|Workers’ Compensation FAQ
Learn about common workers’ compensation issues from experienced attorney Patrick O’Brien.
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is based on the concept that any employee engaged in work is entitled to compensation if the employee is injured at work, regardless of fault.
How long can you be on workers’ comp?
Workers can receive temporary total disability for up to 400 weeks in Missouri.
Who pays for workers’ compensation benefits?
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid for by the employer who usually has insurance to cover these benefits.
What are the benefits of workers’ compensation insurance?
Workers’ compensation benefits that are typically paid are:
- All medical costs for treatment of the injury
- Temporary total disability which can be up to 2/3 of the worker’s pay while he/she is unable to work
- Permanent partial disability is a one-time payment to compensate the worker for any permanent disability suffered as a result of the injury
- Permanent total disability will be paid if the worker is injured so badly that he/she cannot work. The employee will either receive regular payments from his/her employer or receive a lump sum payout.
Can I be terminated for filing a workers’ compensation case?
It is illegal to discharge an employee because they have filed a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Is there a timeline for filing a claim, and if so, what is it?
In Missouri, you have 2 years from the date of injury to file a claim with the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Division or one year from the last date that the employer made a payment related to the work-related injury, whichever is later. (Section 287.430 RSMo.)
What does workers’ compensation cover?
If a worker is injured on the job and notifies his/her employer, the employer will provide medical care. The employer is allowed to use the doctor of his/her choice for treatment. If that doctor determines that the employee cannot work, payment of temporary total disability benefits begin. These payments will continue until the employee returns to work.
It is important to retain an attorney if you are unhappy with the medical care you receive or your benefits are cut off before you are able to return to work. Your attorney can move for an emergency hearing with the Division of Workers’ Compensation to get another doctor and/or keep your benefits coming.
Is workers’ compensation a state or federal program?
Workers’ compensation is a state-run program unless you are employed by the Federal Government where a special set of laws apply.
Is disability insurance and workers’ comp the same?
The fact that you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits does not interfere with disability insurance that you may have taken out to pay your car loan or home mortgage, for example. If you have FMLA, that is totally separate and distinct from a workers’ compensation claim. Do not let your employer place you on FMLA if you are hurt at work. Make your claim under workers’ compensation.
What does workers’ compensation cover?
Missouri Law is constantly changing as it relates to what is covered with Workers’ Compensation. The work incident must be the “prevailing factor” in causing the injury and disability.
Some occupational injuries are also covered by workers’ compensation. These occupational injuries are determined on by a case by case basis and are naturally more difficult to prove than a traumatic injury. If you have a pre-existing disability, you can file a claim under the Second Injury Fund in Missouri. This fund is managed by the State of Missouri and compensates people who have a pre-existing disability that was made worse by a work injury.
How can an attorney help in a workers’ compensation case?
Choice of a lawyer is a very important factor in the success of a workers’ compensation claim. As a young lawyer, I represented Owens-Illinois and Holiday Inn regarding serious workers’ compensation claims. I know the secrets of the corporations in their attempts to deny workers adequate compensation and have been able to secure large awards for my clients who have been injured on the job.
Can I file a claim without an attorney?
You can file a claim in workers’ compensation without an attorney, but you will be at a disadvantage. The employer will have an attorney who will do everything he/she can to deny your claim. In Missouri, attorney fees for Workers’ Compensation claims are 25% of the amount recovered. I do not charge a fee for the amount spent on medical care, as some attorneys do.Contact Us | To Request a Free Consultation