Olathe Workers’ Compensation Claims Lawyer
Kansas and Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
I have handled workers’ compensation cases for over 40 years. I am licensed in Missouri and Kansas. In 1969 I graduated from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. In 1972 I graduated “with distinction” from University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law. In law school I was a member and research editor of the UMKC Law Review.
During the first 20 years of my legal practice I represented employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers in Missouri and Kansas. After doing that for so long, I decided to change directions. I resigned as a workers’ compensation attorney for the insurance companies, and for the next 20 plus years I have only represented injured people in workers’ compensation and other personal injury claims.
I have seen the workers’ compensation system from both sides, and I am quite familiar with it. I served as the Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Law and Procedure Committee of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association in the early 1990’s, and for about five years I planned and was the moderator for the annual Kansas City workers’ compensation seminar sponsored by the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and the UMKC law school.
I am a sole practitioner, which means I am the only attorney in my office. I handle my cases personally, and I believe in returning phone calls and emails promptly. In additional to representing injured workers in Kansas and Missouri, I also represent injured people and their families in medical malpractice, wrongful death and other personal injury claims. I spend about 70% of my time handling workers’ compensation cases in Kansas and Missouri and 30% handling wrongful death, medical malpractice and other personal injury claims.
I am rated “A-V” (5 out of 5, Preeminent) by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and www.lawyers.com, the highest rating available. I generally handle workers’ compensation cases for injured workers in Missouri and Kansas within about a 150 mile radius of the Kansas City area. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call!
Here is some basic information about your rights under the worker’s compensation laws:
Your rights under workers’ compensation laws.
As an injured worker, you have the right to have your employer or workers’ compensation insurance company pay for all necessary medical treatment. Under both Kansas and Missouri law, the employer has the right to choose the treating doctor. However, under Kansas law, you can incur up to $500.00 in unauthorized medical expenses from any doctor you like, and the insurance company will be required to pay up to that amount.
Also, if the doctor certifies that you are unable to work, you will be entitled to weekly checks known as temporary total disability benefits. Generally, your temporary total benefits are two-thirds of your gross average weekly wage subject to certain maximums which increase each year.
You may also be entitled to compensation for permanent disability or permanent impairment as a result of your injury. The amount you will receive for your permanent injury depends on the extent of your impairment and disability, as determined by doctors or vocational experts, the part of the body injured and your average wage at the time of your injury.
If you are unable to return to any work because of your injury, you may qualify for permanent total disability benefits. In permanent total disability cases, you are entitled to a weekly benefit for your entire life, except that Kansas law provides a cap of only $155,000.00 for these benefits. There is no cap for these benefits in Missouri.
What to do if you are injured at work.
If you are hurt at work, the first thing you should do is immediately report your injury to your supervisor. Do not delay in reporting your injury. You can lose your protection by not reporting your injury right away. The next thing you should do is request medical treatment. It is the employer’s obligation to provide you medical care. Under Kansas and Missouri law, the employer has the right to select the treating doctor. If the employer does not refer you to a specific doctor, you should ask the employer if it is all right for you to see your own doctor or whether they have a particular doctor they want you to see.
Also, the laws in Kansas and Missouri contain time limits known as statutes of limitation. In Kansas, an Application for Hearing must be filed with the Kansas Division of Workers’ Compensation within three years of the date of accident or two years of the last payment of compensation or authorized medical treatment, whichever is later. In Missouri, a claim must be filed with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation within two years of the date of accident, last payment of compensation or last authorized medical treatment, or within three years of the last of those dates if the employer failed to file the report of injury with the state as required by law. A claim against the Missouri Second Injury Fund must be filed within two years of the date of accident or within one year after a claim is filed against the employer or insurer, whichever is later.
Do I need a lawyer for my workers’ compensation claim?
An experienced lawyer can assist you during all stages of your workers’ compensation claim.
If your employer has denied that your accident occurred at work, or will not provide necessary medical treatment, you will probably need a lawyer to pursue your claim. In situations of denial or refusal to treat, your lawyer will file for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge who can order your employer and the insurer to provide you benefits.
Also, if you are not satisfied with the company doctor, a lawyer can assist you in obtaining treatment from a different physician. A lawyer can also ensure that you are being paid all the money you are entitled to during the time you are off work because of your injury. It is possible for the insurance carrier to miscalculate your average wage or leave out overtime that you worked before the accident which should be included in your wage calculation.
You may be satisfied with the medical treatment you received and the weekly benefits you were paid, but you still may have questions regarding your permanent disability settlement. An experienced lawyer can analyze your case, have you seen by another doctor or vocational expert and be sure that you receive a fair and just settlement for your permanent disability. The workers’ compensation insurance company will not have your best interests in mind in trying to reach a settlement with you.
Contact Our Office
We offer free initial consultations. Contact us to set up a meeting with our experienced Olathe accident injury attorney.