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Kansas Workers Compensation minimal
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Dear Editor,
People who work in Kansas have minimal protection by Workers Compensation, especially in cases that result in death. I learned this after the death of my father. Dad was a mechanic at USD 320 in Wamego. He sustained serious and eventually fatal injuries when a van he was working on backed up over him. An OSHA investigation found serious deficiencies in the safety procedures at his workplace.
My dad was a widow with no dependent children. His Workers Compensation death benefit was supposed to be a meager $25,000. However, because dads employer provided more than $18,500 in life insurance, the death benefit was $0. Yes, you are reading this correctly. A worker can be killed on the job due to gross employer negligence and the business has minimal liability if the worker is single and without dependents.
To add insult to injury, dads life insurance was a member benefit through KPERS. Dad contributed 6% of every paycheck to be a member. Therefore, it is a stretch to say his life insurance was employer provided.
Workers Compensation is a form of insurance that is supposed to provide collective liability. It ensures compensation to workers. However in exchange workers relinquish all rights to sue their employer. Has Workers Compensation in Kansas been reduced to a point where the trade-off is no longer fair and just? I would argue yes. My family feels that we have been denied of our constitutional right for due process and we have no recourse. All lives should have some value.
Melanie Beck