Tag Archives: Kansas City Workers Compensation lawyer

How Do I Know if My Back Injury is Work-Related in Kansas?

Many workplace injuries are sudden, and it is clear when you have been injured or become ill due to something that happened on one occasion in the workplace setting. However, some injuries develop over time and are a little more difficult to link to the workplace. A very common injury that many workers have are a variety of back problems. Depending on your job duties, back problems can occur suddenly, or they can occur slowly over a period of time.

Does Your Job Description Require Physical Labor?

If you are required to lift heavy items as part of your job description, and you have been working in this position for quite some time, you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim that can link your back injury to the workplace. On the other hand, if your job function requires you to sit down all day and simply do clerical work such as typing, answering the phones and the like, then you may have a difficult time successfully filing a workers’ compensation claim. For you to recover, you would have to prove that your back injury was the result of some particular incident that happened in the workplace. For example, if you fell and hurt your back on one occasion while at work, then you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim where you can receive compensation to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. If you cannot link your back injury to any particular event, then you may not be able to receive compensation.

As part of filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be required to produce documentation that you did not have any back injuries prior to starting the job you currently have. If it is found that you have a previous diagnosis that relates to your back injury, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier may have grounds to deny your workers’ compensation claim. However, if there is no record of you having a back injury prior to working at your current job, then you may be able to receive the compensation you deserve.

In order to understand the workers’ compensation process, and to know what documentation you will need, it is best to speak with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible before you file a workers’ compensation claim. An attorney can answer key questions before you start the process of filing a claim and having to seek medical treatment for your condition. It is best to know right away what you are facing. An attorney will evaluate your potential workers’ compensation claim and provide you with an honest opinion as to whether you will be able to link your back injury to a workplace incident, whether that incident was a sudden, one-time thing, or if it was a series of incidents that occurred over time.

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

If you believe your back injury is work-related, you may be entitled to compensation. In order to learn more, you need to speak with a qualified Kansas workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Instead of filing a claim on your own, allow an attorney to ensure you can prove that your back injury is a result of workplace activity. This can be difficult to prove at times, and Kansas workers’ compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless has the skill and 27 years of experience to link your injury to the workplace. To learn more, contact Michael R. Lawless today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential workers’ compensation claim. You can reach our Lenexa, Kansas office by calling (913) 681-5566, or you may reach us toll-free by calling 1 (800) 734-3771. If you wish to contact us online, we will get back with you 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.

Why You Need a Kansas Workers Compensation Attorney

Many Kansas employees that work in hazardous jobs like public safety, construction, agriculture, manufacturing and other occupations suffer on-the-job injuries. When employees are injured in a work related accident or suffer a repetitive motion injury or occupational illness, they often attempt to precede pro se without an attorney. While there is no requirement that workers compensation claimants be represented by an attorney, empirical evidence establishes that claimants who are represented by a Kansas workers compensation attorney fair more favorably than those who are unrepresented.

The Missouri Lawyers Weekly conducted a study after the state significantly modified their workers compensation statutes in 2005. The study revealed that workers compensation claimants represented by attorneys received settlements that were almost forty percent higher than those who were not represented by an attorney. The disparity was even greater after the legislative changes with represented clients receiving settlements that were double that of those who did not have an attorney representing their interests.

As this research demonstrates, the fact that an injured worker can pursue a workers compensation claim without an attorney does not mean that it is a good idea to do so. Workers compensation attorneys typically have in-house counsel on staff that review claims and provide legal advice on how to mitigate the amount of a claim or deny it entirely. When a party proceeds through the workers compensation process without legal representation, the workers compensation insurer has a significant advantage in terms of resources, experience, medical experts and legal advice.

While receiving reduced benefits without a Kansas workers compensation attorney is a significant disadvantage, the speed that one receives benefits also will typically be compromised. Workers compensation insurance representatives handle an enormous volume of claims. Because they have limited time to handle claims, they must prioritize which to move to the top of the stack for processing and which to defer until later. Experienced Kansas workers compensation attorneys can use court appearances to force the workers compensation carrier to explain of justify unjustified delay. This means additional costs are incurred so there is less motivation to drag the process out when a claimant is represented by a workers compensation lawyer.

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 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 II]

In Part I of this blog, we indicated that the Kansas workers compensation system only covers workplace injuries that occur within the “scope of employment.”   When an injury occurs while an employee is not at his or her place of employment, the distinction between a “detour” and “frolic” is critical to determining workers compensation coverage as we discussed in Part I of this blog.  While both terms refer to a deviation from one’s work duties, this distinction is fact sensitive and often bitterly contested by workers compensation insurance attorneys.  We have provided an overview of relevant factors that may be considered when determining whether coverage is applicable.

Location of the Injury: If the location of the accident that causes injury to an employee is a location where the employee routinely works, the accident is more likely to be considered a detour so that workers compensation coverage is appropriate.  While this may include the business facility, it would also include destinations where the employee makes deliveries, or the type of worksites where an employee typically performs job-related duties.  A heavy machinery operator may have never been to the site of a particular construction project before; however, the employee routinely operates a crane for the employer on building sites.

Position of Authority: When the person that suffers injury is a manager, it may be presumed that a broader scope of job duties and discretion would have been authorized than for an entry level employee.

Timing of Incident: This factor may be relevant in two separate respects.  The first is the duration of time that the employee was engaged in the activity outside his or her employment duties that resulted in injury.  A brief departure like driving a couple blocks out of the way to get Starbucks when picking up building supplies may be only detour as opposed to driving an hour away on one’s lunch break to see a movie with a friend.  It may also be relevant if the activity occurred during normal business hours, but this is not necessarily dispositive.  For example, if non-managerial employees get together informally after work for drinks, this may constitute a frolic.  However, a car accident on the way to a restaurant for the company Christmas party may justify workers compensation coverage if the crash occurs while the employee is headed home to change clothes.

Nature of Job Duties: Workers compensation coverage is more likely if the activities are somehow related to the employee’s job duties even if in some tangential way.

Foreseeability of the Departure: If the employer has reason to know that the employee has a pattern of running errands for the employer while also handling personnel tasks or otherwise had access to information that made the departure predictable, this factor may support coverage.

Motivation for Excursion: If the purpose of the excursion benefits the employer, this will tend to support the conclusion that the incident was within the course of employment.

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.

Recent Changes in Kansas Workers Compensation Laws Pose Challenges

Kansas is one of several states to implement major changes to its workers compensation system in recent years.  Many injured workers are unaware of the challenges these changes may create for employees seeking compensation for serious injuries that are not the result of a sudden accident but result from a prolonged course of exposure to degenerative conditions like repetitive motion injuries.  We have provided an overview of some special considerations that every employee in Kansas with an injury that occurs over time should consider.

Prior to the overhaul in Kansas workers compensation laws about a year and a half ago, employees had two and a half months to report a work-related injury to their employer.  The recent changes in Kansas workers compensation laws shortened this reporting time to twenty days.  This time limit can be extremely unfair for an employee with an injury like carpel tunnel.  Carpal tunnel may not immediate manifest symptom because it is a degenerative condition rather than an injury caused by a sudden traumatic accident.

The delayed symptoms of carpel tunnel may not occur when an employee is actually at work.  If the onset of symptoms, such as pain, burning and tingling in the palm of the hand or fingers is during the time when an employee is not at work, there may be no reason to expect the employee to associate the injury with work duties.  If the worker goes to his or her primary care physician, this will generally lead to a referral out to a specialist.  The specialist may order diagnostic exams, but the process of a medical professional diagnosing the injury and linking it to work duties may take several weeks so that the employee fails to report the injury to his or her employer in a timely fashion.

The risk for employees of failing to report the injury within the required time is compounded because the employee’s health insurance may deny coverage for injuries that are work-related and fall under the auspices of workers compensation insurance.

Another issue that may arise because of the revisions made to Kansas workers compensation laws when employees suffer degenerative injuries involves establishing the “prevailing factor.”  The revisions made to the workers compensation system require that job duties be the prevailing factor in causing a work-related injury.  If a woman is pregnant, gestational diabetes increases a woman’s susceptibility to carpel tunnel.  Because the physician will refer the employee to a physician, this complicates the process of proving the prevailing factor was an employee’s job duties.  This may result in the need for 2nd opinions or increased litigation costs for injured workers in Kansas.

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.

Seeking More Extensive Recovery for Kansas Workplace Injuries: Third Party Liability

While the Kansas workers compensation system can provide an effective means to obtain medical care and partial replacement for lost income resulting from workplace injuries, the compensation available under an employer’s workers compensation system may be more limited than personal injury damages.  Compensation under an employer’s workers compensation insurance typically will be limited to medical care, temporary disability benefits and compensation based on an employee’s percentage of permanent disability.

While these benefits can provide an important means for injury victims to get their lives back on track after a workplace accident, there are many forms of damages available in a personal injury lawsuit that are not available as part of a Kansas workers compensation claim.  Some of the types of damages that are exclusively available in a civil lawsuit for personal injury include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
  • Diminished enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress/Mental anguish

These forms of non-economic damages often constitute the most significant components of a damage award in a personal injury lawsuit so the unavailability of these forms of financial recovery can significantly impact one’s financial security following a worksite injury.  Recovery for economic losses like lost wages and diminished earning potential also is frequently more extensive in a personal injury lawsuit than a workers compensation claim.

The primary benefit of pursuing a claim under Kansas workers compensation insurance is the speed of recovery and the lack of necessity of establishing the fault of one’s employer.  Because of the less extensive recovery, many times our Kansas workers compensation law firm will also explore the viability of a personal injury claim against responsible third parties.  While the workers compensation system generally provides an exclusive remedy against an employer for on-the-job injuries and fatalities, a third party that was negligent may still be sued for personal injury even if an injured employee receives benefits through the workers compensation system.

When our Kansas workers compensation law firm represents a worker injured while performing duties for their employer, we explore the factual circumstances to identify potential third parties who may be sued as defendants in a civil lawsuit for damages.  Sometimes the conduct of product suppliers, manufacturers of defective equipment, contractors and other parties may contribute to a workplace injury.

If you or someone close to you has suffered an employment-related injury, experienced Kansas workers compensation lawyer Michael R. Lawless can help you pursue your workers compensation claim and even a personal injury lawsuit based on third party liability.  Our Lenexa, KS workers compensation law firm offers a free consultation so call us toll free at 1-800-734-3771 or visit our website and submit a case inquiry form.

Am I Eligible for Kansas Workers Compensation Benefits If I Was Negligent?

Kansas workers compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless receives many inquiries from injured employees regarding their rights to recover financial compensation when their own conduct contributes to their injuries.  Tragically, there are some workers that simply presume that they cannot be compensated for injuries caused by their own negligence while working for their employer.  This assumption is based on a misunderstanding of the basic “no fault” premise of the workers compensation system.  An employee injured on the job in Kansas can generally recover for injuries incurred in the scope of employment even if the employee’s own conduct contributed to the injuries.

The Kansas workers compensation system is designed to provide an efficient mechanism for employees to obtain medical treatment, income replacement and compensation for permanent disability, which may include a lump sum payout.  While the “no fault” nature of workers compensation insurance is designed to eliminate the complexity and delay of litigation, it typically provides far more limited forms of compensation than the damages that are generally available in a personal injury lawsuit.

When an injury victim fails to exercise reasonable care to prevent self-injury, this is referred to as comparative negligence under Kansas personal injury law.  Comparative negligence by an injury victim will reduce damages that may be recovered in a personal injury action and even bar recovery entirely where the injury victim bears a greater degree of fault than the defendant(s).  However, there is no such reduction of recovery when pursuing a workers compensation claim based on an employee’s negligence subject to limited exceptions.

There are a limited number of situations in which an employee’s conduct in contributing to an injury may negate the employee’s right to benefits under an employer’s workers compensation insurance, such as:

  • Injuries where alcohol, narcotic or prescription drug impairment contributes to the injury
  • The employee intentionally causes his or her own injury
  • Willful refusal to use safety equipment required by statute
  • Reckless violation of employer safety regulations/rules
  • Willful decision not to use reasonable safety guards provided by the employer
  • Injuries caused by fighting or horseplay with a co-worker

While these conditions may seem straightforward, disputes can arise about whether these exceptions apply to a particular workers compensation claim.  A physical fight with a co-worker may be covered, for example, if the fight arises out of an employment related dispute.  However, a fight at the worksite related to a personal dispute between co-workers generally will not be covered by workers compensation.

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 injury law firm may also be able to assist you in pursuing a civil lawsuit for damages against a third party that contributed to your injuries so call us toll free at 1-800-734-3771 or visit our website and submit a case inquiry form.

What Can You Expect From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

In our lives it is very hard to predict what we will encounter every day especially when it comes down to that of our duties and tasks within our employment. Naturally, we can expect a few aspects of our day to occur normally. However, accidents and mistakes on the job associated with our job tasks and duties are a very common aspect of our employment whether we realize it or not. While some accidents can result in us simply having to start something over from scratch such as a project, others can leave us with injuries that affect our health now, and later down the road.

Typically, when individuals hear of an employee being injured, or hurt on the job they immediately relate it to either a construction-manufacturing job, or a job that is more demanding with that of physical labor. However, would you be surprised that individuals who sit at desks each and every day also can be injured, which can affect not only their lives now, but in the long run of things as well?

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is one type of injury that many employees that hold desk jobs and duties can be seen with today. Yet, what is this exactly? Carpal Tunnel syndrome deals with the median nerve that is located within your wrist, and the amount of pressure that is exerted on it over a period of time. Eventually, by the continuation of pressure on the nerve it can result in an individual dealing with numbness, pain, tingling, and difficulty doing any type of sensitive, or detailed work that involves your fingers. Carpal Tunnel syndrome does not simply occur over night and occurs over a period of time.

Usually, employees with Carpal Tunnel syndrome cannot continually work normally like many others, and are forced to stop multiple times throughout their work days in order to let their hands, and wrists rest. Make sure when you are dealing with Carpal Tunnel syndrome as a result from your employment that you seek out an experienced workers compensation attorney to help address your case, your rights, and your needs associated with your illness.

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.

Some of the of the Issues You Could Face With Workers Compensation

Employment is an aspect of our lives today that we heavily rely on, which we have learned from a very young age. When many of us are teenagers we learn the value of a dollar from working our various part-time jobs whether it is that of waiting tables, or mowing lawns in our neighborhood. From these jobs, and experiences we understand what responsibilities are expected of us from our income that later helps us when we enter the world of adulthood. However, as employees, we can easily come to terms with issues that could potentially hinder us from not only being able to work, but also be paid.

Can You Expect To Be Compensated Appropriately?

Workers compensation is one aspect of the workplace that affects many individuals each and everyday. What is workers compensation though? Workers compensation grants employees that are injured on the job appropriate damages related to their injury that contribute to medical bills and garnished wages, as well as time off of work in order to heal. However, the issue today within many work places is not workers compensation itself, but granting it appropriately to those when it is necessary. Many times, employees are not given workers compensation for injuries that occurred on the job that did not actually pertain to their duties as an employee.

The Issues You Face

This aspect of workers compensation can be seen easily in one recent case. An employee was on her way to her supervisor’s office in order to ask a question pertaining to a recent request that was made. On the way to her supervisor’s office is a set of stairs that, at the time, were dangerously covered in water. As a result, the employee slipped, and fell from the stairs, which resulted in her sustaining injuries. However, her employer, and company did not cite her injury as an injury that was related to her job duties, and was denied workers compensation.

When these instances arise you need an experienced, and ultimately dedicated workers compensation attorney on your side from the beginning in order to fight diligently for your case, and the potential damages that go hand-in-hand with your on the job accident, and injury.

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.

The Science of Worker’s Compensation Claims

Every day within our lives we are bound to make a mistake, or have an accident of some sorts. While some mistakes can cause small accidents to occur that leave us just slapping ourselves on the wrist others can be very serious that result in some dangerous, and serious consequences. One type of accident, or mistake that occurs quite often is that of an accident while on the job, or while participating in a workplace task. When you are injured as the result of the accident the next step that you take is that of filing a worker’s compensation claim. Yet, do you understand the actual science of a claim?

Assessing Assumptions

How a worker’s compensation claim actually works is pretty simple. An employee will fill out the necessary paperwork with the appropriate information pertaining to the accident such as how it happen, what actually happened, and the results and injuries that were sustained from it. Many people are under the impression that when they file a claim that they will be granted the appropriate damages, but that is not the case at all. Many times, when the claim is brought forward either to an authoritative entity, or a board they actually decide whether or not to award compensation.

Another assumption of a worker’s compensation claim is that if you have medical proof, or “scientific opinion” that your claim is valid that you will be awarded compensation. However, that is not true as well. While “scientific opinion” is somewhat taken into account of worker’s compensation claims it is not required in most cases. This means that even though you may have a letter from a physician or heath professional stating that you are injured it does not really do anything for your claim besides let you know what injuries you did receive from the accident, and their severity.

When you are injured on the job it is very wise to seek out medical attention in order to make check on the severity of your injuries as well as your overall health regardless of whether or not its deemed necessary by some claims boards. Finally, when dealing with a worker’s compensation claim of any degree it is best to seek out the knowledge and dedication of an experienced worker’s compensation attorney in order to fight for your rights, your potential damages, and your case.

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.