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Missouri Workers’ Compensation Laws
It’s a sad reality that some employers knowingly or unknowingly subject their employees to unsafe working conditions. Unfortunately, when this happens, workers can suffer in more ways than one. From life-altering injuries that demand ongoing medical treatment to lost wages, workplace injuries can hurt employees physically, financially, and emotionally.
If you or a loved one suffered a workplace injury, you may be entitled to compensation beyond what your employer provides. At Miller & Hine, our workplace compensation lawyers in St. Louis can help you obtain the settlement or benefits you deserve.
When Injury Strikes
We handle all maters related to claims for workers’ compensation benefits, preparing and filing all documentation throughout the claim process, and advocating on your behalf in all hearing or proceedings.
Some of the claims our St. Louis firm can handle include, but are not limited to:
- Shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff problems or bursitis
- Neck injuries, such as sprains, strains and fractures
- Knee injuries, including sprains, strains and torn ligaments or tendons
- Back injuries, from muscle pulls to pinched nerves to disc problems
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a state-run insurance program that pays benefits to workers who suffer work-related injuries and illnesses. The Missouri workers’ compensation program guarantees four main benefits to eligible workers:
- Paid medical care to treat your work-related injury or illness
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD) which amount to two-thirds of your average weekly wages while you are off work
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD) which amount to two-thirds of the difference between your wages prior to the injury and your wages while on light duty
- Permanent Disability Benefits, a lump sum settlement for any permanent disability that arises from your injury
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation in Missouri
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that you are covered for any injury or illness you sustain on the job, whether you, your employer, or a coworker are to blame––as long as you suffered an injury or illness as a result of your employment. In other words, you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault.
However, to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Missouri, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be an employee of an employer that carries workers’ compensation insurance, or is self-insured
- Your injury or illness must be work-related
- You must meet the state’s deadlines for reporting your work-related injury or illness and filing a workers’ compensation claim
What is Covered Under Workers’ Compensation in Missouri?
Missouri workers’ compensation covers injuries and illnesses that arise out of your employment or develop over the course of your employment, such as:
- Injuries that are the result of workplace accident
- Injuries and health conditions that develop over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Illnesses, such as cancer, caused by exposure to harmful chemicals and substances
Injuries and illnesses that are typically not covered by workers’ compensation in Missouri include injuries sustained while:
- Commuting to and from work
- Intoxicated and on the job
- During a break
- When the worker was away from the job site
- While partaking in an off-site work event
- During fighting or engaging in horseplay at work
Minor and unreported injuries, self-inflicted injuries, and injuries sustained by self-employed persons and independent contractors are also ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Missouri.
Moreover, workers’ compensation in Missouri does not provide any compensation for intangible losses. In other words, it does not compensate you for losses that do not show up on a balance sheet, such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Third-Party Liability Claims
Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy for work-related injuries and illnesses in Missouri. This means that if you are covered by workers’ compensation, you cannot bring a civil claim against your employer for a work-related injury, except in very limited circumstances. So, if you are hurt on the job, and it is the fault of your employer or a coworker, you can only seek compensation under the state’s workers’ compensation system.
However, not everyone hurt on the job is hurt by their employer’s or coworker’s negligence. In many cases, someone other than your employer or a coworker, a third party, is at fault for a workplace injury. In this case you cannot sue your employer, however, you can pursue a civil claim against the third party even if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
For instance, if you are a delivery driver who was injured when your vehicle was rear-ended by another motorist, you can get workers’ compensation through your employer, and you can also file an injury claim against the motorist who rear-ended you. A third-party liability claim will allow you to recover compensation above and beyond that which is available to you under workers’ compensation.
Similarly, let’s say you made it to your destination safely, but on the way up the stairs, a riser broke causing you to slip and fall down the stairs and break your ankle. Here again, you can get workers’ compensation from your employer, and you may also have a third-party premises liability claim against the property owner or manager for not keeping their stairs in a safe condition.
The Statute of Limitations For Workers’ Compensation Claims in Missouri
There are a few timelines that injured workers need to be aware of when they are seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Missouri. First, injured workers have a duty to notify the employer that they have sustained an injury on the job. The employer must be notified in writing within 30 days of the date of the injury, or 30 days from the date the employee knows they have been injured or become ill. If an employer is not notified within this 30-day time frame, the claimant may be barred from recovering any workers’ compensation benefits.
Additionally, there is an overall statute of limitations involved with workers’ compensation claims in Missouri. After an employer is notified, the injured worker still needs to ensure that their worker’s compensation claim is filed within two years from the date the injury occurred. Failing to file a workers’ compensation claim within this two-year timeframe will result in the injured worker being unable to recover any workers’ compensation benefits at all.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a St. Louis Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
At Miller & Hine, we provide a free consultation where we can discuss the circumstances involved in your workers’ compensation case. If we agree to handle your case, we will charge you no upfront fee. We handle workers’ compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay us no attorney fees unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.
In Missouri, there is a limit on the fee a workers’ compensation attorney can charge a client. This limit is 25% of the compensation we secure for you. This fee is only based on additional benefits that we secure on your behalf, it does not pertain to any workers’ compensation benefits you are already receiving.
Note, however, that you may be responsible for paying certain costs incurred while pursuing your worker’s compensation case, whether we obtain compensation for you or not. These costs will be made clear to you by your attorney, and may include expenses incurred for copies, expert witnesses, court reporters, etc.
Contact Our Workers Compensation Lawyers in St. Louis Today
After a workplace injury, you may feel as if you’re alone and without options. Don’t let these negative feelings consume you. We realize the challenges a workplace injury may place on you and your family, so we strive to remove that burden from your shoulders.
Our St. Louis workers compensation attorneys understand the laws and regulations governing workers’ compensation in Missouri. We are devoted to protecting the rights of people who have been injured at work and helping them collect the compensation they deserve.
There are no out-of-pocket costs for us to evaluate your case. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay anything unless we recover money for you.
Contact the workers compensation lawyers in St. Louis at Miller & Hine today for a free consultation.