Kansas workers compensation Disability should be rated using the AMA 4th Edition

In 2015, Kansas started using the AMA 6th Edition Guides for the evaluation of permanent partial disability in worker compensation cases.
Before that, Kansas was using the AMA Guides, 4th Edition.
The 6th Edition substantially lowered the evaluation an employee would receive for a permanent impairment. By lowering the disability rating, the compensation paid to the employee for his or her disability was lowered.
The Kansas Court of Appeals has ruled that the use of the AMA Guides 6th Edition is unconstitutional.
The facts in the case that led to finding the 6th Edition was unconstitutional were that a Kansas worker injured his shoulder in a 2013 work-related injury and, in March 2015, injured the same shoulder in another work-related accident. Because of language in the AMA Guides, 6th Edition (which applied to injuries after 1/1/2015), examining physicians were forced to issue 0% impairment ratings for the second shoulder injury in spite of the fact that both doctors testified that such an impairment rating was medically inaccurate and insufficient.
If you have a workers compensation in Kansas it should be rated under the AMA 4th Edition Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Partial Disability.
If you need legal representation after you have been injured on the job, please call Margaret E. Dean, Attorney at Law, 816-753-3100.
Free consultation.
No fee if no recovery.
The choice of an attorney should not be solely based on advertisements.

Permanent Total Disability in Workers Compensation Law

What is permanent total disability under Missouri’s workers compensation law?

In most cases, when a worker is injured on the job, he or she recovers from the injury and returns to work. There are cases where an injury is so severe that the worker may never be able to return to any type of employment. When an injured worker cannot return to any employment, the case is known as a permanent total case.

Total disability is the inability to return to any employment. It is not merely the inability to return to the employment in which the employee was engaged at the time of the accident. An example may help clarify the matter. I represented a person who did drywalling. The work involved a great deal of above-the-shoulder lifting. The employee fell from a ladder and badly tore his rotator cuff tear. Despite surgery and months of physical therapy, the employee was finally released but with a work restriction of no lifting overhead. The job that the employee was working at when he was injured was a union job with great wages and benefits. The employee could not go back to that job due to his work restriction and could only find jobs that paid substantially less.

The employer was not required to take him back and he was left taking a job that involved a significant cut in pay and no benefits. He was not permanently totally disabled.

Someone who cannot go back to any type of work, has a claim for permanent total benefits. An example may help clarify the matter. I represented a man who very early in his career lost his leg below the knee due to an electrocution. He continued to work. He then tore his right rotator cuff and needed a right shoulder replacement. He continued to work. He then tore his ACL, a ligament in the leg that had not had an amputation. He continued to work. He then badly injured his back. After that accident, he could no longer work. Thus, he was entitled to permanent total disability.

It is not only prior accidents that may contribute to someone being permanently totally disabled, it can be pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes.
If the on-the-job injury was catastrophic and in and of itself resulted in permanent total disability, the claim is made against the employer.
If the work injury combines with pre-existing injuries or medical conditions, the claim is made against the Second Injury Fund.
As in all workers’ compensation cases, the claim needs to be filed within the strict deadlines set by the law.
The law does allow lump sum settlements based on the value of a permanent total award.
On the other hand, some cases are paid out on a weekly basis for the employee’s lifetime.

Benefits received for permanent total disability can reduce an injured worker’s Social Security disability payment unless actions are taken on behalf of the injured employee to appropriately classify settlement monies.

Cases involving permanent total disability are cases where insurance companies frequently hire private investigators to obtain video surveillance evidence.

In the vase majority of cases in which it is alleged that the employee is totally disabled, it is necessary to obtain a doctor’s opinion and a vocational specialist.

If you have think you may have a permanent total disability workers compensation claim, you need an experienced attorney. We can help you, call now for a free consultation at 816-753-3100. No recovery, no fee. Dean Law Office, LLC The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS CAUSING ON-THE-JOB INJURIES WORKERS COMPENSATION

The most common on-the-job causes of death are motor vehicle accidents. Truck and delivery drivers along with sales workers who travel are among the occupations with the highest on-the-job fatality rates.
Motor vehicle accidents, even when they do not result in death, are a common cause of on-the-job injuries.
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has issued guidelines for workers who drive.
Not surprisingly OSHA’S first guideline is to use a seat belt at all times.
Missouri workers’ compensation law provides that, in some circumstance, a worker’s recovery under workers’ compensation can be reduced for failure to wear a seat belt.
The law reads: Where the injury is caused by the failure of the employee to use safety devices where provided by the employer, or from the employee’s failure to obey any reasonable rule adopted by the employer for the safety of employees, the compensation and death benefit provided for herein shall be reduced at least twenty-five but not more than fifty percent; provided, that it is shown that the employee had actual knowledge of the rule so adopted by the employer; and provided, further, that the employer had, prior to the injury, made a reasonable effort to cause his or her employees to use the safety device or devices and to obey or follow the rule so adopted for the safety of the employees.
A seat belt is a safety device under the statute.
The litigation that has taken place has focused on whether the employer made a reasonable effort to cause an employee to use the safety device.
In the case of Elsworth v. Wayne City, the court did not reduce the workers’ compensation award. The driver who was severely injured had been on the job less than a month. The court looked at the fact that there was no training program and the employer had not monitored employee compliance.
In the case of Buescher v. Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, the court found the employer had a clear rule requiring employees to wear seatbelts at all times and the rule was posted in a conspicuous place. The penalty was not imposed because the employer failed to establish that the injury was caused by the failure to use a seat belt.
Numerous cases have found that such an employer’s reasonable effort to cause the employer to use a safety device can include: distribution of written safety materials; scheduling and presentation of regular training seminars to educate their employees about their safety rules and devices; warning employees that disciplinary action will be taken if employees fail to follow necessary safety guidelines; giving employees written tests to confirm they understand employer’s safety rules; and having a history of punishing known safety rule violations.
Because an employee is at fault for causing an accident does not mean that the employee is not entitled to receive workers compensation benefits.
Because an employee was not using a seat belt, does not mean that his benefits will be cut.
There is one way that an employee can avoid having his benefits under workers compensation cut because of failure to wear a seat belt: wear your seat belt.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident while working, give Dean Law Office LLC a call, 816-753-3100. Free consultation. No fee, if no recovery.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.