If you are injured in a workplace accident or suffer an occupational illness, you may have many questions about your rights, legal benefits and appropriate claim procedures under the Kansas Workers Compensation System. When an employee is unable to work, the financial hardships affect not only the injured worker but also the employee’s family. Lenexa workers compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless frequently receives questions from those who have suffered debilitating injuries in the workplace regarding Kansas workers compensation claims. We have provided some answers to frequently asked questions.
What benefits are available to an injured worker for on-the-job injuries?
Depending on the specific facts of your situation, a variety of benefits may be available, including but not limited to the following:
- Medical care
- Partial weekly wage replacement (short-term disability payments)
- Long-term disability compensation including lump sum payments
- Rehabilitative services
- Family death benefits for fatal work injuries
Can I still recover for an occupational illness or on-the-job injury if I was negligent?
Because the workers compensation system is a no-fault system, the comparative negligence of the injured employee does not preclude workers compensation benefits. Generally, neither the negligence of the employer nor employee is relevant to the right of an injured employee to recover benefits. However, there are limited situations where an employee’s actions can impact benefits, including but not limited to intentionally self-inflicted injuries and workplace injuries caused by drug or alcohol impairment.
My contract says I am an independent contractor so am I eligible for benefits?
Workers compensation benefits only cover employees not independent contractors (ICs). However, an employment contract that designates you as an independent contractor is not dispositive. An employer may characterize the relationship as an IC relationship to receive tax advantages and to avoid the cost of employee benefits and workers compensation coverage. The real measure of an IC relationship is the degree of control that the employer exercises over the daily activities of the employee. Mr. Lawless looks behind employment contacts to the actual nature of the relationship between the injured worker and the employer.
Can I receive compensation for pain and suffering if I suffer a work-related injury?
While it is easier to obtain workers compensation benefits because there is no need to prove negligence by the employer, the scope of recovery is less extensive. Many forms of damages available in a civil lawsuit for damages are not available in the workers compensation system, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, punitive damages and diminished quality of life.
If you or someone close to you has suffered a work-related injury, experienced Kansas workers compensation lawyer Michael R. Lawless can help you pursue medical treatment, lost income and benefits for permanent disability. Our Lenexa, KS workers compensation law firm is dedicated to balancing the scales of justice so that you can obtain the compensation that you deserve. We invite you to call us toll free at 1-800-734-3771 or visit our website and submit a case inquiry form today.