State law determines the process to apply and qualify for workers’ compensation if you’re either hurt or sick at work. The lone exception is for federal employees, who follow the same steps no matter which state they live in. Below, we’ll outline the process to apply for Kansas workers’ compensation benefits. We’ll also include a detailed chart showing how the Kansas workers’ compensation program changed from 2014-2018.
Who Is Exempt From Kansas Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
On January 26, 2020, the Kansas Secretary of Labor extended workers’ compensation benefits from 16 to 26 weeks. However, not every employee in this state is automatically covered by Kansas workers’ compensation insurance. Here are some exceptions:
- Realtors and others who work as independent contractors
- Truck drivers as well as other vehicle owner-operators that carry occupational accident insurance policies
- Firefighters that belong to a firefighters’ relief association
- Employees who work for employers with an annual payroll of no more than $20,000
- Certain agricultural workers
- Workers whose injuries are self-inflicted or come from fighting or horesplay with a coworker
How to Apply for Kansas Workers’ Compensation Benefits
According to the Kansas Department of Labor, follow these steps to apply for workers’ comp payments:
- Report your on-the-job injury to your supervisor immediately, preferably in writing. Be sure to include the time, date, place and brief description of how your workplace injury or illness occurred. You must notify your employer within 20 days of your accident date to qualify for Kansas workers’ compensation benefits.
- Your employer then selects an authorized doctor to treat you. Need emergency medical attention? Then your employer should cover up to $500 in doctor’s bills from an unauthorized provider. If you’re unhappy with your authorized treating physician, apply to the Workers Compensation Director asking to change your healthcare provider.
- Your employer’s insurance provider must notify the Division of Workers’ Compensation within 28 days of your accident. You should also receive written information on how the claims process works, who to contact, available benefits, etc.
- If approved, your first Kansas workers’ compensation payment is due on the 14th day of lost time. Your injury must force you to miss one week of work before you qualify for lost wage payments. If you’re out for 21 consecutive days or longer, you’ll get paid for that first week you missed work. Your lost wage payments should equal about 2/3 of your average weekly wages.
- To appeal a denial, call an Ombudsman to help resolve your dispute through informal mediation. These Ombudsmen are informal claims advisers, but not legal representation. To schedule a mediation conference with an Ombudsman, call 800-332-0353, then choose option #5.
To learn more about the Kansas workers’ compensation program, read Publication K-WC 27-A, Information for Injured Employees.
Kansas Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2014-2018
Workers’ compensation program data for most states is available in the annual Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. You can find total claims filed, days missed at work, how many workers received job restrictions or changed positions, etc. It also lists claim data for each specific job sector, such as manufacturing or service-providing industries. Our interactive chart below shows how the Kansas workers’ compensation program changed from 2014 to 2018:
From 2014 to 2015, total Kansas workers’ compensation claims fell more than 15%. That same year, claims from service-industry workers fell about 15%, accounting for most of that decrease. Interestingly, that same one-year period saw a 15% drop in injured workers missing work or receiving job restrictions. However, that group rebounded back to the previous year’s levels in 2016. Overall, service-industry employees file the most Kansas workers’ compensation claims in any given year. These claims range from 56% to 61% of injury cases reported to the Division of Workers Compensation each year. About half the workplace injuries each year qualify for benefits that cover lost wage payments (47%-51%).
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
There are several good reasons to get free claim advice from a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney. For example: Your supervisor gets to choose which doctor can treat you. But what if you prefer your own physician, or want a second opinion? If you disagree with your claim’s denial, the Ombudsman mediating isn’t allowed to give you legal advice. No matter how simple or complex your injury or situation, talking to a workers’ comp attorney is always free.
Sign up for a free, no-obligation consultation today and we’ll match you with the closest lawyer who can help you. If you don’t win a cash settlement, the lawyer gets paid $0. And if your case does win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.