Overland Park Workers’ Compensation Attorney
What Workers’ Compensation Covers?
Workers’ compensation covers on the job injuries which result from an accident arising out of and in the course of your employment. The law also provides coverage for occupational diseases which arise out of and are in the course of employment. Coverage begins in the first minute you are working. You do not have to work a certain length of time, and there is no need to earn so much in wages before you are covered.
When to claim workers compensation?
Report the injury to your employer or supervisor immediately. Just give him or her a written notice of the time, place and nature of the injury and the name and address of the person injured. Give him or her enough information so that he can arrange medical treatment and complete the necessary reports. But, do NOT allow an insurance adjuster or anyone to tape record your voice about the facts of the accident, unless your attorney is present. Give your employer written notice of every injury, no matter how slight. Even a cut finger can be disabling if an infection develops. Prompt reporting is the key. Contact our office right away for assistance.
What workers’ compensation pays for?
The workers’ compensation laws of Kansas and Missouri pays for three kinds of workers’ compensation benefits. The first is medical care for the injury. The second is cash payments for lost wages during the time the treating doctor says you are unable to work. The third is a cash payment if there is permanent disability. Also, in certain limited cases, benefits may include reimbursement for auto mileage you incur in obtaining medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation. You should promptly consult your attorney for a full explanation of how these benefits are determined.
Should I claim benefits under Kansas law or Missouri law?
There are significant differences between Kansas and Missouri workers’ compensation benefits. Some injured employees can increase their workers’ compensation benefits substantially by claiming benefits in one state instead of another. Whether Kansas or Missouri benefits would be greater for you, depends on the specific facts of your individual claim including the amount of your wages earned, the number of days you will be unable to work, whether your wage earning power has been permanently decreased, whether you are injured instead of deceased as a result of your job and whether you have had prior injuries. You should promptly consult with an attorney who is licensed and experienced in both the Kansas and Missouri workers’ compensation laws, so that attorney can obtain the maximum benefits to which you are entitled under the law.
Why should I promptly consult with an attorney?
Both Missouri and Kansas workers’ compensation laws have short notice deadlines and short statutes of limitations. If you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations runs, you may be forever barred from pursuing your claim for compensation benefits. The statutes of limitation can be complicated. Our office is experienced in workers’ compensation and can determine how to calculate when your time to file a claim will expire.
How does the insurance company reduce my benefits payments?
Insurance companies often use video surveillance of injured workers to reduce their benefits payments. A favorite insurance company trick is to send a smoked-glass window van to park down the street from the injured worker’s home. Behind the smoked-glass may be a high-power telephoto lens attached to a video camera which records the injured worker in his front yard or driveway. The insurance company’s goal is to obtain video of the injured worker mowing his lawn, or repairing his fence. The insurance company records it so that the insurance company’s attorney can show the video to the Judge in an “Aha moment”, claiming that the injured worker is a malingerer or a faker, and could have worked all along. The insurance attorney then demands that the Judge stop the injured worker’s benefits. Of course, the insurance attorney conveniently leaves out the fact that the insurance company had delayed the workers’ weekly compensation checks for months, so the injured worker had no money to hire anyone to do those task, and no choice but to mow the lawn in excruciating pain, or fix the fence despite the task injuring his back further. Sometimes the video surveillance cameraman will even follow the worker to the grocery store, and record him walking so they can claim he was able to work.
Can a work accident cause a herniated disc in my neck?
Yes, a work accident can cause a herniated disc in your neck or back. Herniated discs are sometimes referred to as slipped discs, bulging discs, protruding discs or ruptured discs. Common signs of herniated discs are numbness or tingling in your arms, hands, legs or feet. However, often the injury is to your neck or back, not your feet. Your neck and back have rubbery discs between the vertebrae bones to cushion them so they don’t scrape against one another bone on bone. The impact of a work accident can cause the rubbery discs to bulge or herniate, where the bulging disc presses on a nerve exiting the spine next to the disc, on its way to an arm or leg. The numbness and tingling in your arms or legs may be radicular (or radiating) symptoms that radiate out from the pinched nerve in your neck or back.
Can a work accident cause a pinched nerve?
Yes, a work accident accident can cause a pinched nerve in your neck or back. The impact of a work accident can cause a herniated or bulging disc to pinch a nerve exiting the spine on its way to an arm or leg. If you notice numbness and tingling in your arms or legs you should see a doctor right away and tell him about it. Ask the doctor if he believes you should have an MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan) of your back or neck. MRI scans can reveal whether or not you have a herniated disc. Ordinary X-rays are good at showing broken bones, but often are poor when it comes to detecting a herniated disc, which are softer tissue.
Can a work accident cause nerve damage?
Yes, a work accident can cause nerve damage. If the bulging disc pinches the nerve long enough and hard enough, it is possible for the nerve in the back or neck to suffer permanent damage. That is why it is important to see a doctor right away so he can treat your injury in an effort to avoid permanent nerve damage, which can be disabling.
How long does it take a back injury to heal?
Your doctor is the best person to answer this question. However, if the doctor is able to treat the back or neck injury and pinched nerve promptly, he may be able to help you recover sooner.
Can a work accident cause a coma or head injury?
Yes, a work accident can cause a coma or head injury. The work accident impact can cause the victim’s head to hit hard against tools, equipment or structures at work, causing severe headaches, cranial nerve damage, hematoma or coma. In such cases, you should promptly see a doctor, as there could be internal bleeding.
What to do after a work accident?
If you are hurt in a work accident you need to know what to do. Notify the employer of the accident. Seek medical treatment right away, usually at the employer’s medical clinic, unless the severity of the injury requires a hospital emergency room. Call our law office right away to discuss your claim. If the workers’ compensation insurance adjuster calls you, be polite but explain that you have hired an attorney and recommend that they talk with your attorney. Do not give statements to the workers’ compensation insurance adjuster without your attorney present.
What is a work accident claim?
Work accident claims include bulging discs, broken bones, sprained backs, concussions and a host of other injuries. It is important that you take photos of any injuries to your body, such as bruises, cuts, scarring and broken bones, as well as casts and neck braces that you may wear. Those photos can be evidence of how severe the injury was, and provide evidence that the work accident caused your injuries. Then promptly call our office to discuss your injuries with us, and send those photos to us, either by email or regular mail.
What if I am too injured to come to your office?
We can talk with you by phone and use email or regular mail to send items back and forth to you while you heal in the comfort of your home. We understand that when you are hurting, you may not feel able to come to our office. We are used to working with injured persons.
What if my loved one was killed in a fatal work accident?
The law allows persons with certain relationships to the deceased work accident victim, to make claim for compensation on the deceased victim’s behalf. We can guide you through the process of recovering compensation for the victim’s heirs. However, there are short time limitations on filing those claims, so do not delay.
Which doctor to see for my back injury?
After you have obtained initial medical treatment, the emergency room, clinic or workers’ compensation adjuster may refer you to a specialist. The type of back injury you have will determine which type of specialist they refer you to. Back and neck injuries are often treated by either orthopedic surgeons, neurologists or neurosurgeons. Your specialist may decide to include other medical professionals in your treatment that may include pain management specialists and physical therapists.
Which doctor to see for my head injury?
After you have obtained initial medical treatment, the emergency room, clinic or workers’ compensation adjuster may refer you to a specialist. Head injuries are often treated by either neurologists or neurosurgeons. Some head injury victims also have a change in their vision after an accident, and may be referred to an Opthalmologist or eye doctor, or in some cases a Neuro-ophthalmologist specially trained in vision problems caused by a brain injury.
At the law office of Gary D. Rappard, we help workers who have been injured on the job to obtain money and medical treatment. We have 30 years of experience, and are attuned to the needs of injured workers. We are licensed in both Kansas and Missouri. We can explain the workers’ compensation laws in ways that clients can understand. If you are looking for a workers’ compensation lawyer in Kansas or Missouri, call us at our office in Overland Park to discuss your needs.
The use of this report or calling Gary D. Rappard’s office to request a copy of this report does not create an attorney-client relationship between the user and Gary D. Rappard or his Law Firm. The information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended to indicate what the results will be in your Kansas or Missouri case. Any examples discussed in this report are not a guarantee of your outcome if we represent you. All cases are unique, and favorable factors in one case or one jurisdiction may not apply or be available in another case or jurisdiction. The contents of this report do not constitute legal advice. The information provided herein cannot substitute for consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable and proficient in the law. The description and interpretation of the laws and procedures are subject to change. The facts of your case may require a different analysis of the law. You should consult with Mr. Rappard before reaching conclusions so that your unique facts can be applied to the law in effect at the time. Although we will make every attempt to keep the information in this report current, we do not promise or guarantee that the information is correct, complete, or up-to-date. Laws of states other than Missouri or Kansas may be stricter or different than the state laws described herein. Many laws are state-specific. Gary D. Rappard only practices in the states of Kansas and Missouri. You should not rely on this information without seeking the advice of a licensed attorney in your state.
Gary D. Rappard Attorney at Law © 2006