Legal Help With The Complex Workers’ Compensation Process
The workers’ compensation process involves the Division of Workers’ Compensation, an insurance company, your employer and medical providers. It’s no wonder that injured workers find the process difficult to understand and hard to follow.
I am Tim Alvarez, an attorney who has led hundreds of clients through the workers’ compensation process successfully. I take the time to clearly explain the following steps in the workers’ comp process:
1. Report the injury to your employer. In Kansas, you may be required to report your injury within 10 days of the accident. In Missouri, you have up to 30 days to give written notice. In either state, report any injury, no matter how minor. If you don’t and you later develop an accident-related health problem, you won’t be able to get workers’ comp. These deadlines can be extended or avoided under certain circumstance. Therefore, it is important to consult an attorney immediately even if it appears you may have missed a deadline.
2. Seek treatment from an authorized medical provider. Don’t go to your own doctor. Under most circumstances, you must see a doctor who has been selected by your employer or its insurance company. Again, this is a general rule and you should consult an attorney concerning medical treatment.
3. Follow the doctor’s orders and advice. Do not miss any clinic appointments or physical therapy appointments. If you do, your weekly benefits checks may be delayed or terminated.
4. Receive weekly payment while off work or on restricted to light duty. You may be entitled to receive weekly checks if your doctor restricts you from returning to work. If your doctor says you can go back to work on a light-duty job, but your employer does not have a light-duty job, you may also be entitled to receive weekly checks.
5. Make a timely Claim for Compensation or Application for Hearing. In addition to giving notice, you must also timely file a Claim for Compensation (Missouri) or an Application for Hearing (Kansas). In Kansas, an Application for Hearing must be filed within three years of the date of accident or within 2 years of the last payment of compensation, whichever is later. In Missouri, a Claim for Compensation must be filed within two years after the date of injury or last payment made on account of the injury. This deadline can be extended to three years if the employer does not properly file a report of accident. However, these deadlines can be extended under certain circumstances. Therefore, it is important that you consult an attorney even if you believe you may have missed a filing deadline.
6. Get a second opinion. I make sure that my clients receive an examination by a doctor I have confidence in, not just the one the company selected. This independent medical examination is extremely important to the success of my clients’ cases. It will provide evidence for the eventual resolution of your work injury claim concerning the nature and extent of your injuries. It will also help determine whether you may need future medical treatment as a result of your workplace injury. This second opinion is usually obtained after your physician releases you from care and you have reached maximum medical improvement.
7. Mediate or litigate a resolution. Efforts are made to negotiate a settlement through mediation and/or negotiation. The decision to settle belongs to my client. If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached then the matter is tried before an administrative law judge. However, most cases settle without the necessity of a trial.
Free Consultation To Discuss Resolutions For Your Case
I can help you at any stage of the process, from helping you with notification immediately after the injury to the final resolution of the case. To arrange a free consultation with a Kansas workers’ comp process lawyer, please contact my office in Kansas City by email or call 913-371-1030.
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