We Can Help You with All Aspects of Your Disability Claim
If you have been injured at work, you are probably entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This should pay for your lost wages and any medical care you may need. If you are permanently disabled and unable to return to work, then you should receive a payment intended to compensate you for your lost future earnings.
The Dixon Injury Firm provides a wide range of legal services, including assistance with disability claims. Our St. Louis disability claims lawyers provide personalized legal counsel to clients and their families. If you need help filing your initial claim, appealing a denied claim, or navigating any other aspect of securing disability benefits, turn to our team for a free consultation.
What Is Partial Disability?
Missouri Statutes Section 287.190 provides that anyone suffering permanent partial disability will be paid two thirds of their average weekly wage multiplied by a specific number assigned to each body part. So, for example, the loss of a hand is worth 175 weeks for your salary. The loss of the tip of your pinky finger would be worth 16 weeks of your salary, while the tip of your thumb is worth 45 weeks.
The state provides a chart of how much each body part is worth. For the extremities, there is a sliding scale valuing each body part based on its importance (as defined by the state). The loss of sight in one eye is worth 140 weeks, loss of hearing in one ear is 49 weeks, loss of hearing in both ears is 180 weeks, and so on. Disfigurement to the head, neck, hands, or arms can also be compensated, even if it is not a functional impairment, but the maximum is 40 weeks.
For injuries that are not on the schedule, the compensation is supposed to be set in proportion to the amount of loss, up to 400 weeks. This can include debilitating diseases, like respiratory problems or back injuries. The system struggles to handle these types of claims fairly because these injuries can be hard to prove and yet so damaging to a person.
Total Disability Claims
Under Missouri Statutes Section 287.200, an employee that is deemed to have suffered a permanent total disability is to receive the weekly compensation calculation (approximately 2/3rds salary) for the rest of his or her life. “Total disability” is defined as being unable to return to any employment, not just the victim’s previous job. This makes permanent disability very hard to get, as doctors may argue that, while you may not be able to return to your previous place of employment, you are still able to work in some capacity. It may seem unfair for a worker to be forced to return to a lesser-paying job just because he or she was injured at work, but this is often what happens. Sometimes, however, a lawyer can help negotiate the circumstances of returning to work.
Understanding Temporary Disability
Workers can also make disability claims, partial or total, that are temporary. Missouri Statutes Section 287.149 provides that while the worker is getting rehabilitation for a disability, he or she must be compensated. However, in order to receive disability payments, the employee must continue the rehabilitation process. If he or she refuses, the benefits can be reduced or stopped altogether. Once the worker returns to a job, these temporary benefits go away.
How to Find a Disability Claims Attorney
When you open a partial or total disability claim, it’s important to find an attorney who has experience in this area of law. At The Dixon Injury Firm, our St. Louis disability lawyers work hard to ensure clients have the resources they need to win.
Here are a couple questions to ask your potential disability claims attorney:
- How much does legal services cost clients? This varies on the disability claim and various factors. At The Dixon Injury Firm, we utilize a contingency system, meaning our services are free if we do not recover compensation for you. If we are successful in securing disability benefits on your behalf, our attorneys’ fees are paid via a portion (a pre-determined percentage) of your recovery.
- How much would I win? Again, the answer to this also depends on the case. Our St. Louis disability claims lawyers try to win clients benefits to cover the cost of medical expenses, personal hardship, and other financial losses.
- What’s next? In most cases, the first step is to contact your lawyer for more information and to schedule a consultation. During this initial meeting, your attorney will be able to go over the specifics of your claim and discuss in greater detail how your case may unfold.
Why You Need a Disability Attorney
Because disability claims can be so expensive, employers and their insurance companies will often do all they can to fight them off. Subtle differences in how a case is judged can make a huge difference. For example, a mangled arm that still works a little bit could be on the edge between a permanent disability warranting a huge payout, or it could be deemed a temporary disability that only warrants vocational rehabilitation.
It is absolutely critical that you have an experienced attorney working to defend your best interests and protect your rights against large insurance companies. At The Dixon Injury Firm, we focus a great deal of our legal practice on partial and total disability claims. Recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, our founding attorney, Christopher Dixon, understands how difficult these cases are for victims.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132