatment and compensation. Many times workers who are injured are surprised to learn that the insurance adjuster is not there to look after “their interests” or “be fair”. Workers are surprised by the adversity nature of workers' compensation.  Most adjusters are trained to limit the financial exposure of the employer and its insurance company. Your attorney should represent you and your rights. Your attorney should work to obtain reasonable and necessary medical treatment and the temporary and permanent benefits that you are allowed under the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act.

How do I get medical treatment started?

If you are injured in the course of your employment where you were hired in Kansas or employed in Kansas, you are more probably than not covered by the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act. You are entitled to medical care at your employer’s expense if your injury is causally related to your job and the prevailing factor in causing your injuries. Medical care includes transportation, prescriptions, medical testing, doctor’s fees, and other related expenses. The Act also provides funds called “unauthorized medical” on compensable claims for a second opinion consultation or related medical expense. Our office initiates medical treatment by forwarding a formal demand for medical treatment and setting up a preliminary hearing.

How can I get paid while I cannot work?

  • Temporary benefits

If you cannot work because of your injury, you may be entitled to disability payments while you are off work based upon a percentage of your weekly wage. You may have heard the terms Temporary Total Disability or Temporary Partial Disability; these are the terms for the disability payments paid under the Workers' Compensation Act. Disability payments for the most part are only paid when an authorized treating physician takes the injured worker completely off work or limits hours worked. If you are not being treated, you are not going to be paid temporary disability benefits.

  • Benefits for permanent injury

If you have suffered a permanent injury, you may be entitled to compensation based upon the severity of the injury. If you have sustained a serious injury and have lost the ability to do many of the tasks that your current and previous jobs have demanded, then you may also be entitled to a work disability. If you are permanently and totally disabled, significant compensation is available. Protecting you is our job. The insurance company’s adjuster is not your “guide” to medical or compensation. When an adjuster or nurse case manager indicates they are “just not able to help anymore” and you have unresolved medical issues, consulting an attorney is in your best interests. Under Kansas law if you have a compensable claim you are entitled to a second opinion. Your workers' compensation attorney is there to protect your rights under the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act.

How do I protect my rights to workers compensation?

In workers' compensation cases the right to trial, rights to obtain medical treatment in the future and the rights to receive additional compensation if injuries worsen are rights that should be carefully protected. You have a right to appeal a determination that you think is unfair. You have the right to a second opinion on your medical needs when you have a compensable claim.

How are the attorneys paid?

Our office handles workers' compensation cases on a contingent fee which means that we are paid when you are paid. On workers' compensation cases, our office does not charge to discuss a potential workers' compensation claim. It is required by statute that the claimant will be provided a written fee agreement. We invite your questions.

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