New Changes to Kansas Workers’ Compensation Act

Dramatic changes

The Kansas Workers’ Compensation Act was dramatically changed for any injury occurring after May 15, 2011.  Unfortunately, the law is more favorable to the employer as opposed to the injured worker.  Most of the changes were driven by insurance companies and their lobbyists, even though Kansas has some of the lowest rates for workers’ compensation premiums in the United States.

The prevailing factor

The most dramatic change to the Kansas Workers’ Compensation Act is the adoption of the “prevailing factor” standard.  This is the same standard that was adopted in Missouri in 2005.  “Prevailing factor” is defined as the primary factor in relationship to all other factors that caused the injury.  K.S.A. 44-508(g).  The Kansas legislature has limited what the “prevailing factor” (primary factor) that caused the injury actually means.  No longer is an accident considered the “prevailing factor” if it is the triggering or precipitating event (K.S.A. 44-508(f)(2)), aggravation, acceleration or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition (K.S.A. 44-508(f)(2)), as well as other factors.

Perhaps an example will provide you with a better idea of the dramatic change by the Kansas legislature’s use of the phrase “prevailing factor.”  Let’s assume you are a 50 year old construction worker and while working in a ditch you twist and fall down in the ditch.  Subsequently, you are diagnosed with tears in your cartilage in your knee.  You are then sent to a company orthopedic doctor.  The doctor indicates that you have cartilage tears and will need a total knee replacement due to the aging process as well as the accident itself.  You have had no prior treatment to your knee at any point in your lifetime.  The company doctor indicates that the “prevailing factor” is that you had aging process in the knee (degenerative changes) and that is the primary factor, or the “prevailing factor,” for the need for treatment.  The workers’ compensation carrier then denies the claim.

This does not mean that your claim is not work-related!  This just means that the company doctor’s opinion is that the “prevailing factor” is your aging process.  If we handle your claim, we would send you to another doctor for a separate opinion and let a judge decide your claim as opposed to a company doctor.

Power Law Group can help

I am hopeful that this example gives you an idea of the dramatic changes in the Workers’ Compensation Act in Kansas.  Please contact Tim Power at the Power Law Group so that he can give you the advice you need to make your claim work-related.  Mr. Power has been practicing law since 1985 and specializes in work-related injuries and accidents.

If you have been denied workers’ compensation or have been injured and need help getting the benefits that you deserve, our firm can help.  Call our toll free number at 1-800-748-7060 or 913-648-3220 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Contact Power Law Group for work-related accidents

Please contact Power Law Group for an experienced attorney in workers’ compensation and work-related accidents.  These include construction accidents, auto accidents, slip-and-fall accidents and electrical accidents.  We are aware of the permanent problems you can experience from back injuries, neck injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress injuries, spinal cord injuries and other on-the-job injuries.