Let’s get back to the basics here, employers of Kansas. You need to know what’s expected of you and your employees when one of them gets hurt or sick on the job. What should you do? Who should they talk to? Where will the money come from when they need medical care and compensation for lost wages?
Slow down there, boss! Let’s take first things first. The injury happens, and the most important thing that your employee can do is to immediately let you and or their immediate supervisor know about the accident. Then you have to make sure that the injured employee, no matter how much or little they are hurt, eventually fills out a complete incident report on the accident.
Some where in there—depending on how much of an emergency the accident was—the employee must then get themselves to a doctor. It can’t be any old doctor either. In Kansas, the system is set up that the employees can only go to a managed care contracted doctor or facility—chosen by you and or your insurance company—for a workers’ comp related injury.
Then comes more forms. Make sure that you and your employee fill out what’s called a WC-9 form, which officially the written claim that they must submit within 200 days of their accident or injury.
Of course, both you and the employee need to know that even if you follow the proper procedures, this doesn’t guarantee that their claim will be accepted by the state and the insurance carrier. Even if you submit all of the proper forms, including your Employer’s Report of Accident, it doesn’t ensure 100 percent approval. It is up to the insurance adjuster to give the final verdict. However, you are definitely hurting your chances of a fast and inexpensively processed claim if you fail to follow the above procedures.
Let’s put our nose to the grindstone again, loyal readers, and look at some more states and their unique workers’ comp systems. We cannot leave Kansas out of the bunch. As with the other states that we have looked at, and the ones will look at going into the future, Kansas has a lot of different and interesting facets to its workers’ comp program and regulations.
Take how Kansas deals with the usually thorny issue of treating physicians. In the case of workers’ comp systems, the worker is entitled to the full medical treatment that would get that employee whole again, or at least to relieve the symptoms of the injury. In Kansas, though, the employer has the right to pick which physician the employee goes to for this medical treatment. The employee in this state, though, can then still decide to go to another physician. The only issue—you the employer only then have to pick up as much as $500 of those physician’s bills, and no more.
Under Kansas law, another form of the workers’ comp benefit is different as well. When an injured worker cannot return to work, under Kansas law, the employer and or their insurer must pay the employee two-thirds of their gross average weekly wage up to a certain maximum, depending on when that injury originally occurred.
You have to pay your injured employee this rate until the doctor decides to release them and allow them back to work. But no matter how long this takes, you should not have to pay more then the maximum overall compensation amount, which is $125,000 for permanent total disability, or $100,000 for permanent partial disability or temporary disability.
Permanent total disability means that your employee will never be able to come back to work in any capacity because of the injury that they suffered, whereas in temporary disability or partial disability, they can come back in some capacity.
The Kansas Workers Compensation Law provides compensation for workers who sustain job-related injuries. Benefits are paid by the employer’s insurance carrier or self-insurance program, and no charge is made to the employee.
I understand that if an injury occurs on the job, the worker must notify their employer immediately. The employee’s claim may be denied if they fail to tell the employer within 10 days of the injury. For just cause a worker may have 75 days to tell the employer of an injury. Thereafter they must file a written claim within 200 days of the accident or last date benefits are paid. Submission of an Employer’s Report of Accident does not constitute a written claim.
Upon receiving notice of an injury, the employer must provide the employee written information to assist the injured worker in understanding his rights and responsibilities in obtaining compensation. Employers must report all employee injuries to the Division of Workers Compensation within 28 days from the date of injury. Employers must also post the Kansas Workers Compensation Notice in a prominent place in their business.
An employee can not be fired, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for filing a claim in good faith. An injured worker is entitled to all medical services reasonably necessary to cure and relieve the worker from the effects of the injury. The employer has the right to select the doctor who will treat the injury. A worker may seek the services of an unauthorized doctor up to a limit of $500. A worker may apply to the Workers Compensation Director to change the authorized treating doctor.
My reading shows that an employer is not liable for workers compensation benefits if:
- A worker is impaired due to the use of alcohol or drugs and the impairment contributed to injury or death. An employee’s refusal to submit to a drug test may not be used as evidence of impairment, unless there is probable cause to believe that the employee was impaired while working.
- The employee suffers a heart attack or stroke unless it is shown that the exertion of the work that caused the injury was beyond that required by the employee’s usual job duties, or was shown to be caused by extreme heat.
- There is an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, except to the extent that the work related injury causes increased disability.
An injured employee is entitled to a weekly amount of 66 2/3% of his average weekly wage up to a maximum of 75% of the state’s average weekly wage. If the injury results in permanent disability, the law provides for additional benefits.