Monthly Archives: August 2015

Can I Be Fired For Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Kansas?

Being injured while on the job creates uncertainty and you may not be aware of what your options are for recovering and getting back to the workforce. While the majority of Kansas employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries that employees suffer while on the job, many employees still do not understand what workers’ compensation is, and what the consequences are of filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Many people fear that if they file a workers’ compensation claim, they will be at risk for losing their job. This is certainly not the case, as the entire purpose of workers’ compensation is to keep a healthy workforce in Kansas. Simply filing a workers’ compensation claim cannot be grounds for losing your job. Having unemployed Kansas citizens is bad for the public welfare of the state and is bad for employers. However, your employer is allowed to terminate your employment for reasons other than the fact that you have filed a workers’ compensation claim.

Therefore, you might have already filed a workers’ compensation claim for injuries you suffered while on the job, and your employer may decide to terminate your employment if there is another reason for doing so, such as the need to downsize for financial reasons. Your employer must be able to demonstrate that your pending workers’ compensation claim has nothing to do with the reason your employment has been terminated.

The reason employers are able to terminate your employment at any given time is that more often than not your relationship with your employer is “at will,” meaning that either you or your employer may terminate the employment at any time for any reason. Some employees do have employment contracts that limit the scope of how an employee can be terminated. Regardless of what type of employment relationship you have, it is important that you discuss your workers’ compensation concerns with a qualified Kansas workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

When filing a workers’ compensation claim, you want to ensure you are doing everything you can to get back to work as quickly as possible without compromising your health. If you truly were injured while on the job, you should not be held responsible for covering the cost of your medical care, and lost wages. If you fear that you may lose your job if you file a workers’ compensation claim, you should consider how this decision will affect your health.

Either you may decide to move forward without receiving treatment for your injury or illness, or you may be stuck with a mountain of medical bills by seeking medical treatment on your own. The bottom line is that you should not fear what your employer may do if you file a workers’ compensation claim. If you are terminated, your employer will have to prove that the decision to terminate your employment was completely unrelated to a workers’ compensation claim that you have filed.

Contact Kansas City Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

Workers’ compensation can be very confusing and stressful. You may be feeling uncertain as to whether or not filing a workers’ compensation claim will adequately help you recover and get back to work. You should fully understand your rights and obligations that are attached to filing a workers’ compensation claim before you actually decide to file a claim. To better understand what to expect, and what you might receive after filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should consult with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney right away. Kansas workers’ compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless of Michael R. Lawless, PA, devotes his practice to helping injured clients get back on their feet. To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact our office today by calling locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Drunk Driving

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, in 2013, 92,531 vehicles were involved in crashes, and unfortunately almost 3,000 of these accidents were caused by alcohol consumption. Drunk driving was the fourth leading cause of traffic fatalities. Every 3.66 hours, another drunk driving accident occurs. When you factor in the heavy traffic on Kansas roadways, poor lighting on dark rural roads, and only 36.5% compliance with seat belt laws for accident victims, collisions caused by intoxication can become extremely dangerous and even deadly very fast.

To keep roads safe, legislatures could completely prohibit the consumption of any and all alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel. However, politicians recognize that many individuals like to have a casual drink with a meal or while lounging at home and watching football. Therefore, Kansas permits a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of lower than .08. BAC is the number of grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. .08 is 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. If your BAC is .08 or higher when you are operating a vehicle, not only are you violating criminal Kansas driving under the influence laws but you are also opening yourself up to deadly accidents and civil liability.

Alcohol is known as a depressant because it slows your thinking process and response time. Messages traveling from your eyes to your brain will take longer to be interpreted. Therefore, if you are under the influence of alcohol and your eyes see cars suddenly braking in front of you, your brain will be slow to process what it sees and relay to your feet to also brake. The more alcohol you imbibe, the worse your response time will become.

Common injuries caused by drunk driving accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Spinal cord and nerve injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones, fractures, and sprains
  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Lacerations, cuts, and bruises
  • Seatbelt burn
  • Internal injuries and bleeding

The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency that reviews vehicular crashes, heralds organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Remove Intoxicated Drivers, as well as increased awareness of the dangers of driving while drunk, with decreasing annual DUI-related deaths from 25,000 to 10,000 nationally. However, the Board says that progress has plateaued. One-third of all highway deaths are due to alcohol consumption. While drunk driving accounts for a small number of overall accidents, the majority of drunk driving accidents do result in fatalities and severe injuries. To address the plateau, the Board is petitioning for strict changes to the law.

One such change is universal requirement of ignition interlock devices installed in all cars, nationwide, for drivers with DUI or OWI convictions. At the moment, Kansas judges may include an ignition interlock device requirement for a DUI or OWI conviction, but it is not mandatory. An ignition interlock device is connected to the ignition of the car. The driver must blow into a device similar to a breathalyzer, and the device calculates BAC. If the BAC is 0.0, the driver may start the car. Drivers are also required to intermittently blow into the device while driving. If a driver blows an illegal BAC, authorities will be notified. The Board would like automatic installation of these devices once an individual has been convicted.

In addition, the Board recommends that the blood alcohol level be dropped to 0.05 across the country. Currently, most European countries have a 0.05 limit, but the U.S. has lagged behind. 0.05 is equal to approximately two alcohol beverages per hour for an average-sized adult, though variations in height, weight, and body chemistry can cause metabolism of alcohol to fluctuate widely.

Kansas Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Available for Free Consultations

If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may have legal recourse for damages, such as compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is a premier personal injury boutique located in Lenexa, Kansas that has served clients injured in car accidents throughout the state of Kansas for the past 27 years. To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, P.A., contact us at (913) 681-5566 or (800) 734-3771.