Missouri & Illinois Work Injury Attorneys
If you were injured on the job, you may have a claim for money damages. This claim could be workers’ compensation, but it could also be something more. If you were injured by a defective product or a toxic substance, you could have a claim against the manufacturer. If you were injured by a co-worker’s actions, depending on the circumstances, it is possible you could have a civil claim (ability to file a lawsuit).
Some workers choose to handle their workers’ compensation claim on their own. That usually works fine, because the workers’ compensation law is designed to be a formula that awards damages based on a simple “meat chart” of the human body. But that becomes more and more difficult the more severe or complicated your injury becomes. When the injuries are bad enough, the employer will hire a physician to do an independent medical examination (IME). The problem is that the employer is hiring the IME doctor. So you will rarely see an IME paid for by an employer that does not understate the extent of the injuries—so IMEs are not actually “independent.” Because the “meat chart” is based on percentages of disability assigned by the “independent” doctor, you will get lowballed in your serious workers’ compensation injury if you do not have an attorney to push back.
Another reason to hire a workers’ compensation attorney is that there may be other claims associated with your work comp claim. Fired for claiming workers’ compensation? You could have a retaliation claim. Injured by the gross negligence of a co-worker or supervisor? You may have a co-employee liability case. Holding on to some dirt about the company because you wanted to keep your job? You may want to consider a whistleblower case. The experienced attorneys at Keane Law LLC can help you navigate these difficult waters. If we do not think we can help you maximize your recovery for a work-related matter, we will tell you straight up. We will only take your case if we believe we can help you.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Injuries on the job can be both physically and economically challenging for the worker and his/her family. If an employee gets hurt on the job, the worker may have to take off time from work, potentially risking the financial ability to make ends meet. In some instances, an employee may be injured to the extent that he or she may never be able to work again. An attorney can help you navigate this complicated field to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Employees injured on the job are entitled to both disability and medical benefits according to Missouri law. The family of the worker is also entitled to those same benefits if the worker died as a result of the injuries. The benefit amount depends on the location of the injury, the duration or expected duration of the injury, and whether the injury has resulted in temporary or total disability.
An employer may try to dispute the severity of the injury, the length of time a worker is entitled to receive compensation, whether an injury is permanent or temporary, and whether the injury is the fault of the worker or employer. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who is familiar with the law is essential the worker and/or worker’s family to receive the positive outcome desired.
Legal action for worker’s compensation does have time limits, so it is important for the worker or worker’s family to contact an attorney as quickly as possible to ensure that the matter is resolved efficiently. A workers’ compensation attorney will help ensure the worker receives all of the compensation entitled under the law, or assist the victim’s family collect the benefits deserved following the death of the loved one on the job.
Workers’ compensation laws first developed as a tradeoff intended to benefit both employers and employees: Injured workers agreed to waive their right to sue employers for negligence and companies agreed to provide a certain amount of lost wages and medical benefits through what was originally known as workmen’s compensation insurance.
There is a vast variety of injuries and occupational diseases are covered by worker by compensation, but the most common include:
- Being struck by an object (e.g., walking into a door)
- Being struck by a falling object such as a tool
- Heavy lifting/carrying or throwing heavy objects
- Falling to a lower level
- Falling on the same level
- Highway accidents
- Injuries related to climbing, slipping, or tripping
- Injuries caused by equipment or objects on the job
- Repetitive-motion injuries
How to Make a Missouri Workers’ Compensation Claim
The benefits offered to Missouri workers through the workers’ compensation system can help bridge periods when the injury leaves the worker unable to work, provide coverage for medical expenses or even aid grieving family make ends meet after an employee is killed on the job. In order to receive these benefits though, an injured employee must file a claim.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Under Missouri law, the injured worker must immediately notify his or her employer of the injury. Generally, a worker must notify the employer within 30 days of a work place injury or the worker might be prohibited from obtaining all benefits under the law. Notification should be in writing, and should include the date/time/place of the injury, and a description of the injury.
Once the worker has reported the injury to his or her employer, the worker may also file a claim with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. While it is not required under Missouri’s workers’ compensation laws to file a claim in order to receive benefits, filing a claim with an experienced attorney ensure the employer and insurance carrier will provide nothing less than the full amount of coverage which you are due.
Time Limit for Filing Missouri Compensation Claim
In Missouri the time limit for filing a worker compensation claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation is two years after the injury or death or two years after the last payment was made by the employer or insurance carrier for the worker as a result of the injury or death.
The time limit is three years after the death or injury or the last payment was made if the employer does not timely file a report of injury with the division.
Missouri Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits
It is no one’s wish to become injured on the job, nor is it no one’s wish to become permanently disabled as a result of a work-related accident. Unfortunately, permanent injuries which leave a worker permanently disabled do occur. A common example of this occurring is an injury that requires an amputation. When this happens, the employer is eligible for permanent partial disability benefits or permanent total disability benefits.
Permanent Disability and Work-Related Injuries
If a worker is still disabled after medical treatment for injuries sustained on the job, permanent benefits may be awarded.
Permanent partial disability: An employee who is able to work after treatment for a work-related injury but unable to return to his or her previous job may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. The worker is entitled to 66 2/3 percent of his or her average weekly wages, not to exceed a statutory cap. The employee may also negotiate a lump-sum settlement.
Permanent total disability: A worker who is no longer able to work after reaching maximum medical improvement is eligible for permanent total disability benefits. The worker is entitled to 66 2/3 percent of their average weekly wages for a lifetime. The worker may also negotiate a lump-sum settlement, subject to a statutory maximum cap.
Car Accidents While at Work
When is a car accident victim eligible for worker compensation benefits? According to Liberty Mutual, car accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries on the job. Worker compensation benefits may be available to those workers injured as a result of vehicular incident on the job.
Job Duties and Worker Compensation Coverage
Typically, an individual involved in a vehicle accident while driving to and from work is not covered by worker compensation. However, if an accident occurs while the worker is carrying out his or her job duties, he or she may be eligible for benefits.
Examples of employees to whom worker compensation may apply includes but is not limited to:
- Delivery workers
- Drivers of company-owned vehicles
- Any employee conducting an errand for their employers such as going to the bank or picking up food for their boss
Medical Expenses and Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation
If an employee is injured while working, they are entitled to full coverage of their related medical bills. While the laws seem pretty straightforward, there are ways in which the employer or insurance company may try to reduce the amount of its financial responsibility or avoid it altogether. Missouri workers’ compensation laws have been established to hold employers responsible for those injuries sustained by employees while on the job.
Medical Expense Coverage
Missouri law requires employers to cover authorized medical bills, prescriptions and medical devices used to treat work injuries and occupational diseases, costs of care. An employer cannot charge an employee a deductible for their work injury medical expenses. The law does allow the employer to choose the healthcare provider, doctor, or hospital. But if an employee is required to travel outside the metropolitan area where the employer’s principle place of business is located to receive treatment, the employer must pay the reasonable and necessary travel expenses.
Employers may use tactics to deny or limit the amount of benefits or workers’ compensation coverage. These tactics may include:
- The employer or employer’s insurance company arguing that the injury was a result of a preexisting condition.
- The employer or insurance company may claim that your injury is not related to your work.
- The employer or insurance company may argue that treatments or specialist care are not necessary for the injury and may withhold the medical authorizations.
- The employer may declare the injury from employment has reached “maximum medical improvement” and that further treatment will not help the worker. The employer may also declare that you have not complied with medical treatment directives or have abandoned your medical treatment efforts.
Lost Wage Benefits and Missouri Workers’ Compensation
A worker injured on the job may need time off from work to recover. A worker who is hurt may be required to take a lighter-duty position due to the injury. The Missouri workers’ compensation system ensures the worker receives some compensation for wages lost as a result of the forced demotion.
Temporary Benefits for Lost Wages
There are two types of temporary benefits available in Missouri to replace wages lost as a result of on-the-job injury.
Temporary total disability benefits: If a worker is injured and temporarily unable to return to work, or if a surgery or another medical procedure prevents the employee from returning to their job, then temporary total disability will cover 66 2/3 percent of the worker’s average gross weekly wages, subject to a statutory maximum cap.
Temporary partial disability benefits: Sometimes, after a worker is injured on the job, the employee is cleared to return to work as long as the job is modified or the worker is assigned to a lighter-duty task. For example, if a roofer breaks his or her leg, her or she may be allowed to return to work in a clerical position until the fracture heals. If the modified job pays less than the original job, then temporary partial disability benefits may be awarded to the employee. In Missouri, workers are entitled to 66 2/3 percent of the difference between their average gross weekly wages earned before the injury and the amount a reasonably diligent employee would earn after the work place accident at issue, subject to a statutory cap.
Both temporary total and partial disability benefits terminate when the worker is cleared to return to work or a physician declares maximum medical improvement has been reached.
Construction Worker Injuries and Illnesses in Missouri
Carpenters, masons, plumbers, ironworkers, roofers, and electricians are only a few of the skilled tradesmen and women working in the construction industry. Their work is vital; however, their jobs are also some of the most dangerous in the United States. A construction worker who is injured on the job is entitled to worker compensation benefits under Missouri law. The family of a worker who dies in a construction-related accident is also eligible for death benefits.
Construction Accidents and Injuries
The United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health funded a study by the Center for Construction Research and Training titled, “Lifetime Risks of Occupational Injuries & Illnesses among Construction Workers.” The authors determined that on average, over a 45-year career, a construction worker has a 75 percent chance of experiencing a disabling injury, and a 1-in-200 chance of being fatally injured on the job.
The deadliest occupations include manual labor, roofers, iron workers, welders, and truck drivers.
Death Benefits Available under Workers’ Compensation
A workplace accident which ends the life of a worker can result in both financial and emotional devastation. Missouri workers’ compensation systems offers death benefits to the family who has lost a loved one to a work-related accident.
There is a 30-day time limit for employers to notify the Division of Workers’ Compensation of an on-the-job death according to Missouri law. The Division of Workers’ Compensation generally must notify the worker’s dependents of eligibility for any applicable death benefits. Dependents can include a spouse and children.
If there are no total dependents but some individuals were partially dependent, such as an elderly parent, the partial dependent may be eligible for partial death benefits.
Work Compensation Benefits
Death benefits may be awarded under Missouri law for surviving dependents. Such dependents may be entitled to 66 2/3 percent of the deceased worker’s average weekly wages if the worker died while on the job. In addition, the dependents may receive up to $5,000 for funeral expenses.
Fighting for the Workers Compensation You Deserve
If you or a love one has been injured while on the job, you may have a claim. Contact the experienced attorneys who handle workers’ compensation law at Keane Law LLC. We will ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve and that your employers are held accountable for the injuries you have endured. Start the process today by calling 1-877-333-8181 for your free consultation.
What Our Clients Have To Say
The attorneys at Keane Law are committed to ensuring our clients’ voices are heard. Whether we are representing one client in a personal injury case or fighting for many in a class action, we always have their best interests in mind. But don’t take our word for it. Here are a few testimonials from some of our clients.