Tag Archives: Kansas City Workers Compensation attorney

Kansas City Workers Compensation Attorney Explains the Most Common Workplace Injuries in Kansas

Over 4,500 American workers are killed on the job each year, while millions more suffer serious but non-fatal injuries.  Every year, 3.3 million people suffer a workplace injury that will permanently affect them.  Most of these accidents are entirely preventable and occur as a result of employers failing to maintain a safe work environment.

The following is a look at the most common types of workplace accidents in Kansas and nationwide.  This list is intended to help workers stay safe on the job.

    • Overexertion Injuries: Overexertion injuries can occur as a result of pulling, pushing, lifting, carrying, holding, and throwing activities at work.  Overexertion injuries are not consistently the most common, but they are the most expensive.  These injuries account for $3.4 million in benefit costs annually.
    • Slipping/Tripping Accidents: Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are the number two cause of workplace injuries.  These accidents occur when employees slip on slick surfaces or trip over something lying on the floor.  Employers have a duty to maintain a reasonably safe work environment, which includes keeping the workplace free of known slipping or tripping hazards.
    • Falling From Heights: This type of fall happens from elevated areas, such as ladders, roofs, and stairways.  Falling from heights accidents can be caused by slippery surfaces or faulty equipment.  Employers can reduce the risk of these serious accidents by using proper personal protection gear, training all employees thoroughly, and overseeing employees with diligence.
    • Reaction Injuries: This type of injury is caused by slipping and tripping without actually falling.  Reaction injuries can cause muscle damage, body trauma, and other medical issues.
    • Falling Object Injuries: Objects that fall from ladders, shelves, roofs, and the like can cause serious injuries.  Head injuries most often occur as a result of this type of accident.  Use of proper protective gear, such as a hard hat, can prove vital in keeping employees safe.
    • Vehicle Accidents: Employees who drive as a part of their job are often injured in automobile accidents.  These accidents can be serious and even fatal.  Employee safe driving training and employer policies regarding safe driving can reduce accidents.
    • Machine Entanglement: Employees can find their clothing, shoes, hair, fingers, or other body parts trapped in heavy equipment or machinery.  This happens most often in factories where no precaution is taken.  Protective guards and other equipment can avoid this potentially catastrophic injury.
    • Repetitive Motion Injuries: This type of injury occurs over long periods of time, during which employees repeat the same motions.  Repetitive motion injuries often include carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, strained muscles or tendons, and vision problems.  The use of proper ergonomic equipment can reduce the incidence of these injuries.

Contact Kansas City Workplace Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas Workplace Accident Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is committed to assisting injured workers across the state.  Our experienced team of workers’ compensation attorneys will fight to see that you receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, oncoming disability, and more in the event your are injured in the workplace.  For over 27 years, we have helped injured workers through the complex workers’ compensation web, towards a full recovery.  If you have questions about your rights following an accident or need assistance with your claim, the law firm of Michael R. Lawless can help.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential workplace accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office 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 Workers’ Compensation – What If I Can’t Return to Work?

Most Kansas workers are able to receive the medical treatment that they need in order to return to work after going through the workers’ compensation process.  Whether the employee has suffered a back injury, broken bones, head or neck injury, or perhaps a serious illness, there is a chance of a full recovery, but there is also a chance that the employee may not be able to work in the same job field at the same intensity.  It is always unfortunate when an employee must adapt his or her future employment because of a previous workplace injury.

For example, if your employment requires you to operate a vehicle on a regular basis, and you suffer an injury that prevents you from operating a vehicle in the same way, you would need to find suitable employment to accommodate the aftermath of your workplace injury.  If you are able to return to work, but the type of employment is different, workers’ compensation provides a way to help you find a suitable job.

However, if you are unable to return to any type of employment due to your workplace injury, you may be entitled to permanent disability assistance.  In such cases, it is essential that you consult with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney who can explain to you what the potential consequences are of not being able to return to work, and what types of disability benefits you may qualify for.

How Will I Know If I Can’t Return to Work?

As part of filing a workers’ compensation claim, you will have to be examined by an independent physician to determine in what way your injuries were suffered while on the job, the severity of your injuries, and the likelihood that you will be able to return to work.  If you have been told by a physician that you cannot return to the same job, you will have to determine if there is other work you can take on that will not harm your current physical condition.

For example, as described above, if you are not able to operate a vehicle following a workplace injury, and this is a key function of your employment, you may consider what other types of jobs that you and your physician believe would be suitable for your current physical condition.  Perhaps you could have a desk job or other sedentary job that does not require you to do any physical activity that will make your condition worse.

However, if there simply is no type of employment that you or your physician believe will be suitable for you, disability benefits might be the only logical option.  With such benefits, the approval process may be difficult as you will have to provide a substantial amount of documentation to prove that you are unable to work, including your medical records and a physician’s determination that there is simply no type of employment that will accommodate your prior workplace injury.

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

If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, or are planning to file a workers’ compensation claim, it is important that you fully understand what your options are after you have received the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury.  Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas City workers’ compensation attorney with more than 27 years of experience advocating for his clients’ rights to receive compensation for injuries they have suffered while on the job.  To speak with Michael R. Lawless about your workplace injury, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today by calling (913) 681-5566, or toll-free at (800) 734-3771, to schedule your free consultation.  You can also contact us online and we will contact you right away to discuss your potential case.

Kansas Workers’ Compensation – Employee v. Independent Contractor

Being injured or becoming ill while on the job causes an enormous amount of pain, stress, and financial responsibility.  Kansas law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.  However, if you are classified as an “independent contractor,” you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits should you be injured or become ill in the course of your employment.  For example, if a painting company hire a worker only on a contract basis (i.e., for a particular project), and that worker is injured while working on that project, this worker will likely not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

How to Determine Whether You Are an Employee or Independent Contractor

Most employers will make clear what the employment arrangement is when you are hired.  Most individuals are aware from the start that if they are considered an independent contractor, then they will likely not be eligible for the same benefits that employees are eligible for.  This does not only include workers’ compensation insurance, but also includes how employees and independent contractors receive pay differently, and how employees are typically eligible for other benefits, such as health insurance, life insurance and/or retirement plans.

Therefore, independent contractors are taking somewhat of a risk when deciding to work on a contract basis.  There are certainly positive aspects of working as an independent contractor, but it definitely takes some thinking and consideration when weighing the positive aspects with the negative aspects, especially the fact that workers’ compensation benefits are not available to independent contractors.

Misclassification of Employment Status

While the general rule in Kansas (and in most states), is that independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there are situations where an independent contractor should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  For example, if you are hired and you believe you are a true employee of the company you work for, you expect that you will be entitled to the same benefits as other employees.  However, if your employer misclassifies you as an “independent contractor,” you will be left in the dark in case you are injured or become ill while on the job.  Some employers misclassify workers inadvertently, while others may in fact choose to misclassify workers for the sole purpose of avoiding the obligation to provide workers’ compensation benefits or other employee benefits.

Because the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor may not be as clear cut as you think, you would benefit from speaking with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney who can evaluate your situation in detail to determine if you truly are an employee or independent contractor.  If it turns out that your employer misclassified your employment arrangement, listing you as an independent contractor instead of listing you as an employee, you still may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  The sooner you are able to speak with an attorney, the sooner you will be able to resolve the matter and hopefully receive the compensation you deserve. 

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

If you or a loved one has been injured or become ill while on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  To determine if you qualify for benefits, it is essential that you consult with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.  With the help of a skilled and dedicated Kansas workers’ compensation attorney, you will have a better understanding of what you may or may not be entitled to, based on your classification as either an employee or an independent contractor.  Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping injured workers receive the compensation they deserve.   To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today by calling (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 City Workers Compensation Attorney Regarding Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Kansas

Being injured in the workplace presents many obstacles. You must deal with your employer and filing a workers’ compensation claim, and this involves communicating with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You also have to deal with seeking medical treatment for your injury or illness, and oftentimes, you don’t have a choice of what doctor or healthcare provider to receive treatment from. You may like your primary care physician and wish to seek treatment from him or her. However, as part of filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be required to seek treatment and evaluation from a doctor chosen by your employer and/or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Kansas Law Regarding Choice of Doctor

Under Kansas workers’ compensation law, if you are injured on the job and file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer is allowed to designate what doctor you will see for medical treatment of your work-related injury or illness. This doctor is then considered to be authorized to treat you, however, if your employer fails to designate a specific doctor for you to see, you may then choose your own doctor. Finding the right doctor that will give you an honest opinion about your condition can be tricky. Therefore, it is important to seek the aid of a worker’s compensation attorney to ensure you are receiving adequate healthcare from the doctor your employer has chosen.

Many people have concerns about having a doctor chosen for them, and for good reason. There is a fear that the doctor is working in the best interest of the employer, and may seek to downplay the severity of your condition. Or, the doctor may try to say that your condition existed prior to the work-related injury and this information may be used to deny you workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to remember that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so you do not need to prove that any particular person or employer caused your injury. As long as you suffered the injury while on the job, you should be entitled to compensation to cover the cost of medical bills, the cost of being out of work, and assistance in job placement once you recover from your injury or illness.

Because workers’ compensation claims can be complicated, it is sometimes easy for injured workers to be taken advantage of. By seeking the assistance of a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney, you will have assurance that the doctor you are seeing must evaluate your condition honestly and cannot seek to provide you with a medical opinion that is in the best interest of your employer. Before you file a workers’ compensation claim, you should speak with an attorney to make sure Kansas law is followed and your employer is not taking advantage of you.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

A workplace injury can leave you feeling helpless. You need a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney by your side to assist you in receiving the compensation that you deserve. If you or someone you know has suffered a work-related injury, contact Kansas workers’ compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless today. With 27 years of experience, Michael R. Lawless will review each and every unique fact of your potential claim and will provide you with the advice you need to move forward. He will work diligently to ensure you are receiving the care and compensation that you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, contact our Lenexa, Kansas office by calling (913) 681-5566. You may also reach us toll-free by calling 1 (800) 734-3771, or contact us online, and someone will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. We look forward to helping you get back on track.

Kansas Workers Compensation Lawyer Michael Lawless Answers FAQs [Part1]

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.

When Is a Kansas Work-Related Injury within the Scope of Employment? [Part I]

While most Kansas workers compensation claimants may be aware that financial compensation for on-the-job injuries does not require fault by the employer, this does not mean that all workplace injuries are covered.  An important requirement for a work-related injury to be covered by workers compensation benefits is that the injury occur within the “scope of employment.”  While some situations fall squarely within the scope of employment, such as an employee falling from a ladder while installing a new roof while employed by a construction company, many situations are not so straightforward.

There are many disputed workers compensation claims that turn on the subtle difference between a “detour” and a “frolic.”  Essentially, these cases involve situations where the employee is away from the workplace, making the purpose of the excursion critical to determining the applicability of workers compensation coverage.  In simply terms, a frolic refers to an activity that is a significant departure from an employee’s job duties which has no connection to the employment relationship.  By contrast, a detour may be for the benefit of the employee but does not constitute a significant deviation from tasks that benefit one’s employer.

The notion of evaluating whether a task is within the scope of employment is derived from the law regarding vicarious liability, which refers to the legal responsibility of one individual for the negligence of another based on the nature of the relationship.  For example, an employer whose employee hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk while driving to the bank to make a deposit for the employer may be vicariously liable for the negligence of the driver.  Conversely, an employee who leaves work on his or her lunch break to travel an hour away and purchase concert tickets for his or her paramour may not expose an employer to vicarious liability.

The legal concept of determining whether an injury occurs within the scope of employment also applies when assessing whether an injury is covered by workers compensation law.  The distinction between a frolic and mere detour can be extremely subtle despite the enormous impact this designation can have on a workers compensation claim.  There are a wide range of factors that may be relevant to the distinction between a frolic and a detour.  We encourage you to review Part 2 of this blog which provides an analysis of the difference between these two legal concepts.

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.

Surveillance Playing A Role In Worker’s Compensation

In the United States today the majority of Americans have, or have had a job at one point or another whether it was their first job cutting grass as a teenager, or finally their actual career. When we take on these jobs, and employment opportunities we deal with the responsibilities, the tasks, the pro’s, and of course the con’s. By doing so we can be assured that we will get our coveted paycheck each month in order to pay the bills, and maybe even have a little extra for our “rainy day” fund.

Lying And Claims

However, when you are injured on the job it is extremely important to file a worker’s compensation claim with your employer, and in a timely manner in order to address the accident, and the results of it. While the majority of worker’s compensation accidents that result in claims being filed are honest, and authentic others can be false, and ultimately impact worker’s compensation claims in the future with other employees as well. Sometimes individuals might sustain a minor injury and file a worker’s compensation claim, or possibly might even lie about an accident or injury altogether.

Eyes Wide Open

By doing this and filing a claim an individual can receive wages without working for their fake injury. Yet, how are insurance companies, and employers fighting back in order to make sure employees who file worker’s compensation claims are actually injured? Today, many insurances companies that deal with worker’s compensation claims, and even some companies themselves will enlist the help of surveillance specialists in order to make sure that their employees who claim they are injured actually truly are. One case highlights what actually can, and does happen in some worker’s compensation claims.

A man filed a worker’s compensation claim with his company sighting that he had a back injury after heavy lifting items. The man’s claim was processed and granted. However, the man was ultimately fired after his worker’s compensation claim had ended because the man who was suppose to be “bed rest” for his back injury was out on his boat with some of his friends, and neighbors.

Make sure that when you file a worker’s compensation claim to seek out the help of an experienced worker’s compensation attorney in order to help you properly identify your injury, and the proper way to go about filing it.

Changes are constantly made within the field of employment, so if you plan on filing a workman’s compensation claim, it would be best to seek professional help. It is important to have someone on your side that knows the law and knows how to make it work for you. Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law specializes in these types of case. He provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at their offices in Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Call today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.

Families Have Rights As Well

Employment is a very sticky situation today within the United States. No matter what walk of life you are you are feeling the economic recession in multiple ways whether it is inflated bills, saving over spending, or simply just not having the financial means you once did. With everyone trying to make sure that they keep their job, and keep getting paid they are doing whatever it takes to keep their employment intact. However, this is now causing a great deal of injuries on the job, which is then seen as a worker’s compensation case. However, do families actually have rights in worker’s compensation cases?

The Facts of Worker’s Compensation Today

Many jobs today can be very dangerous if employees are not trained properly, or due to the materials that employees are actually handling. Yet, we all know we are all human and accidents are a common aspect of life even within the workforce. In the employment field of construction, and building workers are put at constant risk of accidents that can easily end in serious injuries, and even death. One case truly highlights the possibilities that can easily occur on a construction sight.

Worker’s Compensation, and Your Family

A 24-year-old man was just a normal construction employee on a construction sight for a mid-sized building. However, work quickly changed to tragedy in an instant for the man and his family. The man was injured due to a forklift and was rushed to a nearby hospital in order to treat his injuries. However, the man suffered from massive internal injuries and died that same day. Although the man died is his family still able to claim compensation and damages for the accident that took place?

The answer is yes; your family may be entitled to damages, and compensation for the accident, especially if the family member that was killed while on the job was bringing the larger portion of the income home for the family, and their expenses. No matter what situation you face with worker’s compensation you need an experienced, and ultimately a dedicated worker’s compensation attorney at your side from start to finish. With an attorney at your side you expect your case, your rights, and your damages fought for appropriately.

Changes are constantly made within the field of employment, so if you plan on filing a workman’s compensation claim, it would be best to seek professional help. It is important to have someone on your side that knows the law and knows how to make it work for you. Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law specializes in these types of case. He provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at their offices in Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Call today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.

Work Place Injuries And Pain Killers

Today, individuals are working hard not only with the tasks that they are given in their jobs, but ultimately are working hard just to make sure that they still have a job at the end of the day. Due to the recession, many individuals are being let go from employment more easily each day, and are not being able to find work that has an adequate amount of pay. Unfortunately, many individuals not only suffer financially as an individual, but their overall families do as well. However, due to this people are over looking some work place injuries and turning to prescription drugs to dismiss the pain. Yet, this is causing more hurt than help for employees.

The Problem At Hand

The majority of Americans today have been given a pain medication whether it was from their doctor, or from their parent. Medications such as Ibuprofen, Advil, and Aleve are all medications that you can find at your local grocery store that are all there to alleviate pain. These usually have very little negative side effects if taken properly. However, if your pain is usually not affected by the medication you usually seek medical attention from a doctor. One pain medication that is commonly used today after many medical procedures, or given to patients experiencing discomfort is OxyContin. This drug, and those similar to it are very strong, and also addictive medications.

Why?

Yet, why would someone who is in pain take these and continue to work? Many people are under the impression today that when they are hurt, or experience a worker’s compensation incident that they will eventually be let go from employment due to the injury. From there, they get the idea to simply take the medication and push through the pain and keep going in hope that the injury will eventually heal itself. Studies show that when OxyContin was used in this type of situation that not only did employees have higher medical costs in the long run of things, but their efficiency and performance in their job was significantly lower.

When you are injured on the job it is extremely important that you take the time to take care of the injury in whatever way is needed to treat it. If not you could have life long pain, and ultimately have injuries, and disorders for the rest of your life. When you are injured on the job please contact an experienced worker’s compensation attorney in order to help you get the damages you truly deserve.

Changes are constantly made within the field of employment, so if you plan on filing a workman’s compensation claim, it would be best to seek professional help. It is important to have someone on your side that knows the law and knows how to make it work for you. Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law specializes in these types of case. He provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at their offices in Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Call today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.

Understanding Your Written Worker’s Compensation Claim

Today, the United States is within an economic recession, which ultimately impacts many different aspects of life for Americans. Whether you own a business, or work for one you are ultimately feeling the recession each and everyday. The majority of consumers today are not only spending less, but also saving more. Unfortunately, this is not only resulting in a decline of business, but also a decline in employment, which has many people doing whatever it takes to keep their current employment. Yet, when you are injured on the job you are entitled to worker’s compensation.

What Is A Claim?

A common aspect of worker’s compensation is that of actually filing a claim. Many people assume that writing a claim is as simple as filling in a few words here or there, or writing a report and having your superior sign off on it. However, that is not the case at all. Many times, claims that are written badly, or written that do not express the seriousness of the injury simply go untouched, and just end up in the trash can at the end of the day.

How A Claim Actually Works

So, how do you actually write a worker’s compensation claim that not only gets the attention that you need for you, and your injury, but also gets you the damages that you deserve? What is important that many employees need to understand is that the moment the injury takes place you have approximately 200 days in order to report the injury, and file a claim. After that, your injury can easily be disregarded, especially since you seemed to let it go unnoticed for almost a whole year.  When filing your claim you need to express extreme detail about the accident, when it took place, what caused it, the medical treatment that you had to receive as a result of it, and the physical, and financial costs it has had on you and your family.

Ultimately, when it comes down to filing a worker’s compensation claim you and your case can prosper greatly from contacting an experienced worker’s compensation claim attorney. With an attorney on your side you can expect that your rights, and your case will be fought for with dedication, and understanding. Without one, your case can easily fall in between the cracks, and your injury go unnoticed, or provided for.

Changes are constantly made within the field of employment, so if you plan on filing a workman’s compensation claim, it would be best to seek professional help. It is important to have someone on your side that knows the law and knows how to make it work for you. Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law specializes in these types of case. He provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at their offices in Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Call today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.