Tag Archives: Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Reports: Kansas Ranked One of Top Ten Most Dangerous States to Work

A recent report entitled “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” found that Kansas is one of the most dangerous states in which to work.  The study examined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which revealed that at least 88 workers in Kansas perished in workplace accidents in 2012.  The analysis was compiled by The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Bruce Tunnell, Executive Vice-President of the Kansas AFL-CIO, expressed dismay at the report, stating that it should serve as a wakeup call to our elected leaders.  Kansas employees are in danger and drastic steps must be taken to ensure they can go to work every day without fear of being injured or killed on the job.

The “Death on the Job” report places Kansas’ fatality rate at 5.7 per 100,000 workers.  This far exceeds the national average of 3.4 per 100,000 workers.  The five worst states for workers were: Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia.  The safest states included Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington (tied) and New Hampshire (tied).

No employee should risk his or her life attending work each day, but for workers in certain careers danger has sadly become a routine part of the job.  Over 4,300 fatal work injuries are suffered each year.  Though this rate has been on the decline in recent years, this high figure is still considered unacceptable by most safety organizations and the public as a whole.  The most dangerous job on the U.S. is currently considered to be logging.  Sixty two loggers were killed on the job last year, and their death rate is currently 127.8 per 100,000 full time workers.

Fishermen and women now hold the second deadliest job in America.  Fishing related professionals lose their lives at a rate of 117 per 100,000 full time workers, equating to 32 deaths in 2012.  Fishing is a hazardous but popular occupation in Alaska, which also ranks as one of the top five most dangerous places to work.

Airplane pilots are considered to have the third deadliest job.  Pilots face the constant threat of malfunctioning machinery and falling objects.  In 2012, 71 airplane pilots were killed on the job, equating to 53.4 deaths per 100,000 full time employees.

Anyone injured in a workplace accident should be entitled to compensation through the workers’ compensation system.  Almost all employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance, which covers injured employee’s medical expenses and a portion of lost wages.  Injured employees should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to obtain a full assessment of their rights.

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

Kansas’ recent ranking as one of the most dangerous states to work in is frightening for many employees and something that must be addressed immediately.  Kansas workers are the backbone of our economy and their safety should be protected to the fullest.  Any employee who has been injured in a workplace accident in Kansas should contact Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted injured workers across the state.  Our workers’ compensation firm is dedicated to ensuring injured workers obtain the compensation they deserve.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation 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 Attorney Examines Ladder and Scaffolding Accidents

Those in the construction industry often use ladders and scaffolds on a daily basis to reach elevated surfaces when repairing damage to structures or constructing new property.  When proper safety matters are not followed, construction workers may be placed at risk of catastrophic fall and potentially life threatening injuries.  In Kansas, employees who are injured on the job will usually be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, which can include coverage of medical bills, time off work, lasting disability, and more.  Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, an injured worker can sometimes seek recovery outside of the workers’ compensation system, such as in the case of a defective scaffold or ladder.

Why Do Scaffolding and Ladder Accidents Occur?

Falls from scaffolds and ladders occurring on the job site are often the result of poor maintenance, safety standards, or a manufacturer defect.  Some examples of defective designs and improper safety measures include:

  • Loose rungs
  • Improperly positioned ladders
  • Missing guardrails
  • Broken parts
  • Ladders that are not tied off or secured properly

Ladder and scaffold accidents often involve extreme heights which can result in devastating consequences.  Construction workers that fall from the heights involved in ladder and scaffold accidents will sometimes require months or even years of ongoing medical care and rehabilitation.  Permanent disabilities are not uncommon for the survivors of these serious accidents.

A wide range of injuries can result from ladder and scaffold falls, including:

    • Head injuries
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Broken bones
    • Neck and back injuries
    • Spinal cord damage
    • Internal organ damage
    • Death

All employers are under an obligation to provide employees with a safe working environment, safe equipment, and proper training.  The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) publishes the following tips to employers to help keep employees safe when using ladders or scaffolds:

  1. Plan:  You must plan to complete the job in a safe manner before the task is started.  Identify the safety equipment you will need for each task and consider the fall hazards that could present each step of the way.  By anticipating potential falls and using proper safety equipment, you can minimize the risk of falls.
  2. Provide:  As an employer, you must provide your employee with proper equipment.  All scaffolds and ladders must be inspected prior to use and kept in excellent working condition.  Additionally, all necessary fall protection equipment should be provided to employees.  This equipment will depend upon the job at hand.  All ladders should be selected based on the individual job.
  3. Train:  Employers are responsible for training their employees so that they can perform the job at hand in a safe manner.  Employees must be instructed as to the proper set up and safe operation of scaffolds, ladders, and other equipment.  All workers should be trained to recognize potential hazards associated with the use of ladders and scaffolds.

Contact Michael R. Lawless Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

For over 27 years, Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. has assisted injured workers across the state in a wide range of workers’ compensation matters.  Michael R. Lawless is an award winning workers’ compensation lawyer who will fight to see that you receive the compensation you deserve for your workplace injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, disability, and more.  For assistance with your workplace accident, call the dedicated workers’ compensation firm of Michael R. Lawless today at (913) 681-5566 or toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  We offer a free consultation to all new clients.

 

Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Reports: Talented Kansas Boxer Killed in Workplace Accident

All Kansas employees expect to be provided with reasonable, safe accommodations in the workplace. Individuals who operate heavy machinery, manufacturing equipment, or work around dangerous chemicals or moving parts expect heightened attention be paid to the safety of all employees. Unfortunately, workplace accidents are far too common in Kansas, and across the United States. Workplace injuries can range from a scrape to for more traumatic injuries such as: a crushing injury, head trauma to broken or severed limbs.

Kansas workplaces are required to maintain a safe working environment, and are often regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA. OSHA provides safety guidelines for most workplaces, and conducts investigations when workplace accidents occur. OSHA may be called in to investigate a recent workplace accident in Wichita, Kansas that resulted in the death of a talented boxer.

Media reports indicate that 22-year-old Tony Losey, a nationally known top-ranked amateur boxer, was working outside of a large tank at a steel plate fabricator when the accident occurred. Witnesses report that Losey was operating a sandblaster under a large tarp when a tank he was cleaning, upwards of 18-feet tall, shifted and fell on him. The estimated 12,000-pound tank crushed Losey killing him on impact. Investigators believe that the tank shifted without warning and that Losey attempted to get out of harm’s way but the weight and force were too great.

Investigators stated that such accidents are rare but do occur, and that generally, no one is injured when tanks like this one collapse. Investigators are working to determine if proper safety measures were in place to prevent such an accident. One nearby witness indicated that the tank was sitting on two sawhorses when it fell. Preliminary reports do not indicate whether OSHA is planning to participate in the investigation, though such action is likely.

Tragic Example for Kansas Workers

Stories like this one offer a tragic example of the dangers that workplaces can pose to employees. The young, aspiring athlete was operating in the course of his duties as a subcontractor when his life was taken. This story also highlights a common issue in workplace accidents – the issue of whether workers’ compensation benefits are available to subcontractors if they sustain a job-related injury.

Kansas law is broad concerning who classifies as an employee for workers’ compensation purposes, with exceptions for agricultural jobs, independent contractors, certain firefighters, sole proprietors, and certain vehicle drivers. The victim in this workplace accident, unfortunately, did not survive his injuries. His family, like so many others, may be left without a source of income, and no doubt are suffering from their loss. Many other Kansas workers do survive their workplace injuries and are left fighting for clarity on their rights and responsibilities while potentially living with a serious injury. Workers’ compensation is a complex area of the law that requires the skill of trained legal representatives.

Get Help Fast

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, do not wait to get help. Act quickly to see what your rights and responsibilities are, as well as what options may be available to you. Contact the Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Michael R. Lawless, P.A. to find out more about our state’s personal injury and workers’ compensation laws. We have been fighting for the rights of injured clients for nearly three decades, and will fight for you. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us right away toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You may also leave us a message electronically and we will respond as soon as possible.

Kansas Workers’ Compensation and Repetitive Motion or Cumulative Trauma Injuries

Millions of workers each year suffer from injuries that are not the result of sudden or traumatic injury; rather, these injuries develop gradually over an extended period of time at work, during a course of repetitive actions.  Repetitive stress injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and cumulative trauma injuries are all terms used to commonly describe injuries that occur over time from actions or exposures on the job.  Repetitive stress injuries can have just as a debilitating an effect, if not more so, than sudden injuries, often leaving the employee unable to perform vital work tasks or even daily living activities.

Under Kansas workers’ compensation law, cumulative trauma and repetitive stress injuries are recognized to the same extent as specific injuries caused by a singular event.  However, it is often more difficult for an injured employee to prove the repetitive stress injury arose within the course and scope of employment, and the employer was timely notified.  As such, employees who are suffering from repetitive stress injuries will often require the assistance of an experienced Kansas workers’ compensation attorney to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Repetitive Jobs

Repetitive motion injuries can occur in nearly any workplace, but those jobs are require employees to repeat the same motions over and over are most likely to cause repetitive stress injuries.  Employees in the following occupations are statistically more likely to develop cumulative trauma injuries:

  • Factory workers, including shoe and clothing factory workers
  • Shipping and packing workers
  • Bus drivers
  • Fish processing workers
  • School teachers
  • Typists and secretaries
  • Machinists, insulators, and other employees who are exposed to harmful airborne substances on a frequent basis
  • Paints
  • Police officers and firearm, who often experience psychological injury from cumulative emotional stress
  • Janitors
  • Cleaning people
  • Administrative assistants
  • Truck drivers

Injuries Associated with Repetitive Motion and Cumulative Trauma

Some of the injuries most commonly associated with repetitive motion or cumulative trauma in the workplace include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Hearing loss
  • Back injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Asthma and lung disease
  • Knee injuries
  • Wrist or hand pain
  • Emotional injury
  • Epicondylitis

All of these injuries can have a debilitating impact on an employee, frequently resulting in substantial medical bills, physical therapy, and missed time from work.

Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Repetitive Motion and Cumulative Trauma Injuries

Under Kansas’ workers’ compensation system, repetitive stress injuries arising within the workplace are recognized and included within the system.  Employees who experience such injuries must notify their employer as soon as possible, as there are deadlines within which to provide notice or risk foreclosure of your action.

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

Injuries due to repetitive stress or cumulative trauma can be among the most difficult to obtain adequate workers’ compensation coverage due to the prolonged nature of the injuries and often intensive medical treatment required. If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or if you are confused as to the workers’ compensation claim process, Michael R. Lawless, P.C. can help.  The Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of Michael R. Lawless, PA, devotes his practice to helping injured clients obtain the benefits they deserve.  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 Workers’ Compensation Attorney Discusses Workers’ Compensation and Crush Injuries

Each year, over 120,000 workers will suffer from crush injuries which occur when the body is caught or trapped between two objects or entangled in machinery.  These hazards are sometimes referred to as “pinch points.”  The physical force exerted on the body when trapped in a pinch point can vary, resulting in injuries that range from scraping and bruising to mangled limbs, amputated body parts, and death.

Crush injuries are among the most serious injuries experienced by Kansas workers.  Employees injured in a pinch point can pursue compensation for their medical expenses, missed time from work, physical therapy, permanent disability, and more through Kansas’ workers’ compensation system.

Common Causes of Crush Injuries

There are a number of causes of crush injuries on the job site, including:

  • Being hit by a falling object, such as a piece of equipment or machinery
  • Being pinned down or stuck between two objects, such as a building and a piece of equipment or a motor vehicle
  • The collapse of a structure on top of the employee
  • Limbs stuck in machinery
  • Being run over by equipment or machinery
  • Equipment tipping over, trapping the employee
  • Defects in equipment or machinery

The potential for crush injuries exists in most workplaces, but they happen with regularity in the manufacturing and construction fields.

Injuries that Result from Being Crushed  

When an employee’s body is crushed between two objects, the muscle cells start to die almost instantly.  There are three mechanisms within the body that cause the cells to die.  The disruption of the cells experienced when a part of the body is crushed is referred to as lysis. The continued pressure exerted on the muscle cells causes them to become ischemic, during which period they generate lactic acid and begin to leak.  Vascular compromise refers to the lack of blood flow that often results from compression of vessels experienced during a crush injury.

Crush injury victims may sustain the following injuries:

  • Damage to muscles
  • Damage to skin tissue
  • Damage to nerves
  • Severing of limbs
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Amputation of limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Organ damage
  • Death

Crush injuries often lead to severe disability and have a high probability of complications, such as swelling, infection, blood clots, phantom pain, heart problems, and the need for further amputation.  The extent of the injury will depend on the unique circumstances, including the part of the body involved and the time spent being stuck between two objects.

A Kansas workers’ compensation attorney will help you to obtain coverage for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, permanent disability, and more.  Even if the accident was partially your fault, you can receive compensation for expenses stemming from your workplace accident.

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

Crush injuries in the workplace are among the most severe and more difficult to obtain adequate workers’ compensation coverage due to the serious and sometimes long-term injuries that result.   If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or if you are confused as to the workers’ compensation claim process, Michael R. Lawless, P.C. can help.  The Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of Michael R. Lawless, PA, devotes his practice to helping injured clients obtain the benefits they deserve.  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.

Electrocution and Burn Injuries in the Kansas Workplace

Electrical accidents happen most frequently in the workplace.  According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, electrocution is the fifth leading cause of workplace related deaths.  Each year, over 500 workers will perish by electrocution on the job site.  Employees whose jobs place them in close proximity to electrical sources are at the highest risk for electrocution and electrical burns.

Those who experience an electrical injury on the job site in Kansas generally have the right to receipt of workers’ compensation benefits.  Workers’ compensation insurance will cover an injured employee’s medical bills and a portion of lost wages.  Further, all employees are protected from retaliatory action for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Shocked on the Job: Who Is Most at Risk for Electrical Injuries?

Employees working in the following fields have a heightened risk of electrocution and electrical accidents:

  • Electricians
  • Utility workers
  • Construction workers
  • Manufacturing workers

Overhead power lines are the number one source of electrical fatalities, so anyone who works at a job that requires contact with power lines is at a high risk for electrocution.

Electric Shock, Electrocution, and Burns

Electric shock occurs often as a result of ungrounded power supplies, wear and tear in machines or wiring, a lack of safety gear on machines, and contact with overhead or underground electrical cords.

Common electric shock injuries include:

  • Burns
  • Tissue, nerve, or muscle damage
  • Respiratory and cardiac arrest
  • Organ damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Brain damage
  • Neurological damage
  • Heart attack
  • Internal bleeding
  • Wrongful death by electrocution

Burn injuries are not caused solely by fires.  Electrical accidents, explosions, chemical exposure, defective products, and workplace accidents can also inflict to burns.  Electrical burns are often severe and lead to:

  • Infection
  • Tissue and nerve damage
  • Loss of sight, smell, hearing, or taste
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Inhalation injuries

Liability for Electric Shock Injuries

Employees injured in an electrical accident will often incur significant medical bills, require an extended recovery time, and be unable to maintain work obligations.  Workers additionally experience pain and suffering and sometimes troubling emotional or psychological affects.  Regardless of fault for the accident, Kansas employees injured in electrical accidents may pursue benefits through workers’ compensation.  Additionally, any family who loses a loved one due to electrocution may seek death benefits through workers’ compensation insurance.

The workers’ compensation process can be complex and often the insurer will deny coverage or limit benefits.  All injured employees, and particularly those who experienced an injury that resulted in a long term disability, should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney early on who can help ensure they receive the full extent of the benefits to which they are entitled.

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

Injuries due to electrocution can be among the most severe and more difficult to obtain adequate workers’ compensation coverage due to the serious and sometimes long-term injuries that result.  If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or if you are confused as to the workers’ compensation claim process, Michael R. Lawless, P.C. can help.  The Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of Michael R. Lawless, PA, devotes his practice to helping injured clients obtain the benefits they deserve.  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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation in Kansas: Part I

Hundreds of thousands of workers will be injured on the job each year.  For most employees, workers’ compensation insurance will offer the sole avenue for recovery of medical bills and lost wages.  However, countless workers will have their claims denied or receive less than they are entitled to.  Kansas employees injured on the jobsite are often confused concerning their legal rights following the accident and how best to protect them.  In an effort to help you better understand workers’ compensation insurance and your rights under it, we have prepared a two part compilation of frequently asked questions.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance contract, required by law to provide compensation for injuries sustained which arise out of and in the course of employment.  The workers’ compensation system is designed to offer a reliable procedure for compensating employees for work-related injury or industrial illness.

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system.  Injured workers will be covered for their injuries regardless of whether they acted negligently or contributed to the accident.  In exchange for such broad coverage, the employee is prevented from suing the employer for the injury, except under limited circumstances.

Most employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation, but certain small or agricultural employers will be exempt.

What are the time limits in a Kansas workers’ compensation claim?

In Kansas, workers are required to orally report the accident or injury to the employer with ten days of its occurrence.  In some cases, an employee will be allowed 75 days if just cause is shown for the delay.  The employee then has 200 days from the date of the accident to serve a written claim upon the employer.  Within three years of the accident, an Application for Hearing must be filed with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Failure to notify your employer of the accident within the requisite time periods can forever bar your claim.  Therefore, it is important to act fast and report your accident as soon as possible.

What benefits does workers’ compensation provide?

Workers’ compensation will provide medical and disability benefits.  Kansas’ workers compensation insurance offers 100% coverage for medical expenses incurred due to an accident, including prescription drug coverage, medical appliances, physical therapy, transportation to and from doctors offices, and the like.  The employer does have the right to select the medical provider, but the employee has a fund of $500 to spend on unauthorized medical treatment.

Disability benefits are both temporary and permanent.  The maximum benefits are capped at two-thirds the employees’ average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount which changes annually.

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

Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and stressful.  Those injured on the job may experience uncertainty as to whether they should file a workers’ compensation claim.  It is important that any injured worker fully understand their rights and obligations that are attached to filing a workers’ compensation claim before actually deciding 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.

Falls on the Jobsite in Kansas

Over 260,000 individuals across the U.S. will experience a fall on the job that requires time off work.  Close to 1,000 employees will die in fatal falls in America.  In Kansas, hundreds of work related falls are reported to the workers’ compensation board annually.  Some of the most common falls include falling off non-moving motor vehicles and ladders.  Over 100 employees die after falling off ladders each year and more than 60 perish from falling off non-moving vehicles.

Dangerous Occupations

Falls can happen in nearly any workplace, but employees in certain occupations are at a greater risk of serious falls.  The vast majority of workplace falls occur in the fields of:

  • Farming
  • Forestry
  • Fishing occupations
  • Construction laborers
  • Carpenters
  • Miners
  • Roofers
  • Structural metal workers
  • Construction supervisors

Studies show the majority of fall related deaths and injuries, some 50%, happen in the construction industry.  This can be attributed to the fact that so many construction workers must perform tasks at high elevations, involving ladders and scaffolding.  Further, the construction industry is generally fast paced and tough deadlines are enforced.  Many temporary or seasonal workers are employed, who may or may not be properly trained.

Types of Work Related Falls

Many different types of falls can occur on the jobsite.  Some of the most common causes of falls while at work include:

  • Falls from ladders
  • Falls from one level to another, i.e. from the roof, down the steps or stairs, from building girders or structural steel, or from trees
  • Falls from scaffolding, staging
  • Falls on the same level
  • From nonmoving vehicles

Injuries Stemming from Falls

An employee’s injuries will depend greatly on the cause of the fall and individual circumstances.  Some of the most common injuries sustained in a fall include:

  • Head injury
  • Brain injury
  • Neck and back injury
  • Broken limbs
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Internal organ damage
  • Death

Obtaining Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Fall Injuries

In the state of Kansas, nearly all public and private employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  Employees who are injured in a fall will generally be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits so long as they can show the injury arose in the course and scope of employment.  Further, the employee must notify the supervisor of the accident and their injuries must be severe enough to require either medical attention or time off work.

Workers’ compensation benefits can include: payment for medical bills, prescription drug costs, rehabilitation, wage replacement, mileage reimbursement, and more.

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

Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and stressful.  Those injured in falls on the job may experience uncertainty as to whether they should file a workers’ compensation claim.  It is important that any injured worker fully understand their rights and obligations that are attached to filing a workers’ compensation claim before actually deciding 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.

Slip and Fall Injuries in the Workplace

The majority of workplace accidents in Kansas and across the nation result from slip and falls.  Slip and falls at work constitute 15% of all accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicles as a cause of accidental fatalities.  Even a minor trip or slip on the jobsite can have serious consequences, leading to head injury, brain injury, sprained muscles, or broken bones, all of which can keep an employee from being able to attend work and perform essential tasks.

Kansas employees injured in slip and fall accidents while on the jobsite may have a valid workers’ compensation claim.  Under the Kansas workers’ compensation system, employees who are injured in a slip and fall accident while in the course and scope of employment will receive benefits.  Employees must timely report their slip and fall injury or their claim will be barred.  Further, employees must sustain injuries significant enough to require medical attention or missed work time in order to obtain benefits.

Slip and fall accident victims can receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses, mileage reimbursements, prescription drug costs, payment for vocational rehabilitation, and wage replacement.  Employees who suffer severe injuries, leaving them totally or partially disabled, may be eligible for more extensive benefits.  The family members of those who die in a slip and fall accident while at work could receive death benefits.

Types of Workplace Slip and Falls

There are two general types of workplace falls: same-level falls and elevated falls.

Same level falls account for 65% of all falls.  Common causes of same-level falls include:

  • Slippery surfaces—spills of slippery products or liquid occur in workplaces across Kansas, from retail stores to warehouses and service industry locales.  Slippery surface falls can result in relatively minor injuries like bruising and contusions, but can also cause serious injuries such as fractures or traumatic brain injury.
  • Snow and ice—during the winter months, employers have a duty to keep the workplace, including sidewalks and parking lots, free from dangerous ice or snow.  Despite this obligation, Kansas employees often find themselves slipping and falling on icy surfaces during the winter months.
  • Trips—employees often trip from walking over uneven surfaces or into miss placed or poorly positioned objects.  Employers must take care to fix uneven sidewalks and walking surfaces, including parking areas.  They must also keep the workplace free of debris.

Elevated falls are those that occur from a height.  These falls often occur in the construction industry, agriculture, mining, forestry, and other such occupations.  Elevated falls hold the potential for serious injury and can result in death.

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

Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and stressful.  Those injured in a slip and fall accident on the job in Kansas may experience uncertainty as to whether they should file a workers’ compensation claim.  It is important that any injured worker fully understand their rights and obligations that are attached to filing a workers’ compensation claim before actually deciding 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 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.