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Benefits Available in Missouri Workers’ Compensation Claims

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When you’ve been injured at work, you’re ability to earn a living for yourself and your family becomes compromised in a moment. The possibility of facing financial hardship because of an injury that occurred while you were fulfilling your work duties is alarming. Fortunately, Missouri Law requires employers with five or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance so injured employees don’t suffer undue financial stress after a work injury.

If you’ve been injured on the job in Missouri, it’s important to know what workers’ compensation benefits are available to you.

medical benefits after Missouri workplace injury

Medical Treatment for Your Injuries

When an employee suffers injuries while on the job, they must notify their manager within 30 days of the injury. After an injury, it’s best to inform a manager about it as soon as possible and seek medical treatment. A St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney can help streamline the process of making a workers’ compensation claim. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for the injured worker’s medical treatments through a provider of their choosing. The state of Missouri lists this workers’ compensation benefit under Missouri §287.140 as the following:

“The employee shall receive and the employer shall provide such medical, surgical, chiropractic, and hospital treatment, including nursing, custodial, ambulance, and medicines, as may reasonably be required after the injury or disability, to cure and relieve from the effects of the injury.”

Is there a Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Most injury victims file workers’ compensation claims soon after they know the full extent of the injury and how long it may be before they’re able to return to work in their previous capacity, or at all. In less common cases, an injured employee files a claim later to recover the damages they suffered after an injury like medical expenses and lost income during their recovery period. Missouri’s statute of limitations for injury claims limits workers to two years from the date of the injury or death in which to file a claim. The state may allow up to three years after the injury or death if the victim’s employer delayed filing an injury report.

Common Causes of Workers’ Compensation Claims in Missouri

Some jobs involve greater risk than others. For instance, construction and agriculture industries have the highest numbers of workers’ compensation claims, but workplace accidents occur in all environments, including hospitals and offices. Common causes of workplace injuries include the following:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Falls from heights
  • Transportation accidents
  • Struck-by accidents (falling shelves, beams, and objects)
  • Caught-between accidents
  • Burns
  • Toxic exposure
  • Electrocutions
  • Machinery injuries
  • Overexertion
  • Back strains
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Entanglement

When an injury occurs while an employee is engaged in work duties, their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provides protection against economic damages. Workers’ compensation insurance also protects Missouri employers from lawsuits.

common injuries in Missouri Workers' compensation claims

Common Injuries in Workers’ Compensation Claims in Missouri

Some workplace injuries are relatively mild and the injured employee fully recovers; however, even a single broken bone can prevent a return to work in the worker’s previous capacity. Workers’ compensation provides medical care and income during the recovery period. More serious injuries may result in permanent disability. Common injuries in Missouri workers’ compensation claims include the following:

  • Back injuries
  • Fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Burns
  • Crush injuries
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Traumatic amputation
  • Illness from chemical exposure
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Electrocution burns

These injuries cause significant financial hardship for the employer and their families. A workers’ compensation claim provides relief through covered medical care and a portion of the injury victim’s wages until their recovery—or permanently if their injuries cause permanent disability.

Payment for Temporary Partial Disability Wage Differential

This is the most common benefit to replace an employee’s wages after a workplace accident. Temporary partial disability (TPD) pays a portion of the employee’s wages while they’re recovering or rehabilitating but are still able to work either part-time or in a diminished capacity with lower wages. TPD benefits pay workers 66 ⅔% of the difference in pay between their normal weekly pay and the amount they currently earn in their limited work capacity or light duty pay. This formula is known as the workers’ compensation wage differential benefit and continues until a doctor clears the employee to return to work at their full capacity.

Workers’ Compensation Permanent Total Disability

Temporary total disability (TTD) provides a portion of the injury victim’s normal pay while they’re unable to work at all during their recovery period. TTD pays 66 ⅔% of the employee’s normal wages or salary.

An injured worker’s case for TPD or TTD remains open until a physician clears them to return to work. Depending on the circumstances, injured workers may receive these benefits in installments, period payment, or in a lump sum payment.

Permanent Disability Payment

Some workplace injuries are so serious that they cause permanent disability. Examples include serious permanent back injuries, spinal cord damage, traumatic amputations, severe burns, and traumatic brain injuries. When an employee suffers a life-altering catastrophic injury, workers’ compensation provides either permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD) depending on the severity of the injury and whether or not it keeps the employee from returning to the workplace in their previous capacity or from returning to the workplace at all. PPD benefits may continue in periodic payments for the injury victim’s lifetime or they may choose to negotiate a lump sum settlement based on the severity of the injury.

Enhanced Benefits for Some Occupational Injuries

When employees suffer illnesses from toxic exposure, Missouri workers’ compensation may provide additional or enhanced benefits. Those with diagnosed toxic exposure illnesses such as coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, myelogenous leukemia, silicotuberculosis, asbestosis, and many other illnesses linked to toxins in the workplace receive 200% of the state’s average weekly wage for 100 weeks. Mesothelioma victims receive 300 percent of the state’s average weekly wage for 212 weeks.

Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

When a Missouri employee dies in a work injury on the job, their closest relative—typically a spouse—is entitled to benefits including 66 ⅔% of the employee’s average weekly pay for one year, plus $5,000 in funeral expenses. A close family member of an emergency service worker who is killed in the line of duty receives $25,000 in addition to the standard workers’ compensation death benefits.