Introduction to Missouri Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Missouri Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ Compensation is a law that was created by the Missouri legislature in the 1920s. Many of our laws originate from England and were known as Common Law. The Common Law was created by Judges that interpreted rights and written documents to create a history of legal rights for every person. Workers’ compensation law did not exist at Common Law. Back then Employees had the right to sue their employers on an allegation to keep a safe workplace.

Workers’ compensation was created and passed into law in every state in the United States to provide the following as a social compromise:

  • To reduce the number of lawsuits against employers in civil court,
  • Where an employee was injured due to a risk or hazard at work they had a right to bring a workers’ compensation claim, regardless of fault, against their employer,
  • That the employee would receive something for both time off due to the injury or treatment for the injury, medical treatment paid by the employer until the employee would no longer improve,
  • A lump sum amount of amount of money if the employee could return to work after treatment is over (i.e. permanent partial disability),
  • A lifetime weekly payment of money if the injury took the employee out of the workplace (i.e. permanent total disability).

The Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation:
The Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation (the “Division”) was officially established in 1926 and is controlled by Statute, Chapter 287. Your rights are set forth in this Chapter. Workers’ Compensation changed the common law by creating a no-fault system. Meaning, so long as you were hurt during the course and scope of your employment, your work injury was covered- regardless if it was your own fault you got hurt.

The Division is the administrative court system we have today that hears cases in workers’ compensation. Every year, the Division provides reports as to the frequency, numbers, and types of work place injuries that occur in Missouri. They report 14,326 Claims for Compensation filed by injured workers and 102,723 first reports of injury filed by Employer/Insurers in Missouri for 2015 alone. Assuming those claims were for 2015 injuries, only roughly 14% of the reported injured workers filed claims. Many workers simply miss out on the benefits that they are entitled to by law.

If you do not assert your rights and hire an attorney to represent you then no one else will- Do not take any chances with your health and safety.

In other words, an employee must take it upon themselves to exercise their work comp rights and seek benefits. Missouri Workers’ Compensation was created as a right for all workers who had been hurt or hired in Missouri.

Workers not only have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim for sudden accidental injuries but also for:

  • Repetitive trauma (i.e. Carpal Tunnel / Cubital Tunnel);
  • Overuse stress or strain;
  • Occupational Diseases;
  • Exposurer to harmful Substances or Chemicals;
  • Breathing / Inhalation injuries;
  • Radiation / Dust/ or any other Noxious Material;
  • Strain Sprains;
  • Broken Bones;
  • Head, Neck, Back injuries;
  • Vision and hearing loss;
  • Burn injuries.

The truth is almost all injuries are now covered.

Be sure to investigate with one of our lawyers as to whether you have a claim before listening to your work supervisor’s advice when he/she tells you there is nothing you can do. The law is constantly changing. Therefore, an injury that was once thought to not be covered by workers’ compensation may now be covered.

Some steps you should take immediately when injured on the job:

  • Give a written report of injury to your employer;
  • Demand, in writing, that your employer provide you with medical care and a doctor;
  • Preserve the Evidence – as times goes on it is harder to find evidence. Be sure to hold on to any pictures, videos, letters, emails, texts, and items that are relevant to your case;
  • Tell the doctor how you were injured at work and give them a list of all your symptoms from the injury;
  • Document Everything- keep track of the medical providers information and timing of events;
  • File a Claim for Compensation- Contact a lawyer immediately to help file this legal document. If not filed in time then you will receive nothing.

* Each case is different and judged on its own merits. This list is not exhaustive. This is why we urge you to first contact an attorney after your injury.

What are the Benefits You Can Receive from Workers’ Comp?

Medical Treatment Workers’ Comp Benefits

The first workers’ comp benefit is medical treatment paid by the Employer. Your employer has the legal right to choose the doctors and medical providers. Some exceptions to this include emergency situations and if the employer has waived their right to choose. Paid medical treatment benefits may include:

  • Doctor Bills
  • Emergency Room Visits
  • Hospital Bills
  • Medications
  • Medical Equipment
  • Travel Expenses
  • Therapy
  • Long-Term or future Medical Care Expenses

It is important to contact one of our lawyers to see if you qualify for all or some benefits. You may not qualify for some benefits.

Temporary Disability Workers’ Comp Benefits

Injured workers who are unable to work or are limited in their ability to work for a certain period of time due to their workplace injury may be entitled to receive a partial wage replacement compensation for each week they have lost wages.

There are two types of temporary disabilities:

  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

You never receive full wages in workers’ compensation. You must determine your average weekly wage in order to calculate your “wage rate.” All wage rates are capped at the state average weekly wage depending on the date you were injured. Wage rates are very commonly miscalculated by employers and adjusters. This in turn can drastically reduce your benefits.

Tip – An injured worker should always ask the doctor for a copy of any light duty/off work restrictions and request the employer accommodate it.

Permanent Disability Workers’ Comp Benefits

After you receive medical treatment provided by your Employer you will eventually be released from medical care at maximum medical improvement (MMI).This doesn’t mean you are cured of all symptoms and problems but that the doctor believes you are left in this condition for the foreseeable future. If you still have symptoms or problems after being released you may either need more treatment or will be left with those symptoms and problems for the rest of your life.

In addition to the Employer paying for related medical treatment, you are entitled to permanent benefits. Permanent benefits assume you have ongoing symptoms and/or problems that you will suffer from for the rest of your life due to the work injury. Permanent disability benefits come in two forms:

  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – You can go back to work but have some form of permanent disability, limitations, symptoms, or problems. Benefits for this are calculated in a lump sum amount.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD) – You can not go back to work in any capacity in any job. You may be awarded at trial as much as 2/3 your average weekly wage for the rest of your life paid in the same weekly manner your Employer paid you. This can be settled for a lump sum amount only if the parties agree. An Administrative Law Judge cannot award a lump sum amount for a PTD award unless certain criteria for commutation of benefits is proven under the statute.

It is very important to contact us to determine whether you qualify for benefits. Many times a worker is suffering from a work disease or injury for which he/she is not able to recognize completely. These can be involuntary symptoms that surface as unrecognizable and require a thorough examination from a medical professional.

Second Injury Fund Benefits

You may be eligible to receive benefits from the Second Injury Fund if you suffered from a pre-existing disability from a previous injury, disease, or health problem. This can include all things, not just previous work injuries.

If your injury at work combines with your pre-existing injuries together to make you permanently and totally disabled then you may be entitled permanent total disability benefits for the rest of your life paid for by the Second Injury Fund for the State of Missouri. You may also be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits again the Second Injury Fund.

Contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer to Learn More About Your Benefits

This website is not intended to cover all benefits that you may be entitled to. The Workers’ compensation law is contained in Chapter 287 of Missouri statutes. It is over 140 pages long and contains over 72,000 words. There are more benefits that require an in depth conversation.

Do not hesitate to pursue workers’ comp benefits. It is your right.

  • The Edelman Law Office has helped thousands of injured workers.
  • We are a law office composed of family members committed to giving you personal attention from the moment you call until the moment you receive your workers’ comp benefits.
  • We focus only on personal injury and workers’ compensation for people and not companies.
  • Speak with an actual injury lawyer.

Call us directly at 314-631-6777 to get answers to your questions and to learn more about your potential benefits under workers’ comp law.