In most cases, Missouri employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage for all employees if they have at least five employees working for them. Construction companies are an exception in that they must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage on all employees, even if there is only one. An exception on the other side of the spectrum is that federal employees are excluded from workers’ compensation in Missouri, because they are governed by federal workers’ compensation law. Some other exceptions include agricultural workers, domestic workers, independent contractors, and volunteers.
Missouri Workers’ Compensation Covers Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
Whenever someone is injured on the job or develops an occupational illness, their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should cover the medical expenses and provide wage benefits. Some examples of common work related injuries include back injuries, head injuries, and repetitive motion injuries to the knees and wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive motion injury or occupational illness. Other occupational illnesses include respiratory distress symptoms, poisoning, toxic chemical exposure, and certain cancers.
There are also some minor injuries that might not warrant a workers’ compensation claim include things like minor cuts or bruises. If you don’t require medical treatment, or if the expense is very low, then you may not need to file a claim. Having said that, it’s a good idea to get a physical after most occupational injuries to make sure that you have not overlooked an injury because the symptoms are not severe yet.
It also important to be aware that if the conditions of work are not the primary cause of your condition, then you may not be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits for the given condition. Further, you will not be covered for injuries that occur while you are on your commute to or from work or when on a break. Exceptions to this include work positions in which you must travel for the purposes of the job. Sometimes, you might be on a work related errand and also completing a personal errand in the same trip. If an injury occurs at a time like that, it will have to be established which task you were completing at the time.
What to Do After a Work Related Injury or Illness Occurs
In the event of a work related injury, you need to report the incident to your employer right away. In the case of occupational illnesses, you need to report the illness to your employer as soon as you become aware of the symptoms and know what caused them. It is wise to report your injury or illness in writing, so that you will have evidence that you did so.
Next, you will need to fill out certain forms to report the occupational injury or illness to the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Division. If your employer does not help you with this (they should), then you can do so on your own or with professional legal guidance.
Types of Benefits You Can Recover from Workers’ Compensation in Missouri
Once your workers’ compensation claim is accepted, you will be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, a portion of your wages, and any kind of temporary disability, long term disability, permanent disability, or scarring and disfigurement, as the case may be. Your medical expenses coverage will include all doctor’s visits, surgeries, any hospitalization or physical rehabilitation, your prescriptions, and any related medical devices, like wheelchairs, crutches, or braces. You will need to seek treatment from insurance approved physicians.
In cases where you end up with a permanent total disability because of an occupational injury or illness, your physician will determine that you have reached maximum medical improvement and will assign you with a disability rating. In such cases, you can receive wage benefits and medical benefits for the duration of your disability. However, things get more complex when it comes to a permanent partial disability, as the value of benefits will be based on the injury or illness severity, average weekly wage, and which part of you is injured or ill.
Contact Walton Telken, LLC to Learn More About Your Claim
Workers’ Compensation laws can be confusing, as can the paperwork, especially in cases where your employer is unwilling to help you, when the employer denies that your injury was work related, or where your claim is denied for any other reason. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to report the injury right away, seek immediate medical attention, maintain adequate records of your treatment and expenses, and contact a dedicated Missouri workers’ compensation attorney. Call Walton Telken, LLC to schedule a free consultation today.
The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.