Basic Understanding of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation Law in St. Louis, MO
Workers’ compensation is statutory, meaning Missouri requires employers with five or more employees to offer workers’ compensation coverage for employees who are injured on the job. The specific details and process of filing a workers’ compensation claim differ state-by-state. However, all states’ workers’ compensation laws include a no-fault process that protects both employees and employers.
It is important to note that by law in Missouri, you only have 30 days to report your injury to your employer unless specific circumstances arise. If you fail to do so, that could eliminate your ability to file a claim completely. Check with a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer to determine the statute of limitations on your claim. Once filed, judges throughout the state work to resolve workers’ compensation disputes. Once a decision has been made, either party can file to appeal a ruling by the Missouri Industrial Commission’s judges.
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries in St. Louis, MO
Work-related injuries are unfortunately a common part of many different professional fields.
- Unacceptable working conditions
- Defective or broken equipment
- Unsafe construction sites
- Exposure to chemicals, such as developing mesothelioma from asbestos
- Affliction to previous conditions
All of the above can cause work-related injuries. Fortunately, workers are covered by the state’s workers’ compensation laws, which protect workers from paying out of pocket to cover medical costs and lost wages due to work-related injuries.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in St. Louis?
There are three parties commonly involved in a workers’ compensation claim: the worker, the employer, and an insurance provider. These three parties arbitrate fair compensation based on the degree of the injuries and the guidelines set by state workers’ compensation laws.
Workers receive compensation for work-related injuries in the form of benefits. These benefits include any medical costs involved with the injury at work and partial wage payments (average of 2/3 of normal wages) for the duration of the lost work time. The length of these payouts and maximum payouts are capped by Missouri workers’ compensation laws. 2/3’s may seem unfair, but these payouts are not taxed, so they actually translate fairly closely to most normal paychecks.
The Four Levels of Worker Disability
- Temporary Total Disability: an injury that totally prevents the employee from participating at work for a limited time.
- Permanent Total Disability: an injury that permanently prevents you from returning to work and limits your ability to participate in a similar occupational field.
- Temporary Partial Disability: an injury that prevents you from participating in certain work duties for a limited time at most.
- Permanent Partial Disability: a permanent injury that only partially prevents an employee from participating in their work duties.
Along with medical costs and lost wages, employees may be entitled to other benefits for other damages.
Punitive damages are not commonly included in workers’ compensation benefits. In the case that injuries are substantial enough to be considered life-altering, the employee may receive an additional lump-sum for damages.
In the case that a work-related accident results in an employee’s death, the immediate family of the deceased may be entitled to death benefits. If no immediate family exists, the next-of-kin, which is often determined through administrative hearings, becomes the beneficiary of any death benefits. These benefits included a capped sum that covers funeral expenses and compensation in the sum of partial normal wages. These sums are set by the State of Missouri’s workers’ compensation laws.
Workers’ Compensation Disability Claims
If you suffer from an injury at work that impedes your ability to complete your daily duties at work, you may qualify for disability. The three primary types of disability are:
- Workers’ compensation
- State disability benefits
- Social security disability insurance
It is important to familiarize yourself with the differences in the three so that you know which disability you are eligible to receive.
Social Security Disability (SSDI)
Unlike workers’ compensation, workers are eligible to receive social security disability insurance (SSDI) for any injury, including non-work related incidents, as long as the injury affects the worker’s ability to participate in the workforce. Disability is covered by the state rather than your employer. SSDI is funded through deductions in your paycheck and is resourced to any worker who has paid into the system. For low-income individuals who have not paid into the SSDI system, the Social Security Administration offers Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
In order to qualify for SSDI or SSI, your disability must prevent you from earning a minimum salary as a full-time employee. The disability must also either have lasted, or be expected to last at least one calendar year or is expected to result in death. The Social Security Administration offers a full range of acceptable disabilities in the “Blue Book.” This list does not comprise the full list of acceptable disabilities, and if yours is not listed, it may still qualify.
You can file a social security disability claim through the Social Security Administration on their webpage, telephone, or in-person in the office. The workers’ compensation claim process can be overwhelming, time-sensitive, and complex. It may be helpful to seek aid from a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer.
SSDI and SSI cover partial lost wages and medical expenses. You may be eligible to receive social security if you are receiving workers’ compensation, but only under certain circumstances. You would be expected to repay any social security coverage that workers’ compensation also covers.
St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
Once you have been injured while on the job, it is important to contact a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. We will walk you through the process, which typically involves:
- Notifying the Employer – This is an imperative step and should be completed quickly. In Missouri, you must notify your employer of an injury within 30 days. Failure to do so can jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. According to the handbook on State of Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation Division, notification of injury must be made in writing and include the “nature of the injury, where and when it occurred, and the name and address of the person injured.” Your employer may have an Accident or Injury Report form to use, but if not, reports of injuries can be made on Missouri’s Division of Workers’ Compensation website. Once completed, the form should be submitted to your employer.
- Seeking Medical Treatment – While you may have received medical treatment immediately after the accident occurred, it is important to follow up with a doctor to ensure there are no other injuries or existing damage.
- Filing a Claim – Your legal team will work with you to collect all evidence and calculate damages suffered to file a claim. It is important a claim is filed within the timeline of the statute of limitations. Basically, the statute of limitations is a time-frame of how long you have to file a claim. In Missouri, a claim must be filed within two years of the date of injury or death, or within two years after your last benefit payment was made.
- Attending a Workers’ Compensation Benefits Hearing – While you are permitted to attend the hearing, your lawyer will work on your behalf to represent your best interests.
- Filing an Appeal, if Necessary – If the Missouri Industrial Commission’s judges do not rule in your favor, an appeal can be filed to ensure you receive that maximum amount of benefits.
While all of these steps can be accomplished by you alone, it is in your best interest to hire a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer to alleviate any further stress. Your main focus should be recovering from your injuries, not stressing out about the compensation.
Hiring a St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
The workers’ compensation claim process can be very complex, involving time-sensitive deadlines and very specific paperwork. Along with these speed bumps, creating a full list of damages along with the proper tangible evidence to prove your claims may be hard to do alone.
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer can be very beneficial. You can focus on the healing process while your St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer takes care of the hassles of filing a strong claim, ensuring that you get the full compensation that you deserve.
An experienced St Louis workers’ compensation lawyer will help navigate the civil lawsuit process while you concentrate on your physical recovery. If you have any questions, reach out to a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your legal options.
TorHoerman Law – Your St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Law Firm
Our team of experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyers understands how devastating workplace injuries can be. Our St. Louis workers’ compensation law firm has won more than $4 billion in verdicts and negotiated settlements for our clients. TorHoerman Law operates on a contingency fee basis. Thus, you do not owe any payment until you have been compensated. Contact one of our expert St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyers to find out if you are eligible to file a lawsuit. You may use the chatbot below for a free, no-obligation case consultation.
For additional information, see the following pages:
For additional practice areas in St. Louis, MO, see the following pages:
- St. Louis Injury Lawyer
- St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
- St. Louis MO Trucking Accident Attorney
- St. Louis Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyer
- St. Louis Wrongful Death Attorney
- St. Louis Slip and Fall Lawyer
- Bicycle Accident Attorney St. Louis
- St. Louis Premises Liability
- St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
- St. Louis Medical Malpractice Lawyer
- St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyer
- St. Louis Bus Accident Lawyer
- St. Louis Assault Lawyer
- St. Louis Chemical Exposure Lawyer
- St. Louis Daycare Injury Lawyer
- St. Louis Uber Accident Attorneys
- Lyft Accident Attorney St. Louis
- St. Louis Mesothelioma Lawyer
- St. Louis Construction Accident Lawyer
- St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer