Missouri workers’ compensation law provides a variety of benefits to those injured on the job. The following information will provide you some general information about how you can estimate what your workers’ compensation payment might be, but because each individual case is as unique as the individual involved, the actual amount you receive may vary somewhat.
In Missouri, workers’ compensation is calculated using an equation in order to calculate most of the available benefits. Regardless of whose fault the accident was, if it happened at the place of employment, the employer is liable for an accident related injuries that happened when an employee was doing their job. However, the injured employee is then unable to seek tort damages in court.
Your Average Weekly Wage (AWW)
In order to calculate your “comp rate,” you will need to know your average weekly rate of pay (there is a specific section of the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law that describes exactly how to calculate this, and it depends on many factors; if you fail to follow their exact computation, the answer you find may be different from theirs, so you should be aware of that). Assuming that the injured person was employed there for at least thirteen weeks, the first part of the computation involves reviewing their past 13 weekly paychecks and finding the average (to do that, add the total of the previous 13 paychecks and then divide by 13); if they were not employed for a full 13 weeks, they should find the average of the total number of weeks they were employed there (for example, if they had worked there for five weeks, add the total of their weekly paychecks and divide by five). This number is referred to as the average weekly wage, or AWW, which will play a big part in the computation for your worker’s compensation rate.
Calculating Your Benefits
Now you will need to find the rate for the type of benefits you are trying to get. Usually, it amounts to two-thirds of your AWW; however, there is a maximum amount, and it is adjusted annually, and it is different for the different types of disability, so it can easily become very confusing. For the sake of simplicity, know that your compensation rate is usually 2/3 of your average weekly earnings.
Permanent Partial Disability
There are three variables used in the calculation of an individual’s permanent partial disability; multiply all three together in order to find your permanent partial disability award (keeping in mind that it may not be 100 percent accurate, but should be fairly close to the actual amount you receive):
- Compensation rate – As previously stated, this is typically two-thirds of your average weekly earnings over the past 13 paychecks)
- Level – The Missouri Workers’ Comp Division has a chart with values assigned to various body parts; you need to know which specific part(s) of the body (or your “body as a whole”) were injured in order to find your specific “level”
- Percentage of disability – Usually a doctor will determine this variable, but doctors may, and commonly do disagree on this, so you may need an Administrative Law Judge to review the evidence in order to make a more accurate, specific assessment of your percentage of disability
Temporary Total Disability
When you are temporarily totally disabled, you may receive benefits until you are able to return to work, but you have to be unable to work for at least three days before any doctor will say that you have a temporary total disability. You will receive this benefit until your doctor says you have reached a point of “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI. You will use the same calculation for this type of disability as used for permanent partial disability above:
[Compensation rate] x [Level] x [Percentage of disability]
Permanent Total Disability And Death Benefits
Like the other types of disability, you can use the above calculation in order to estimate the amount you may receive. Another page on this site describes death benefits in much greater detail; please refer to it for answers to any questions you may have.
As a reminder, please be aware that these calculations are merely estimations of the amount of benefits you will receive. Certain other elements may impact your benefit amount either negatively or positively; for a full and complete analysis, you should hire a St. Louis attorney who will listen to your story and tell you all about your rights and the options available to you. Together, you can discuss your plan and preferences, which path you would most like to explore in order to get the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and your losses. Call the knowledgeable attorneys with Walton Telken toll free today at (844) 307-7349.
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