Workers Compensation Claims
Work comp laws were developed as a response to the needs of injured miners who had no recourse for financial recovery after a work accident, and they’re still very important to workers today.
Workers’ Compensation Law differs from other types of personal injury law, so it’s important to educate yourself before making a work comp claim. Hopefully this page will help.
Is My Injury Covered by Worker’s Compensation?
Most of the time, if you’re injured on the job in Missouri, your injury will be covered by worker’s compensation. This typically includes medical bills, lost wages, and some benefits to your family if you are fatally injured at work.
Unfortunately, companies and private employers have been known disregard these laws and fail to pay sufficient money to those injured or disabled on the job. From sending employees to “employer-biased doctors” to threatening injured employees with termination, unfair treatment of injured employees is commonplace in workers’ compensation claims.
While your injury may be covered, it’s important to know your rights.
Report your Injury to Your Supervisor
If you are injured or become ill because of something that happened at work, report the injury or illness to your supervisor and seek the necessary medical care immediately!
Throughout your treatment, keep medical records and receipts filed. They may become important in the future.
Filing a Work Comp Claim
After you report your injury or illness to your employer, your employer should report this to its insurance company, or if the employer is self-insured, it should report this to its claims handling office.
Most of the time, employees elect to handle this process on their own without an attorney. While this choice is sometimes appropriate, if you feel unsure about how your company is handling your work comp claim, or would like an attorney’s perspective, you’re always more than welcome to give us a call.
Part of the reason Schultz & Myers always offers personal injury consultations free of charge is because many people never know when it’s appropriate to hire a lawyer.
While we’re not fortune tellers, our work comp attorneys are experts in the field and can give you an idea of what the best course of action for you will be, and what you might expect to see while you pursue your claim.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
The first work comp term we’ll look into is temporary total disability (TTD). If you have been injured on the job, and missed work as a result of the injury, you can seek TTD benefits. A doctor must certify that you are unable to return to work because you are recovering from the injury.
Temporary Partial Disability
Temporary partial disability comes into play if you are injured on the job, and the doctor limits your physical activity. If the injury prevents you from performing certain job requirements, but you can still work at a reduced job level, temporary partial disability will cover the pay difference.
Permanent Disability in Excess of Physical Impairment
Permanent disability in excess of physical impairment (PPD > PPI) is not something that the insurance companies will often tell you about. In certain situations, victims of work-related injuries may be entitled to disability payments above the physical impairment. This would be talked about once the employee approaches the maximum medical improvement.
Total and Permanent Disability (TPD)
If an injury is so severe that a worker is completely disabled for the remainder of his or her life, the employee would be eligible for permanent and total disability benefits.
What if I was Partially to Blame for my Injury?
Workers have a right to receive benefits for work related injury or illness even if his negligence, or that of a co-worker, contributed to the injury or illness. However, a worker is not entitled to benefits if:
- the worker injured himself or herself intentionally;
- the worker was injured while voluntarily participating in an off-duty activity; or
- the injury occurred during horseplay or fighting initiated by the injured worker.
I think my Employer was Grossly Negligent. Can I File Suit?
Generally, no. An employer is almost never liable for anything other than worker’s compensation. However, in some occasions employees may be able to file suit against outside companies or corporations whose negligence may have contributed to the injury. For example, if a piece of machinery was defective, and you were injured because of the defect, you may be able to sue the manufacturer.
These types of cases are referred to as “third-party cases” because your injury may occur as the result of the fault of someone other than you or your employer.
Third-party claims are another reason why it’s important to consult with an attorney even if you expect to be filing the work comp claim on your own. If this is an avenue of recovery that you are unsure about, a lawyer can help you with this paperwork.
How much does a Work Comp Lawyer Cost?
Workers compensation lawyers at Schultz & Myers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they won’t get paid until the end of the claim, and they get paid a certain percentage of what you recover. You know the percentage up front. In Missouri, this is usually about 20-30% – slightly less than a traditional personal injury claim.
The contingency fee basis is one way Schultz & Myers puts clients first. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
Resources for Filing on your Own
Our office receives several calls a day from people who’ve been injured on the job. The fact of the matter is, we can’t take every single case. If we don’t think a lawyer will help you recover, we won’t take your case. (But consultations are still free, so there’s no harm in asking).
Whether you handle the claim on your own or you hire an attorney, consider requesting one of Josh Myers’s Ultimate Missouri Work Comp Books. We recently updated to the second edition, and the guide is filled with information that will help walk you through the steps of filing your claim. It includes a glossary of words used in Worker’s Compensation, so you won’t get lost in the legal jargon.
These guides are completely free. If you want one, fill out a form on our website, or call 314-444-4444 today.