Workers Compensation in Missouri

You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Missouri state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Missouri workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.

Workers Compensation Statistics in Missouri?

Private employers in Missouri reported 66,200 nonfatal workplace incidents in 2019 to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sprains, strains, and tears represented 36.9% of those cases based on a news release by the Missouri Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. Construction and manufacturing workers had the highest rate of accidents by far. Younger employees took the brunt of this trend, unfortunately. Private employees between the ages of 25 to 34 account for 27.4% of the days taken off work for injuries in 2019.

How Does Workers Comp Work in Missouri?

There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Missouri workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss. 

Missouri requires all employers with five or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Even if an exemption exists, a business without insurance may find itself liable for a lawsuit. Benefits include payments for all medical treatment related to the injury or disease. However, you should know that your employer can choose which facility or physician provides care. A company can also request independent medical examinations to determine a plan and assess progress. Vocational testing may occur that tests your ability to perform your work duties or other tasks that you could complete safely while recovering from injuries.

The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Missouri are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.

Get Medical Attention

After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a Missouri healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.

Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.

When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.

File a First Report of Injury

Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Missouri workers comp works.

Missouri requires employees to report work-related injuries to their employers within 30 days from the date of the incident. You have two years to file a workers’ compensation claim with the state. Any attempts to obtain benefits after that time will likely result in a denial. After seeking medical attention, report the injury to your employer as soon as possible and submit a WC-280 form to the Department of Labor & Industrial Relations website. Your employer also has 30 days from learning about the injury to file a First Report of Injury with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation.

The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report  with the report of injury.

Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. Missouri has a three day waiting period before beneficiaries can receive payments. If the injuries are severe enough to justify permanent total disability, an employee may receive weekly payments for the rest of their life or a lump-sum settlement.

Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In learning how Missouri workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a Missouri workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Missouri

Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Missouri state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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