Allison Law Firm, LLC



The Basics:

It is important to know that Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation laws differ in Kansas and Missouri. Depending on the facts of your case, different laws may apply that will govern how your case will be handled.

However, following these important basic steps will help you better understand your case and can help protect your rights to receiving the compensation and benefits you deserve.

Please know that while understanding the basics is beneficial to your potential case, contacting our office and sharing the specifics of your injuries and your accident will be the best way to determine how you should proceed.


Automobile Accidents

If you, or someone you know is involved in auto accident, the following information can be helpful in protecting your rights to receiving compensation for your damages:

Medical Treatment:

  1. If you have been hurt or injured, then the first thing to do is get to a doctor or hospital to receive medical care.  If you have a family doctor, call them and let them know you have been in an accident.
  2. When you talk with a doctor, let them know where you hurt. A good way to do this is start at the top of your head and go all the way down to the tips of your toes. Remember, if you can’t tell the doctor where you hurt, they can’t help you.
  3. If the doctor recommends treatment or tests, be sure to make all of these appointments. A missed appointment can be a sign that your injuries are not serious.
  4. After initial medical care, contact my office to discuss what happened in the accident. We will explain what additional steps you will need to take in order to protect your rights to receive medical treatment and other benefits.

Witnesses and Photos:

  1. If a person witnessed your accident, then try to get their phone number and address as soon as possible. Obtaining witness statements can often be helpful in establishing who was at fault for the accident.
  2. If possible, take photos of your car, the car of the person who hit you, of the scene of the accident, and of your injuries.  Over time things change, so making a record of these things sooner rather than later can help the value of your case.

Your Automobile Insurance Company:

  1. If you have automobile insurance, then contact your insurance company and let them know you were in an accident. They may wish to take your statement over the phone. Often this will be necessary in order for them to begin paying medical bills and lost wages that you deserve.
  2. State law requires most automobile insurance companies to pay your medical expenses regardless of who caused the accident. Each policy is different in the amount of coverage for medical expenses. They will send you some forms to fill out so that your medical expenses can be paid. We can help you fill these forms out so that you can begin getting benefits paid as soon as possible.
  3. If your doctor takes you off work, then you may also be eligible for lost wages through your automobile insurance policy. They will require wage verification from your employer in order to pay lost wages while you are off work.  This also an area we can help with.
  4. There other benefits that you may be eligible to receive through your own automobile insurance policy. Each policy is different. It is important to obtain a copy of your policy so that we can go over any other benefits that you may be eligible for.
  5. Depending on the value of your case and the amount of the recovery from the person at fault, your own insurance company may have a right to have medical expenses they paid reimbursed to them.

Demands Made from the Person’s Insurance Company Who Caused the Accident:

  1. Soon after the accident, you will likely be contacted by a person from their automobile insurance company who provides auto insurance for the person who caused the accident. This contact is usually made over the phone or through a letter.
  2. This person is known as a claims adjuster or claims representative. There job is to gather as much information they can about the accident and your injuries.
  3. They may request that you give them a recorded statement about how the accident happened and also ask you about your injuries, as well as your past medical history. Please do not give them a statement until you contact my office and speak to me. Many insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind. Often, they will use your recorded statement to deny that the person who caused the accident is at fault.
  4. They may request that you sign medical authorization forms so they can get your medical records. Some claims adjusters will tell you that your medical expenses may be paid, but that in order to do so, they will need you sign these forms and return them. This is not true.  Until you speak with my office, please do not sign any medical authorization forms. 

Your Health Insurance Company:

  1. If you have health insurance, be sure before submitting any medical bills to them that you determine whether or not your own automobile insurance company is responsible to pay these bills first. Once your own automobile insurance company has paid out all they can, then your health insurance will begin paying the rest of your medical expenses.
  2. Depending on the terms of your health insurance policy, they may or may not ask for reimbursement from any recovery that is made from the person or persons responsible for causing the accident.

Property Damage to Your Car:

  1. When your car has been damaged, and it is determined that another person is at fault for causing the accident, then usually that person’s auto insurance company will pay for the damage to your car.  They will request that you take your car to a mechanic they recommend to evaluate the damage to your car.
  2. If possible, take your car to an auto mechanic that can independently evaluate the damage to your car and give you an estimate of what it will cost to repair your car. Sometimes your own automobile insurance company will give you the name of a mechanic that can do this.
  3. Once the damage to your car is known, you will be given an offer to settle your property damage claim. You will need to be cautious with any offers made and accepted. We can help you with making this decision.  Please be aware that if any settlement is reached, that will require that you sign a Release form.
  4. This Release form means that the insurance company and the person who caused the accident are not responsible for any additional or future payment for damages to your car.
  5. Care needs to be taken that the Release form only releases them for responsibility for damage to your car only and is not a Release that covers damages for your bodily injuries. Again, this is something we can help you with.


Workers’ Compensation

If you, or someone you know is involved in work-related accident, the following basic steps can be helpful in receiving compensation for your work-related injuries:

Reporting and Giving Notice of Your Accident:

  1. The first thing to do when you get injured on the job is to immediately report the accident to your supervisor or boss. If the company has designated a person to report an accident to, then report the accident to that person.  Failure to timely report an accident may be cause to deny your claim and/or benefits.  
  2. You will need to report the day, the time, the place, and if applicable, the shift you were on when the accident occurred. You will also need to report what job you were doing when the accident occurred, and what body part(s) you injured. Failure to include this items may be cause to deny your claim and/or benefits.
  3. Some accidents will not be considered a workers’ compensation injury.  Such things as injuries occurring during horseplay may not be considered a work-related injury.  The best thing to do if you are injured is call our office.  We will be able to determine if you have a valid claim to pursue.

Medical Treatment Compensation:

  1. If your injuries require medical treatment, then you can request that your company’s workers’ compensation insurance company and/or your employer provide you care.
  2. Any medical treatment that you need to help cure and/or relieve the effects of your injuries that is provided by your employer is considered “authorized medical treatment”, and you will not have to pay for this care.
  3. Any medical care that you obtain on your own, under certain circumstances, will be considered “unauthorized medical treatment”, and you may be responsible for paying for this care yourself.
  4. Remember that in exchange for your employer providing and paying for medical treatment, they get to choose the doctor or healthcare provider you go to for care.
  5. In obtaining authorized medical treatment, a doctor will need to give his or her opinion on whether the work-related accident was the “prevailing factor” to cause your injuries, as well as the cause for any subsequent medical care.
  6. The definition of “prevailing factor” is a legal term and is vitally important in establishing a valid claim for benefits. Each work-related claim and the facts surrounding it are different. Thus, proving that your claim meets the “prevailing factor” definition will require evaluating the specific facts of your case. Our firm can help in determining whether your accident and injuries meet the “prevailing factor” definition.
  7. Please keep in mind, that a worker always has the right to go to a doctor of their own choosing and obtain another opinion. Choosing the right doctor is important and should be carefully considered. Our firm has the experience and expertise necessary in getting you to the right doctor in order to maximize the benefits that you deserve.  An opinion from another doctor can be used to negotiate additional medical treatment or persuade an Administrative Law Judge to allow you additional treatment.
  8. Once you reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), then you will receive no additional care, unless agreed to by the parties, or an Administrative Law Judge orders additional care.
  9. You may have the right to request future medical care, but only if your case meets certain conditions. Please know that future medical treatment is not guaranteed.  There is always the responsibility to prove that any future medical care relates back to your original injures, and sometimes this is difficult to prove as time goes on.  Such things as normal wear and tear on your body, or additional accidents can play a part in determining whether you can receive future medical treatment.

Temporary Total Disability Compensation:

  1. If you are injured and taken off work, then you can receive temporary total disability benefits (TTD), a form of lost wages.  TTD will usually be paid for as long as you are taken off of work by an authorized physician.
  2. The amount of TTD a person receives depends on the date you were injured and the amount of your average weekly wage. Usually, TTD is paid at 2/3rds of a person’s average weekly wage. Often a person’s TTD rate is the same as the person’s weekly compensation rate.  However, if a person has a high average weekly wage, TTD may be capped at an amount set by the State, which changes once every year.
  3. A person’s average weekly wage is determined by going back a certain number of weeks from the date of accident. It is important to gather up all of your wages and benefits so that an accurate average weekly wage can be made.  Please know that the higher your average weekly, the higher your overall compensation may be.

Types of Injuries:

  1. Some time ago, each State designated that certain body parts should be assigned a certain number of weeks of compensation. 
  2. For example, an injury to a knee or an arm is listed as a “scheduled injury” and is assigned a certain number of weeks of compensation.
  3. To the same extent, other body parts, such as neck or back, are considered “non-scheduled injuries” and are also assigned a number of weeks of compensation.
  4. Some body parts can be combined which can change the number of weeks of compensation due.
  5. It is important to know that any and all injuries that result from the accident are compensable.  Sometimes an ankle injury will result in a knee problem developing.  Sometimes a knee problem will develop into a back problem. Therefore, it is important that all body parts affected be considered as the claim goes forward.

Disability Compensation:

  1. Once a worker has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), they will be sent to a physician for a disability rating evaluation. Doctors that conduct these evaluations use their expertise and other medical publications to evaluate a person’s disability or impairment for all of their work-related injuries.
  2. The examination will evaluate such things as a person’s range of motion (ROM) and strength to the body part(s) injured. The doctor will then give a percentage from 0% to 100% representing that person’s disability or impairment. The higher the percent of disability or impairment, the higher the compensation will be.
  3. Usually, a person receives either a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) rating or a Permanent Total Disability (PTD) rating. A person who can no longer work because of their injury or injuries, will receive a PTD rating. For all others, a PPD rating will be given.
  4. In Kansas a worker can also receive a Work Disability.  A Work Disability takes into consideration such things as a person’s physical restrictions and the capacity to earn comparable wages.  Currently, with changes in the workers’ compensation laws that occurred in 2011, the criteria in establishing a Work Disability claim is still being determined.
  5. Similar to getting a second opinion for on-going treatment, a worker also has the right to go to a doctor of their own choosing and obtain a disability or impairment rating. Again, choosing the right doctor is important and should be carefully considered. As already mentioned, our firm has the experience and expertise necessary in getting you to the right doctor in order to maximize the benefits that you deserve.  A disability rating from another doctor can be used to negotiate a settlement or persuade an Administrative Law Judge to allow you additional compensation.
  6. Once a disability or impairment rating has been completed, your average weekly wage and weekly compensation rate has been determined, and depending on the jurisdiction, the number of weeks you received TTD has been determined, then disability compensation can be calculated.  Kansas and Missouri each has a different formula to calculate overall disability compensation.


Other Basics:

Mileage Reimbursement:

  1. A worker can also receive reimbursement for mileage to and from an authorized doctor’s office or from any other authorized healthcare provider.  Each year the mileage rate changes. For the last several years it has averaged approximately $.50 cents per mile. Please note that there are certain restrictions that apply to receiving reimbursement such as the distance involved and where the healthcare provider is located.

Unauthorized Medical Treatment Reimbursement:

  1. A worker who has a Kansas worker’s compensation claim can seek reimbursement up to $500.00 for getting a second opinion or for treatment from a physician or healthcare provider of their own choosing.  Please know however that this reimbursement does not apply to obtaining a disability or impairment rating from a physician. 

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