Being hurt on the job can lead to a number of hardships and complications, such as medical bills, unpaid wages, and thousands of dollars in associated expenses and costs.
Here are a few things you should know about Missouri workers’ compensation claims:
- If you’re injured at work in Missouri, you may be able to receive temporary total or partial disability benefits. Usually, temporary disability covers 66 percent of an injured worker’s average gross wages for a certain amount of time. Temporary partial disability entitles workers who were injured to 66 percent wages who are placed in a modified job position. Temporary benefits end once a physician clears a worker as recovered or when maximum medical improvement has been reached.
- In Missouri, you have 30 days to inform an employer about an injury. According to Missouri Statute 287.430, there is a two-year timeframe to file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. However, it is essential to contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible if you’re injured on the job.
- Some benefits you can claim include medical care, partial/temporary disability, and other expenses. If a family member is killed on the job, survivors can receive up to $5,000 in burial costs, among other benefits.
- Missouri Statute 287.148 mentions loss of gainful and suitable employment. For instance, if you are injured, you may not be able to work in your previous position. Most employers will have to offer vocational training so an injured employee can get a new job within their abilities.
- A major difference between Missouri workers’ compensation claims and personal injury cases is that injured employees can’t claim pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation laws are a trade-off between workers and their employers. You can’t sue employers or co-workers and, in return, you can claim lost wages and other benefits. Personal injury claims are framed around fault and negligence.
Missouri labor laws are complicated. It’s our goal at The Dixon Injury Firm to help you get through the claims process and make sure you get the maximum compensation possible. Remember, the point of workers’ compensation is to provide coverage—not give you the ability to start a lawsuit.
Aside from contacting a workers’ compensation lawyer right away, there are a few steps you should take after a work-related accident or injury.
Here is what you or a family member should do after a workplace injury:
- Seek Medical Attention: The most important step is to get medical help. Visit your physician as soon as possible to receive treatment. Get copies of x-rays and other medical records.
- File an Accident Report: States like Missouri require employees who were hurt at work to inform their employer within a month (30 days) of the accident. Even if injuries are minor, filing a report may prevent future injuries. Be sure to report your injury.
- Document Everything: An important thing to do is to document everything. This may include expenses like medical bills, childcare, lost wages, and any physical limitations. All of this information can help you justify your workers’ compensation claim.
- Call a Workers’ Compensation Attorney: We’re serious about the importance of contacting a workers’ compensation attorney near you. You may suffer greatly from lost income, and it’s our goal to help you mitigate injuries and recover financial damages after a workplace accident.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Missouri
In Missouri, there are different benefits workers can receive if they are hurt on the job. You can get partial or temporary disability, lost wages, reimbursement for treatment, compensation for vocational training, and more. In Missouri, you’ll get two-thirds of your weekly wages if you can’t work after an injury.
If you’ve lost a family member due to a workplace accident, like a fall or occupational exposure to harmful chemicals, you may be able to get the amount of income/wages the employee would’ve earned over the course of their lifetime. Workers’ compensation death benefits are typically available to surviving family members, such as a spouse or child.
How Much Is My Workers Compensation Claim Worth?
Being injured on the job can greatly impact your financial situation and your quality of life. Injured workers often wonder how much their workers compensation claims are worth or how to maximize weekly payouts from their employers. However, it is not possible to say with specificity how much your claim may be worth without first going over the details or your situation. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call and can schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case and the possible value of your claim.
What Are Weekly Compensation Benefits?
Weekly benefits depend on a number of factors. First and foremost, not every company offers disability. Some states require employers to do so, but some do not. If a company is private, for example, that company may offer its employees a short-term disability policy for employees that have been in work-related accidents.
There are two types of disability benefits that vary based on plans and state laws:
- Temporary and Permanent Disability: “Temporary” refers to an injured employee that is in recovery and expects to get better. Permanent disability, then, is when they reach MMI (maximum medical improvement) and aren’t expected to improve.
- Total and Partial Disability: Partial disability hinders an employee to the point where he or she is unable to perform day-to-day work. Often, an employer can change the employee’s role to better fit their abilities. Total disability is when an employee is no longer able to perform any sort of work.
Usually, the amount an injured employee can receive per week is equal to 60 percent of their base/pre-injury average wage. Certain states cap weekly disability benefits no matter how high an employee’s average weekly wage (AWW) is.
For example, John makes $1,000 a week and suffers an injury. He is partially disabled. Given his AWW, the employer may be obligated to pay at least $600 per week while John is on disability.
If the disability is permanent, such as a crippling back injury, John can go to a doctor and, following the American Medical Association Impairment Guidelines, is given a rating based on the level of permanent impairment. If the state’s laws say $100,000 is what a loss of hand function is worth, and John’s doctor says he suffered 40 percent loss after the work injury, John would be eligible for $40,000.
Do Employers Pay for Medical Treatment?
If you’re injured on the job, you have the right to request reimbursement for reasonable and necessary medical treatment. There are limits to reimbursement, however, and an insurer may decide that your treatment has lasted several months more than expected and you haven’t shown signs of improvement. Also, an insurer may hesitate to pay out for seemingly unrelated treatment, such as visits to the chiropractor for a hand issue or expensive prescription drugs.
If an insurer refuses to pay for treatment or withholds payment, it’s important to reach out to a workers’ compensation lawyer, bring it up to your human resources department, and/or reach out to the state’s workers comp agency. “Reasonable” treatment usually includes transportation costs for victims traveling to and from appointments.
Employers may also offer what is known as vocational rehabilitation, or job retraining, if an injured employee is unable to continue their former duties after a temporary or permanent injury.
The majority of the time, when employees are undergoing treatment for a workplace injury, working with a workers’ comp lawyer can be the difference between a smooth and easy victory and an expensive, time-consuming loss.
What to Expect from a Workers Compensation Claim
Most states don’t allow workers’ comp victims to claim non-economic damages. These include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
Workers’ compensation claims are meant to reimburse injured workers but only for the injury that occurred on the job and because of the job.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Cases We Handle
In most cases, the process for filing a compensation claim is straightforward. The important thing for you to do is to communicate with your lawyer, union rep if you have one, and your employer.
Our St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyers can help you with claims involving the following and more:
- Occupational exposure
- Construction equipment injuries
- Railroad accidents
- Wage and hour violations
- Social security disability
- Truck yard accidents
- Airline injuries
- Barge/shipping accidents
- Employer negligence
- Boathouse injury
- Mining accidents
- Delayed payment claim
- FMLA leave
- Bus accidents
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Company doctor claim
- Sports equipment injury
- Conveyor belt injury
- Forklift injury
- Medical care claims
At The Dixon Injury Firm, we understand what it takes to recover the most compensation for your workers’ compensation claim, and we won’t give up even in the face of highly complex and challenging claims. The Dixon Injury Firm has recovered more than $50,000,000 in settlements for personal injury victims. Recently, founding attorney, Christopher Dixon, and our team recovered notable damages for slip and fall accident victims, truck accident victims, and car accident victims, with the average settlement ranging between $50,000 to $2,000,000.
Missouri workers are entitled to medical and disability benefits. If you have problems receiving benefits, you should contact a local workers’ compensation attorney soon as possible. Our attorneys are here to help hurt workers with complicated claims. You might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you were hurt by a bodily injury, a slip or fall, overexertion, being struct by an object, a highway accident, or workplace violence.
The Dixon Injury Firm is passionate about fighting for injured Missourians and the families of those wrongfully killed in work-related accidents. Our experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyers know what it takes to recover the most compensation for your case and will do everything in their power to obtain full compensation for your harm and losses.
If you have recently been injured in work-related accident, or have lost someone due to a workplace injury, don’t hesitate to call (314) 208-2808 today to schedule a free consultation.