Kansas employers are required to provide workers' compensation benefits for their employees, including medical treatment and cash benefits.
Let your employer know right away when you have been injured on the job. You have to tell your employer within 20 days of getting medical treatment after the accident. Tell your employer when and where you were injured.
After being notified, your employer is required to submit a claim for your injury to the Workers' Compensation Board within 28 days. Your employer submits the claim using an Accident Report.
If you get sick because of your work, this is called an occupational disease and it is covered by workers' compensation. In Kansas, generally your illness will only be covered if it manifests within one year from the time of your last exposure to the hazard in the workplace. There is no time limit for illnesses resulting from radiation, and silicosis is covered as long as it manifests within three years from the last exposure.
You are required to provide written notice to your employer of your occupational illness within three months of becoming disabled, and a workers' compensation claim must be filed within one year. Radiation claims have to filed within a year after the worker first began to be incapacitated or knew or should have known the medical issues were related to radiation.
You must obtain medical care using the doctor selected by your employer and follow the doctor's instructions. You will be entitled to all of the medical care you need to recover from the injury and you will be paid for your mileage to and from your doctor's appointments.
If you want to choose your own doctor, you will only be entitled to up to $500 worth of care. However, you do have the right to ask the Director of the Workers' Compensation Board to allow you to see a new doctor.
Your medical care for treating your covered injury or illness will include:
You will normally not begin receiving workers' comp payments until you have been out of work for two weeks, and you won't be paid for your first week out of work unless you are out of work for three weeks in a row due to the injury. Your weekly temporary total disability (TTD) benefit will be two-thirds of your average weekly wages but cannot exceed 75% of Kansas' average weekly wage. As of July 2016, the maximum weekly payment is $627. You will receive benefits until you're able to return to work or until you reach maximum medical improvement--the point at which your condition has improved as much as it's going to. However, you cannot receive more than $130,000 in temporary total disability benefits.
If you have a permanent impairment that remains after you've been treated, you will also be eligible for permanent total disability (PTD) payments. To be eligible for PTD payments, you will be required to provide medical evidence that you are totally incapable of ever again being engaged in "substantial and gainful employment" (which basically means you'll never be able to work full-time). Several conditions are automatically eligible for PTD, including the loss of both eyes, the loss of both hands, feet, arms, or legs, and substantially total paralysis.
Your weekly benefit will continue to be two-thirds of your average weekly wages, subject to a weekly maximum of $627 (as of July 2016). The most you can receive in permanent total disability benefits overall is $155,000.
If, after your injury, you are able to work but not at all of your regular duties or not for your regular number of hours a week, you will be eligible for temporary partial disability. You will receive 66 2/3% of the difference between what you earned before becoming disabled and what you are able to earn since being disabled. For example, if you used to earn $600 per week but due to your disability can now earn only $400, the difference in your earnings is $200. You will receive 66 2/3% of this amount, or $132 per week.
If you have some remaining impairment--after you've been treated and your doctor says you won't further recover--but you can still work a full time job, you can collect permanent partial disability (PPD). For permanent partial disability you will receive 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage prior to the injury, but not more than $627 per week (as of July 2016).
The number of weeks that PPD benefits are available varies by the type of injury, and is determined by statute. For example, a worker is paid for 60 weeks for losing a thumb, 150 weeks for losing a hand, or 125 weeks for losing a foot. For multiple injuries to the same appendage, various lengths of payment will be combined. Loss of use of an appendage also entitles a worker to payment. In total, though, you cannot receive more than $130,000 in PPD benefits.
If you are denied benefits or do not believe you have been awarded all of the benefits you are entitled to, ask for a hearing with the Kansas Division of Workers' Compensation. You can ask for this hearing at any time up within three years after the accident or within two years after receipt of your last workers' compensation benefits, whichever is later.
For more information, see our article on Appealing a Kansas Workers' Compensation Claim. If you have any questions about applying for a hearing, call (785) 296-4000 and select option 8 or send an to email [email protected].