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Workers' Compensation FAQs

Kansas workers' compensation law firm Bretz & Young offers honest advice you can trust

The following questions address many important topics concerning workers' compensation in Kansas. For more information and more detailed advice about your specific circumstances, contact us and schedule a free consultation. Call (866) 881-0103. Visit our common work accidents page to learn more.

What is workers' compensation?

Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that provides certain benefits if you are injured on the job. Such benefits depend on a wide range of factors, including:

  • How much you were earning prior to your injury
  • The severity of your injury
  • How long you cannot work due to your workplace accident

Most workers' compensation benefits amount to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, and are payable for a finite length of time. Specific benefits can vary. In some instances, you or a loved one injured on the job can receive workers' compensation benefits for life.

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What if the accident at work was my employer's fault?

Whether it was your fault or your employer's fault, you have a right to pursue a workers' compensation claim. Like most states, Kansas has a "no fault" workers' compensation system, which allows employees injured on the job to collect a payment for lost wages and medical bills regardless of who was at fault.

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Can I get benefits if the accident was my fault?

In many cases, yes. For the most part, if you are injured at work, you are eligible for workers' compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault in your accident. However, there are some instances in which injured workers do not receive benefits, such as if you were under the influence of illegal drugs or you intentionally hurt yourself at work.

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What does third-party liability mean?

If a person or a company other than your employer causes your workplace accident, you may be able to pursue a third party liability claim. For example, if you drive a vehicle as part of your job and another driver who is not connected to your employer causes an accident and you are injured, you can pursue a personal injury claim against that driver's insurance company. In such cases, you can pursue this third-party claim in addition to filing a workers' compensation claim. In other cases, an injured worker may have grounds for a third party liability claim if he or she is injured because of a manufacturing or design defect involving a product. For example, if the chair you use at work breaks because of a design defect and you hurt your back, you can pursue a workers' compensation claim as well as a case against the manufacturer of the chair.

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What if I have a permanent disability?
Workers' compensation benefits for permanent disabilities can include:

  • Permanent Total Disability is paid when you have been rendered completely and permanently incapable of engaging in any type of substantial and gainful employment.
  • Permanent Partial Disability is paid when you sustain complete or partial loss of use of a body part, such as an arm, due to a job-related injury. Compensation is limited to a percentage of the scheduled number of weeks.
  • Permanent Partial General Disability is paid when you sustain permanent partial disability not specifically covered by the schedule. Compensation is based on the percentage of disability remaining after recovery and is limited to 415 weeks.

If your work injury results in a permanent disability that leaves you unable to work, you might also be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits.

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What benefits do I get if a family member died at work?

If your husband, wife or parent was killed on the job in a workplace accident, you may be eligible to receive survivors' benefits. Kansas Workers' Compensation Act also pays for up to $5,000 in burial expenses.

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What do I do after a workplace injury?

We strongly urge you to take the following steps:

  • Notify your employer immediately (you have 20 days from the date of the accident or repetitive stress injury, but it's important to inform your employer as soon as possible).
  • Seek immediate medical attention. Under the law, your employer has the right to choose the authorized treating doctor.
  • Contact us as soon as possible. We can help you fill out workers' compensation forms, deal directly with your employer and the insurance company, and make sure you receive the medical care you need.

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What is an impairment rating?

If you are hurt at work and sustain a permanent disability, your injury will be assigned a rating from zero to 100 based on the percentage that you are disabled. Most states use the American Medical Association's "Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment" to assess a person's disability. There may be a dispute over your impairment rating, which is why it's wise to seek legal advice to make sure your disability is measured appropriately.

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What are authorized treating doctors?

If you have been hurt in an accident at work, your employer has the right to select the doctor who will treat your injury. If you choose a doctor who is not authorized or a physician who is not agreed-upon by your employer, the employer is only responsible for the first $500 in medical bills. If your authorized treating doctor is not providing you with adequate care, it is important that you contact our law firm. There are ways we can change your authorized treating doctor to someone you like and trust.

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