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Getting injured or developing an illness due to work can create a great hindrance in your life. Thankfully, Missouri law requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance so that you will be covered in the event of on-the-job injuries or medical conditions.

Are You Qualified For Workers’ Compensation In Missouri?

There are three basic requirements for you to be eligible for workers’ comp:

  • That your employer has the coverage. All Missouri employers with five or more employees are required by law to have workers’ comp coverage. Employers in the construction industry are a special case, as they are required to have this insurance even if they have only one employee.
  • That you are an employee. Workers’ comp covers only employees; it does not include independent contractors like consultants and freelance workers.
  • That your injury or illness is work-related. This does not always mean that it occurred at the workplace. You may have been visiting a site or meeting a client somewhere else – as long as you were harmed while performing your duties, you may be eligible.
    Further, the injury or illness does not always have to be a result of a sudden accident. Sometimes, it can be a medical condition that develops over time due to the nature of your work. Examples of these occupational diseases are carpal tunnel syndrome and toxin exposure.

There are certain exemptions to workers’ comp coverage in Missouri. If you are uncertain about your eligibility, talk to a lawyer who helps employees with their benefits.

What Workers’ Compensation Covers

In MO, workers’ compensation benefits may include:

  • Coverage for medical treatment. Your employer or their insurer is required to provide you with reasonable and necessary medical care.
  • Payment for lost wages. If you have sufficient medical proof that you should be off work, your employer must pay you for your lost earnings based on your weekly wage. (More on calculating this amount below.)
  • Disability benefits. There are four types of disability under workers’ comp law:
    • Temporary partial disability (TPD) means you can return to work but can only earn less because of your condition.
    • Temporary total disability (TTD) means you are completely unable to work.
    • Permanent partial disability (PPD) means that you have a permanent impairment but are only partially disabled.
    • Permanent total disability (PTD) means that your impairment is permanent and completely disabling.
  • Survivor benefits. These apply only when an employee has died while on the job. These benefits will be paid to the employee’s surviving family members.

Calculating The Workers’ Compensation Amount You Deserve

Workers’ comp benefits are calculated as weekly payments. The amount you may claim depends on how much your injury or illness has disabled you. Here is a brief guide to this calculation:

  • If you have TPD, your payment will be two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage prior to the injury and what you are able to earn now during your disability. For example, you previously earned $800 per week, but now, with your disability, you can earn only $500. The difference between the two is $300. Two-thirds of that is $200 – that’s your weekly payment. You may receive this payment for a maximum of 100 weeks.
  • If you have TTD, your weekly workers’ comp payment is two-thirds of your average weekly wage, lasting a maximum of 400 weeks.
  • If you have PPD, your weekly workers’ comp payment is also two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but for a duration specified by Missouri’s schedule of losses. For instance, according to the schedule, a complete loss of sight in one eye would mean that weekly benefits will last for 140 weeks.
    You also have the option to request a lump-sum payment instead of weekly payments.
  • If you have PTD, your weekly payment is also two-thirds of your average weekly wage. The payments could last your lifetime, or you can request to receive them all in a lump-sum amount.

Note that Missouri law sets specific dollar limits to all these payments. Don’t hesitate to talk to a lawyer for guidance on determining what you truly deserve.

How To File A Workers’ Comp Claim In Missouri

Here’s the process to follow if you wish to claim workers’ compensation benefits:

  1. Report your injury. As soon as you discover your illness or injury, inform your employer about it. The company may provide you with a form, or you can use the form from the Missouri Department of Labor’s Division of Workers’ Compensation. Make sure that you file this form within 30 days of your injury.
  2. Get medical care. Your employer is obligated to send you to a doctor for treatment. Missouri law states that your employer’s insurer can select your treating physician. Be honest and accurate about your symptoms, as any inconsistencies may damage your claim.
  3. Wait for approval. The insurance company will conduct an investigation to determine whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Once they approve your claim, the insurer is required by law to promptly start your payments.

Not all workers’ comp claims are approved on the first try. If your claim has been denied, or if you believe that you are receiving less than you deserve, you may file an appeal. It is best to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you through this process.

Contact Shea Kohl Law

If you want to pursue a workers’ comp claim with the best chance for success, or if you need legal assistance for your appeal, talk to us at Shea Kohl Law. Our law firm has more than nine decades of experience helping clients like you, so we know exactly what works to get you your compensation. Further, we are a pragmatic team – we give you straightforward and practical solutions so you don’t waste time and money with us

Let’s start by talking about your work-related injury or illness. Consult with us for free at (636) 946-9999.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.