What Employees Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation Law

Would you know what to do if you suffered an injury at work? Are you confident that your employer would fulfill their legal obligations to you?

Although no one expects to get hurt on the job, the reality is that accidents do happen. More than 88,000 injury incidents occurred in Missouri workplaces in 2023. There were also nearly 7,000 lost time injuries and 87 workplace fatalities last year.

Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation Law was first enacted back in 1926. Under the law, employers bear the responsibility to provide treatment for injured employees. However, the law has been amended numerous times over the decades, adding more complexity with each new change. Because of this complexity, it can be daunting to wade through all of the provisions to know what to do if you were to get hurt at work.

In order to simplify things for you, we’ve put together a summary of what every Missouri employee should know about workers compensation law.

What Should You Do If You’re Injured at Work?

First and foremost, always report a workplace injury. If you don’t report your injury, you may not get the medical care you need or the benefits for which you’re eligible.

Notify your employer in writing within 30 days of your injury. Your written notice should include your name and address, the nature of your injury, and the date, time, and location of the injury. 

Your employer must report your injury to their insurer within five days of the incident OR within five days of receiving your written notice. The insurer must then file a First Report of Injury with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation within 30 days of receiving notice. 

Under Missouri law, your employer may NOT fire you for reporting an injury or for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Contact a qualified workers’ compensation attorney if you’ve been fired or suffered other adverse consequences after reporting a work injury. 

Who Pays for Medical Care for Workplace Injuries?

Missouri law stipulates that employers and/or their insurers must bear the cost of medical care for injured employees. Furthermore, the employer retains the right to choose the physician who treats your injuries. If the treating physician takes you off work for more than three days, the employer must compensate you for the time you missed. 

The employer is responsible for the cost of all compensable injuries under the law. If your employer refuses to provide medical care, you may select a doctor. However, you should speak to an attorney before doing so. 

What Additional Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are You Eligible For?

In addition to medical benefits, injured workers in Missouri may also be eligible for lost wages and disability payments.

Compensation for Lost Wages   

If a workplace injury causes you to miss work due to restrictions imposed by the authorized treating physician, you may be eligible for temporary total disability payments. Temporary total disability compensation is paid at two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage prior to the injury, up to a maximum established by law. Compensation is tax-free. 

If you return to either light duty or modified work, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits. Missed work due to attending doctor’s appointments or treatment may be paid or covered depending on your employer’s policy.

Settlement and Resolution   

If a workplace injury leaves you with a permanent disability, you may receive a settlement or compensation following a hearing.

  • Permanent partial disability: Permanent partial disability benefits are paid when an employee suffers an injury that permanently affects the employee’s ability to perform their job duties but does not render them unemployable. This benefit is paid as a lump sum.  
  • Permanent total disability: If your disability leaves you unable to return to work, not just at your prior job, but any open-labor market job, you may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits. You may receive weekly payments for life or negotiate a lump sum settlement. 

Second Injury Fund   

You may be eligible for benefits if a work injury combined with a qualifying pre-existing condition results in a permanent total disability. 

Death Benefits

If you have lost a loved one due to a workplace accident or illness, you may be eligible for benefits under Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation Laws.

Why Should You Speak to a Workers’ Comp Attorney?

Although you are not legally required to hire an attorney for a workers’ compensation case, it is highly recommended.

Employers and their insurers always have lawyers representing their interests. Having your own legal counsel helps to level the playing field. At Van Camp Law Firm, we offer a free consultation, and you pay nothing unless we recover a settlement for you. Compared to those without representation, employees who consult with an attorney often receive more money even after attorneys’ fees are deducted. 

You may call us at 573-644-7777 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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