An Overview of Workers’ Compensation in Missouri
Posted in Lawsuit on July 12, 2017
If you sustain an injury on the job, the state of Missouri has a safety net you can fall back on. The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law, stated in the Revised Statutes of Missouri Chapter 287, provides a way for injured employees to receive benefits without having to prove anyone else’s negligence. According to the law, any employer with five or more employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance. All employers in the construction industry must comply. Use this overview of the state’s workers’ comp laws as a starting point should you suffer a workplace injury. Seek help from an attorney for specific legal counsel.
What Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Under the workers’ compensation law, an “employee” is anyone in the service of any employer under an express or implied contract of hire. After any accident involving injury in the workplace, report the incident to your employer or supervisor. Failure to provide prompt notice of injury can hurt your chances of receiving workers’ compensation. Your supervisor can file your workers’ compensation on your behalf, or provide you the appropriate forms to fill out. Workers’ compensation will cover the following types of injuries:
- Any injuries sustained during job-related tasks, in or out of the workplace
- Occupational diseases and illnesses your employment directly caused
- Scarring or disfigurement to the head, neck, arms, or hands
- Permanent and total disability
There are no rules as to which injuries do and do not qualify for workers’ compensation. If the employee sustained the injury during work-related tasks, workers’ comp will cover the damages. Once you report your injury, seek medical care. Your employer has the right to decide which physicians you see for your injuries (not the workers’ compensation insurance company). Check with your employer to see if he or she has a preference before you seek medical attention. The sooner you go to the doctor for your injuries, the better.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?
The workers’ compensation program is a no-fault insurance system that does not require the injured party to prove negligence to receive benefits. This differs from a personal injury claim scenario in which the plaintiff would have to show the defendant’s breach of duty of care to recover. However, it is the employee’s responsibility to file the claim with the correct agency within the deadline. Injured employees in Missouri typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Failure to file promptly could lead to concerns over a fraudulent claim. Once the program accepts the claim, the employee will receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses. Workers’ comp will pay for all accident-related medical expenses, including tests, surgeries, and treatments.
- Lost wages. If the injury results in temporary disability and the inability to work, the employee may receive temporary total or partial disability benefits.
- Mileage for driving to medical treatment, if treatment is necessary outside of the local area. There is a 500-mile round-trip limit.
- Permanent disability benefits. You may be entitled to a weekly or lump-sum settlement for life if the workplace accident results in permanent disability. The amount will depend on the extent of the disability and your average wage.
- Weekly benefits to surviving family members after work-related death. The employer must also pay up to $5,000 in funeral and burial expenses. A $25,000 death benefit may go to the estate of any person that loses his/her life in the line of duty.
If any employer does not carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance, you have the right to sue your employer if you prove he or she was negligent and caused your injury. You could also file a workers’ comp claim against the employer with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. Speak to an attorney about any specific questions or concerns.