Many people suffer injuries on the job that require a visit to the doctor and a few days off work. With minor injuries like these, workers’ compensation pays for medical treatment, and employees use sick time for the days off.
However, if your injury or illness is serious enough that you need more time off work to recover—or you're never able to return to work—you may be entitled to long-term workers’ comp payments for your lost wages. Workers’ compensation laws differ slightly between Kansas and Missouri, so be sure you understand benefits offered by your state of residence.
Workers’ Comp Disability Categories in Missouri
In Missouri, the employer has the right to select the doctor you must see to treat your work injury. This is the doctor who determines the extent of your injury and gives you a disability rating. Missouri has a three-day waiting period for payments—meaning you won't be paid for the first three business days of your disability. If you're unable to work for 14 days or more, the first three days will then be paid.
Categories of disability in Missouri are as follows:
- Temporary Partial Disability. This rating means you're still able to work, but with restrictions which may lower your rate of pay. In this case, you would be entitled to workers’ comp benefits of 66 2/3 percent of the difference between what you made before your injury and what you earn with your disability.
- Temporary Total Disability. With a total disability rating, you're unable to work at all, but are expected to recover from your illness or injury in a short period of time. Under this status, you will receive 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage, up to a predetermined maximum. With both types of temporary disability, the doctor will determine when you are fit to return to work.
- Permanent Partial Disability. This rating indicates that you're never expected to return to the same type of work you did before the injury, but still may be able to work. Benefits are calculated at 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly earnings as of the date of the injury, not to exceed a maximum amount set by law. However, if you suffer from a permanent partial disability, you may receive a lump-sum payment based upon the nature and extent of the disability.
- Permanent Total Disability. If you're permanently and totally disabled, you may receive weekly payments for your lifetime, or you may negotiate a lump-sum settlement. The amount of the weekly payment is based upon 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly earnings at the time of the injury, not to exceed a maximum amount set by law. This maximum amount is much higher than the maximum amount for permanent partial disability.
Workers’ Comp Disability Categories in Kansas
Like Missouri, employers in Kansas also have the right to select the doctor you must see for your work injury. You may see a doctor of your choice for treatment, but workers’ comp will only pay up to $500 towards that treatment. You won't be paid benefits for the first seven calendar days of your injury, but if you're off work for 21 days or more, you'll be paid for that first week.
Disability categories in Kansas are the same as in Missouri, but paid differently in some cases, as follows:
- Temporary Partial Disability. When you return to any employment at a wage less than you made before the injury, compensation is paid at 66.67 percent of the difference between your former pay and what you're able to make with your injury, up to the state’s statutory maximum. You must return to full employment when the treating physician declares that you're able.
- Temporary Total Disability. If you're unable to return to any substantial and gainful employment for an extended period of time, you may be paid benefits totaling 66.67 percent of your average gross weekly wage, but not less than $25, nor more than the statutory maximum. Temporary total compensation may not exceed $130,000 per injury. Benefits end when your doctor determines you're fit to return to work.
- Permanent Partial Disability. Determination of these payments is quite complicated in Kansas, as the state works with a schedule which specifies the duration of payments for each type of partial disability. Injured workers will receive 66.67 percent of their former pay, but the duration of these payments is determined by the exact injury. For example, someone who loses the use of a shoulder will be paid for 225 weeks, while the loss of a leg qualifies for 200 weeks. There's also a schedule of general Permanent Partial Disability payments for less specific injuries.
- Permanent Total Disability. This exists when the employee, on account of the injury, has been rendered completely and permanently incapable of engaging in any type of substantial and gainful employment. Benefits are 66.67 percent of an employee’s average gross weekly wage, but not less than $25, nor more than the statutory maximum. Total compensation may not exceed $155,000 per injury.
When You Need an Attorney for Your Workers’ Comp Case
As you can see, there are many factors that determine the amount and duration of your workers’ comp benefits. To ensure you get the maximum amount your work injury entitles you to, you may want to contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys know both Kansas and Missouri law and will work to maximize your benefits. Call us today.