Blog Posts in 2012

  • Holiday Musings

    || 14-Dec-2012

    With both the Holiday season in full effect and the end of the year approaching, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients as well as anyone else who has given us the opportunity to inform and assist them on workers' compensation issues. An injury on the job can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty – not just for the one who is hurt, but for his or her family as ...
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  • Would You See a Foot Doctor for a Heart Problem?

    || 31-Oct-2012

    An injured worker was recently referred to us by another attorney. He had suffered multiple tears to his shoulder due to a heavy and strenuous job. Fortunately, he was able to receive his surgery and rehabilitation through health insurance, but his shoulder has never been the same. Unfortunately, he had previously hired an attorney who had no idea about workers' compensation, and, because of ...
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  • Into the Lion's Den

    || 23-Oct-2012

    Recently, I was asked to be part of a panel presenting to one of the largest workers' compensation insurance carriers in the Kansas City area. The room was full of claims representatives and employers' safety coordinators who certainly didn't give me the warmest of welcomes. The rest of the panel was made up of a defense attorney, a conservative spinal surgeon and a Judge with the ...
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  • Declaration of Independent(ce)? Are your really an Employee?

    || 16-Oct-2012

    Have you ever heard this one? The Boss: "Okay. You're hired. But I'm only hiring you as an independent contractor. I'll pay your gross wages and your are responsible for paying the taxes." The Employee: "Okay. Thanks. I really appreciate the opportunity." So…now you are an independent contractor, right? You not only have to pay your taxes, but because you are ...
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  • Nottice of Repetitive Injuries: How to Kill Your Claim in Kansas

    || 11-Jun-2012

    Common sense says that you tell somebody about something after it happens. You can't tell you friend the score of the ballgame until it's been played, right? You can't give notice of a workers compensation accident until it's happened, right? Wrong! I am going to tell you in advance that this article is going to defy logic and likely result in some significant eye rolling, so bear ...
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  • There Are No Problem Clients...There Is Only Failure to Communicate

    || 2-May-2012

    I was recently asked to speak at a continuing legal education seminar for the Missouri Bar Association. The topic: How to deal with difficult clients from a legal ethics perspective. While the typical and expected angle would have been to talk about documenting communication with the client, avoid missing deadlines and how to withdraw from claims and clients that become too problematic, I had a ...
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  • An Injured Worker Who Gets Fired Gets No Pay? Not So Fast!

    || 10-Apr-2012

    A worker gets injured on the job, is receiving medical treatment and is placed on temporary work restrictions. If the employer is unable to return her to work under those restrictions, she would then receive temporary total disability benefits under workers' compensation. If work is available within those restrictions, and that worker is then terminated while on light duty, can she still ...
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  • There Are No Tough Guys in Work Comp

    || 6-Apr-2012

    Have you ever heard of this scenario? You work hard all week at your job. Now, it's finally Friday and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Three more hours and you will have some hard-earned free time to relax with your family and friends. Then…BAM! You were lifting the steel lid covering the machine when decades of corrosion finally decided to make its presence known. You ...
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  • The Written Claim Game

    || 26-Mar-2012

    On May 15,2011, the Kansas Legislature did away with one really insidious part of the Kansas Workers Compensation Act. Prior to that date, not only did you have to give notice to your employer after an accident, you had to provide a written claim for compensation within 200 days of your accident date or the last authorized benefit, whichever was later. Here is the problem with that: Nobody knows ...
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  • Functional v. Work Disability (Part 2)

    || 13-Mar-2012

    Ok. So, you have an injury and you are left with permanent restrictions. What now? Well, it depends on where you are and what parts you injured. Let me explain. In Kansas, there is a benefit called work disability, which, in my opinion, serves two purposes. First, it gives incentive to employers to bring back injured workers that have restrictions and try to accommodate them. Second, if they ...
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  • Functional Disability vs. Work Disability: Who gets what ?

    || 7-Mar-2012

    After you have received all of your treatment and the insurance company has (hopefully) paid all of your temporary benefits, what remaining benefit does an injured worker have? The answer: Permanent Partial Disability. There are vast differences in the Workers Compensation laws between Kansas and Missouri in this area. My explanation of Kansas law will take a couple of paragraphs. Missouri law ...
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  • Tom Cruise Was Right!

    || 2-Mar-2012

    Lt. Daniel Kaffee, as portrayed by Tom Cruise in "A Few Good Men", once said, "It's not what I know, its what I can prove." Nowhere is that statement more applicable than in workers' compensation claims, where common sense is can be drowned out by legal gamesmanship. I was recently on a mediation docket in Kansas City, Missouri where I had the exact same issue in TWO ...
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  • Do I Even Need a Lawyer?

    || 22-Feb-2012

    Almost without exception, one of the first things a prospective client says to me in the initial telephone consultation is, "I don't even know if I need a lawyer. Do you think I need a lawyer?" Without exception, my response is, "The insurance company already has a lawyer protecting its interests. Who's protecting yours?" The fact of the matter is that often times, the ...
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  • Light Duty Pay Sucks! Can They Do That?

    || 15-Feb-2012

    Short answer: Sometimes. If you are on restrictions from the authorized treating physician, your employer has two options. It can put you to work in an accommodated, light duty position or it can send you home and start paying you lost time, known as Temporary Total Disability (TTD). The second option is easy. If you are on TTD, they have to pay you two-thirds of your average weekly wage. The ...
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  • A Tree Falls in the Forest...

    || 24-Jan-2012

    We've all heard the age-old riddle of, "If a tree falls in the forest, but no one's around to hear it, does it really make a sound?" This same riddle can be used in workers' compensation. If a worker gets hurt on the job, but doesn't report it in the correct and timely manner, can he get the medical treatment and disability benefits he's entitled to? Unfortunately, ...
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