Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
The Cape Girardeau workforce deserves protection after work-related injuries. When workers’ compensation claims are denied or benefits are insufficient, the champions for the injured at NST Law are ready to prove your eligibility for just compensation in a court of law.
Accidents on the job are preventable. However, mistakes are inevitable. Because of this, thousands of workers are injured or killed during the course of employment every year. Fortunately, the law recognizes the fact that accidents will happen and provides a lifeline for injured workers.
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Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
Workers’ compensation regulations have strict requirements for determining who qualifies for workers’ compensation. In Missouri, your employer must carry compensation insurance if it employs five or more workers.
Employers in the construction industry must have insurance regardless of the number of employees.
According to Missouri’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, certain workers are not eligible for workers’ compensation insurance. These include:
- Independent contractors
- Domestic servants
- Farm laborers
- Employees covered by another insurance scheme
Even if it has fewer than five employees, your employer may still choose to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If it does not, and you are injured, you are permitted to file a civil claim against it. However, employers that carry insurance are exempt from civil claims.
Covered Injuries and Illnesses
Only certain injuries or illnesses are covered by workers’ compensation. The incident or incidents that caused the injury or illness must have occurred while the employee was discharging work duties as normal.
In most cases, it’s fairly simple to determine whether an employee was working when he or she was injured. A cashier who was injured at home on a lunch break is not likely to qualify for workers’ compensation, while a construction worker injured in a fall from scaffolding is likely to be approved.
However, some cases are not so straightforward. That’s when a Cape Girardeau personal injury lawyer can help. We at NST Law are champions for the injured, and we will ensure that workers are compensated for work-related injuries.
Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits in Missouri
The State of Missouri has multiple types of benefits available to injured workers claiming workers’ compensation in addition to the typical baseline compensation for medical benefits and lost wages. The types of benefits provided by the state include:
- Medical Benefits
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits
- Permanent Partial or Permanent Total Disability Benefits
- Payment for Lost Wages
- Benefits for Occupational Diseases Due to Toxic Exposure
- Benefits for Emergency Personnel Killed in the Line of Duty
The Claims Process
Problems often arise during the workers’ compensation claims process, including delayed and denied claims. Keep in mind that a denied claim is not necessarily the end of the road. An attorney can help you contest a denial.
If you are injured, the first thing you should do is get medical treatment from a qualified professional. Your work is your livelihood, and it’s important that you return to gainful employment as quickly as possible.
Additionally, your medical record will reflect the treatment and provide crucial documentation of your injuries. Without this official record, your claim will likely be rejected.
Because your employer is paying for the insurance, it has the right to choose which provider you see. If you decide to use your own doctor, you will have to pay out of pocket.
In most cases, your private health insurance policy will not cover work-related injuries.
After an injury in Missouri, you have 30 days to report the incident to your supervisor. Repetitive injuries can be reported within 30 days of their discovery. Failure to report an injury in a timely manner could result in the denial of your claim.
If you have been injured on the job and it has been more than 30 days, you may still have a claim. There are exceptions to the 30-day rule that a workers’ compensation attorney may be able to argue.
In order to receive workers’ compensation, a doctor must report that you are unable to work due to your injury or are under temporary restrictions that make it impossible for you to perform your duties. If you can work, but not completely, you may be eligible for partial benefits.
The amount of your weekly payout will be two-thirds of the average of your 13 weekly paychecks before the injury. The formula is different for part-time workers, seasonal employees or any other worker with payment gaps in their 13-week history.
Steps to Take Following a Workplace Injury in Cape Girardeau
Immediately following a workplace injury, you need to take several steps to file your workers’ compensation claim and involve an attorney specializing in workers’ comp.
Report the Injury
The first step you should always take after suffering an injury on the job is to inform your supervisor. If the circumstances surrounding your injury require a police report, you can contact the Cape Girardeau Police Department or other local law enforcement agencies. According to the Missouri Department of Labor, if you fail to report your injury to your employer within 30 days, you may jeopardize your ability to receive any workers’ compensation benefits.
Seek Medical Treatment
Barring an emergency requiring immediate medical attention, you should seek medical treatment for your injury after informing your supervisor and filing a police report (if necessary) to start a paper trail and fully document the extent of your injuries. Don’t forget to tell your medical provider or physician that your injury happened at work, as it’s vital for them to note the same in your medical record. If you have a primary care provider (PCP), set up an appointment as soon as possible and explain what happened at your workplace in detail.
If you don’t have a PCP, visit a local hospital or clinic like Saint Francis Medical Center or Southeast Health. Your insurer or employer must provide necessary medical treatment for your workplace injury. In addition to the medical benefits you’ll receive, you may also be eligible for temporary total disability benefits and either permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits depending on your injuries.
File Your Claim
As soon as you are able, begin the process of filing your workers’ compensation claim so that you complete it on time. Remember, it’s important to file your claim per the required deadlines, usually within two years from the date of injury or death in Missouri. You can file a claim with the Missouri Department of Labor.
Track Receipts & Expenses
For all injury-related expenses, keep an accounting of all costs and ensure accurate documentation. Save all receipts and be prepared to produce all of your expense reports as your claim progresses.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A workers’ compensation attorney can help walk you through the claim process and maximize your compensation. The workers’ compensation lawyers at NST Law can also help you file an appeal if you receive a denial for benefits or insufficient benefits.
Common Causes of Work Accidents in Missouri
Many different factors contribute to workplace accidents in Missouri, including:
- Defective or unsafe equipment
- Exposure to hazardous materials
- Unsecured work environments
- Insufficient training
- Work-related motor vehicle accidents
- Lack of necessary precautions or safety resources or equipment
- Negligent or reckless behaviors by coworkers
- Overexertion from excessive physical labor
- Slip and falls on unreliable surfaces
Cape Girardeau Workers' Compensation Frequently Asked Questions
Workers’ compensation issues can be confusing. Often, clients have many of the same questions. Below, you’ll find eight of the most common inquiries we hear from clients.
What happens if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?
If your claim is denied, first find out why. A denial due to a filing or clerical error is easily remedied. However, any other reason should lead you to seek help from a knowledgeable workers’ compensation advocate. He or she will review your case to determine the problem and how to solve it.
Who is entitled to benefits?
Workers who are permanently disabled by a work injury but can still return to work may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Should I accept the benefits offered?
The decision to accept an offer for benefits is a personal one. Before saying yes to any offer, you should evaluate the dollar amount in light of your specific circumstances.
Factors to consider when making this important decision include:
- Whether you have been sufficiently compensated for lost wages
- Whether your medical expenses and bills have been appropriately compensated
- Whether you’ll need ongoing medical care
- Whether your benefits will impact other federal benefits you may be receiving
Workers’ compensation attorneys can help immensely in this area. They regularly counsel clients on the value of their claims compared with the benefits they may be entitled to and help them make informed decisions when it comes to pursuing additional support.
Is mileage to health providers covered by workers’ compensation?
Yes. There are provisions in the workers’ compensation law that allow you to seek compensation for transportation expenses accrued while seeking medical care. The only stipulation is that the transportation must be reasonable in light of your situation. Some judges use a 25- to 30-mile round trip figure as a guide when deciding on mileage.
What if I can never return to work because of my injury?
If your on-the-job injury is such that it prevents you from returning to any type of work, you may be eligible for a tax-free weekly benefit for life. Additionally, your permanent disability may qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and other government benefits.
What if my employer doesn’t have insurance?
If your employer does not have insurance, you may sue them for damages through a personal injury claim. If this describes your situation, you’ll want to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Does workers’ compensation cover scars or disfigurement?
Yes. You can receive payment if scarring or disfigurement is visible on your hands, arms, face or head. Your benefits will be determined by the extent of the injury and its location.
How a Workers' Compensation Attorney Can Help
Workers’ compensation attorneys know relevant laws and procedures to better your claim’s results. They can offer you legal advice and guidance to maximize your benefits.
Insurance adjusters might try to take advantage of an injured worker’s lack of legal knowledge, misrepresent facts, or stall or deter the process of receiving benefits. Your lawyer can communicate directly with the insurance companies to avoid potential problems with your claim and its timeliness so that you can get paid more money quicker. Additionally, a workers’ compensation lawyer can advocate on your behalf to an administrative law judge.
Your attorney can help ensure the proper handling of your claim the first time so that you can hopefully avoid an appeal. If you need to appeal the commission’s initial decision, your lawyer knows how to do this quickly and effectively, so you’re not left in a prolonged financial bind.
Why should I hire NST Law to handle my injury claim?
You have a limited window in which to file a claim, and you may have more questions in addition to those listed above. If so, consulting with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney from NST Law will be the fastest way to get the most comprehensive answers to your inquiries and advice on moving forward with your case.
The attorneys at NST law are compassionate, experienced, and dedicated to the communities they serve. NST Law has seen success in multiple workers’ compensation cases, including:
- $950,000 payout for a personal injury in the workplace
- $561,961 workers’ compensation claim for a traumatic brain injury accident
- $561,916 workers’ compensation case for an individual suffering a permanent disability
- $211,000 judgment awarded for inadequate safety regulations
Contact The Champs today!