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Five key questions and answers about workers' compensation

If you were injured on the job in Kansas, you deserve to know about your options for obtaining the medical care and money you need. Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers about workers' compensation benefits:

My injury doesn't seem very serious, so do I have to report it to my employer?

You should notify your employer as soon as possible after any work-related injury or illness, no matter how serious it seems at the time. You have time limits for filing a workers' compensation claim. Plus, an injury that appears minor may actually develop into something far more significant. You need to protect your health and your right to benefits by taking action right away.

How much money can I expect to receive in total?

According to the Kansas Department of Labor, you should continue to receive weekly checks until your treating physician releases you to return to work. However, there is a limit to the total amount you can receive. For permanent total disability, the limit is $155,000. For temporary disability or permanent partial disability, the limit is $130,000.

Of course, workers' compensation insurance will also cover your reasonable medical expenses, in addition to the monetary compensation you receive for your lost wages.

What kind of medical care does workers' compensation cover?

You will be eligible for any kind of medical care that your doctor deems necessary to help you heal from your on-the-job injury. Depending on your situation, this could include surgery, physical therapy, X-rays, prescription medications and more. You don't have to worry about deductibles or co-payments. Plus, you can seek reimbursement for mileage to and from most medical appointments.

Can I choose my own doctor?

Your employer has the right to choose an authorized treating physician, so it's best to check with your company before you schedule a doctor's appointment.

If you do decide to obtain treatment from a non-authorized physician, workers' compensation insurance will pay no more than $500 for that medical care. If you have already seen an authorized physician and were unhappy with his or her care, you can formally request a new doctor.

What should I do if I'm not being treated fairly?

If you have concerns about your workers' compensation claim, it's worthwhile to talk with an attorney who has experience in this particular area of law. A lawyer can provide the detailed advice and advocacy you require.

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