“Is there a deadline to file a Workers Compensation case?”

Question: I work in an animal hospital. On August 29, 2009 I was lifting a 200 pound dog and injured my back. A week later, after my ankles had great pain, I started seeing what turned out to be many different doctors (including MRI, X-rays, EMG, chiropractic and spinal tap.)

The pain and periodic numbness in my legs has affected my ability to work. I’ve just received notice that my job will be over at the end of March due to “lack of business.”

Now doctors at Kansas University Medical Center have found I have a bulging and torn disk which, they say, is a “lifting injury.”

Is it too late to file for workers’ compensation?

        Janelle            
        Pittsburg, Kansas
     

Answer: There is simply no question about it: you should see a Workers’ Compensation attorney in your area who can answer your question with authority. In most states, attorneys cannot accept payment from a client in a case like yours, but must only get paid by an insurance company by order of a workers’ compensation board.  In fact, in New York, to accept a fee in a Workers’ Compensation case directly from a client is enough to get an attorney disbarred!

In Kansas, not only can you get your medical expenses reimbursed, but if you can’t work, or your work is limited, you can collect up to 2/3 of your gross weekly income, to a certain maximum.

Though I am not admitted to practice law in Kansas, my quick review of Kansas law indicates two important things: there is a 75-day deadline to tell your employer about your accident. Hopefully you told your employer about the accident sometime in that time period. Even if you did not, there are possible exceptions to that requirement.

MORE IMPORTANT, it seems that a written claim of the injury must be made to the employer within 200 days to ensure future benefits. That would seem to EXPIRE VERY SOON!!!

I urge you to (1) get the necessary form at the Kansas Workers’ Compensation website, www.dol.ks.gov, or call them at (785) 296-2996 and (2) contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney in your area as soon as possible. You can probably find one by Google or your local bar association referral committee.

Please act swiftly; there’s too much at stake not to. I really hope you will.

          Best, Al Sklover  

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.