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The Written Claim Game


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 about it!

Imagine a scenario where you have an accident and then immediately report it to your boss. Better yet, your boss actually witnesses the accident. He takes you to the doctor and then you receive ongoing treatment and lost time for the next 6 months. After your doctor finally releases you back to work, the only thing left is to negotiate a settlement with the employer for the permanent partial disability, right?

You'd think so! I mean, there is no question you had an accident. Your boss saw it and took you to the doctor! Also, there is no doubt you wish to receive workers compensation benefits resulting from this accident. You've been receiving them in the form of medical treatment and lost time for six months! So what's the problem?

The problem is that you have gotten busy trying to catch up at work and you have let 200 days pass since your last authorized benefit. You were in no hurry to get this done and neither was the claims representative. Except that over this whole period, you never once provided anything in writing to the employer indicating your intention to obtain workers compensation benefits (I know you have already received some – common sense has no place here). Unfortunately, this can be absolutely fatal to your case.

Truthfully, I have actually heard of claims representatives paying the last bill and then calendaring their file for 201 days. If they have not heard from the claimant – Boom! The file is closed. One of the first things an insurance company lawyer looks at when he or she receives a new file is whether there is a "200 day" defense. It is a really easy way to avoid liability because nobody from the insurance company EVER tells you, "Now make sure you serve your written claim on the employer. We wouldn't want you to lose out on any benefits you have coming."

Now that the law has changed, there can be confusion as to whether this 200-day written claim is still required. The important detail is the date of your accident, not the date you finished treatment. If your accident happened before the law changed, you still HAVE to provide a written claim. Oh, and as far as written claim in Missouri…there is none. Although you are supposed to provide a written notice within 30 days…we'll have to deal with that one later.

Give a Kansas City workers compensation attorney at Haight Stang, LLC a call to find out whether you need to provide a written claim. Even if you think that more than 200 days has passed since you last received any treatment or benefits and that your claim may fail as a result, there are a few loopholes that may apply. Contacting one of our attorneys (or e-mail) is free and could make the difference between receiving and not receiving permanent partial disability. THOUSANDS of dollars, folks. Make the call.