The following changes went into effect on May 15, 2011

Accident: Must be the prevailing factor in causing the injury. K.S.A. 44-508 Arising out of and in the course of employment: Injuries that arise from natural aging process, normal activities of daily living, neutral risks, personal risks, idiopathic causes or non-mandatory social/recreational events do not arise out of and in the course of employment. K.S.A. 44-508

Arising out of and in the course of employment: Injuries that arise from natural aging process, normal activities of daily living, neutral risks, personal risks, idiopathic causes or non-mandatory social/recreational events do not arise out of and in the course of employment. K.S.A. 44-508

Attorney Fees: Employer and insurance carrier not liable for post-award attorneys fees if additional compensation denied and it is determined that attorney engaged in frivolous prosecution of claim. K.S.A. 44-536

Average weekly wage: additional compensation now includes employer-paid disability benefits when such benefits are terminated. Compute AWW by averaging earnings over 26 week period preceding accident. See statute for changes regarding multiple employment, volunteers, community service workers and civil air patrol. K.S.A. 44-511

Body as a whole: includes multiple scheduled injuries. K.S.A. 44-510e

Credit for pre-existing functional impairment: P.P.D., work disability and P.T.D. awards shall be reduced by pre-existing functional impairment. K.S.A. 44-501

Credit for retirement benefits: benefits reduced by weekly equivalent of all retirement benefits, less portion attributable to contributions made by employee. K.S.A. 44-501

Drugs and alcohol: employer not liable when injury is contributed to by employee’s use of alcohol or drugs. K.S.A. 44-501

Death claims: Maximum $300,000.00 benefit. Up to $1,000.00 for court-appointed conservator. K.S.A. 44-510b

Failure to prosecute claim: employer may file application for dismissal if claim has not proceeded to regular hearing, settlement or award within 3 years of the date of filing the application for hearing. May request dismissal of any claim that does not proceed to regular hearing within 1 year of denial of benefits at preliminary hearing. K.S.A. 44-523

Failure to use a safety guard: compensation shall be disallowed if injury results from deliberate intention to cause the injury, willful failure to use a guard. K.S.A. 44-501

Future medical treatment: Obligation to provide medical treatment presumed to terminate when employee reaches maximum medical improvement, unless medical evidence proves that additional medical treatment is necessary. No award for future medical treatment unless right to same proven to be required. Where an award is entered for future medical treatment, provision is made for employers and insurance carriers to make application for termination or modification of medical treatment. Accident must be the prevailing factor causing the need for future medical care. If no medical treatment within 2 years of award or last date of medical treatment, presumed that no further care is needed. Employer may make application for permanent termination of medical benefits. K.S.A. 44-510k and 44-525

Independent medical examination: if at least 2 medical opinions disagree as to the percentage of functional impairment, administrative law judge may refer the employee to an independent health care provider. The independent health care provider’s opinion regarding functional impairment shall be considered by the administrative law judge in making a final determination. K.S.A. 44-516

Medical examinations: all benefits shall be suspended if employee refuses to submit to a medical examination, even if employer is under a preliminary order to provide benefits. K.S.A. 44-515

Notice: 30 day time limit, weekends included. K.S.A. 44-520

Permanent total disability: definition excludes language regarding multiple scheduled injuries. Maximum $155,000.00 benefit. K.S.A. 44-510c and 44-510f

Permanent or temporary partial disability: Maximum $130,000.00 benefit. K.S.A. 44-510f

Permanent partial disability (functional): Maximum $75,000.00 benefit, without regard to prior payment of temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits. K.S.A. 44-510f

Repetitive trauma: must be the prevailing factor in causing the injury. K.S.A. 44-508

Scheduled injuries: T.P.D. now payable for scheduled injuries. Compute benefits for multiple injuries to a scheduled member at the highest applicable level on the schedule. K.S.A. 44-510d

Settlements: parties may prorate a lump sum settlement over the life expectancy of the employee. This new provision is retroactive. K.S.A. 44-531

Temporary Partial Disability: payable for scheduled injuries. May be considered at a preliminary hearing. K.S.A. 44-510d, 44-510f and 44-534a

Temporary Total Disability: first check must include required warning to employee:

Warning: Acceptance of employment with a different employer that requires the performance of activities you have stated you cannot perform because of the injury for which you are receiving temporary total disability benefits could constitute fraud and could result in loss of future benefits and restitution of prior workers compensation awards and benefits paid.

Maximum $130,000.00 benefit

Authorized treating physician’s opinion determinative regarding work status. T.T.D. must be paid if employer can not provide accommodated work. No T.T.D. if employee refuses accommodated work. No liability for T.T.D. if employee terminated for cause or voluntarily resigns and accommodated work available. Employee can not receive T.T.D. and unemployment benefits at the same time. K.S.A. 44-510c and 44-510f

Work disability: impairment must exceed 7.5% for the current injury or 10% overall if pre-existing conditions included. Wage loss must be at least 10%. 5 year look-back for task loss. Do not include tasks employee prevented from performing by virtue of prior permanent restrictions. Wage loss is the difference between the date of injury wage and the wage the employee is capable of earning post-injury.

No post-injury wage loss if employee not able to enter into a valid contract of employment. Wage loss due to voluntary resignation or termination for cause is not wage loss caused by the injury. Weekly value of employer-paid fringe benefits are included in post-injury average weekly wage. K.S.A. 44-510e