FAQs About Missouri Workers’ Compensation
1. When should I report a workplace injury or occupational illness to my employer?
You should report your injury to your employer immediately. If you suffer an injury or occupational disease that developed gradually, tell your employer as soon as you are diagnosed and learn that it was caused by your job. Reporting your injury or occupational disease as soon as possible helps to avoid delays and issues in recovering benefits. If you suffer a workplace injury in an accident that requires immediate medical care, go to the emergency department. Your employer might tell you where you should go for treatment because employers have the right to choose doctors in cases involving workers’ compensation.
2. When should I submit a workers’ compensation claim form?
You must file a claim with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation no later than two years after the last of the following events:
- Accident date
- Final medical treatment
- Final payment of benefits
If your employer didn’t file an injury report with the Division within the time provided, you will have three years to file a claim following the last of these events. Telling your employer that you were injured doesn’t count as filing a claim. You file a claim by submitting the claim form to the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
3. What if I can’t return to work because of my injury?
If your treating physician tells you that you can’t return to work immediately while you recover, you should receive temporary total disability benefits during your treatment. However, these benefits are not paid for your first three days away from work unless your injury forces you to be off for two or more weeks. The benefits amount is two-thirds of your average weekly wages for the 13 weeks before your accident up to a maximum set by the law.
4. What if I suffered a permanent disability?
If you are permanently disabled and unable to return to your job, you might be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits based on the severity and extent of your disabling injury. If your disability prevents you from returning to any type of employment, you might be entitled to receive permanent total disability benefits.
5. What if my employer didn’t have workers’ compensation insurance?
If your employer failed to carry workers’ compensation, you can file a lawsuit against your employer to recover damages or file a claim with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. Employers are mandated to either carry workers’ compensation insurance or to self-insure. When they fail to comply with the law, they can be liable to pay damages and penalties.
6. Do I need an attorney?
If you suffered serious injuries or have learned that your serious illness is work-related, you likely will benefit from working with an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer. While claims involving minor injuries that don’t result in having to miss work are normally straightforward and won’t necessitate the help of a lawyer, those involving serious injuries and illnesses might result in disputes or denials by your employer and the insurance company.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave are experienced in handling complex workers’ compensation cases for employees who have suffered serious and debilitating workplace injuries and occupational diseases. We will work hard to help you recover all of the benefits you deserve. Call us for a free consultation at 417-322-2222 (Springfield) or 417-624-4258 (Joplin). You can also contact us online.