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Workers’ Comp FAQs
Nov. 21, 2022
In 2021, there were over 86,000 reports of work-related injuries in Missouri, according to the state’s Department of Labor & Industrial Relations. Of these, only 8,397 individuals filed a claim for compensation. While it’s true that many of these injuries are only minor and do not require financial compensation, it’s also true that many of Missouri’s workers may be unsure of the process for seeking compensation for accidents at work and may be missing their opportunity to receive what is rightly due to them.
If you have workers’ compensation questions and would like to speak with an attorney, call us at the Law Office Of John Adams Christiansen, LC. We can serve clients in Blue Springs, Independence, Raytown, Lee’s Summit, Grain Valley, Belton, and Kansas City, Missouri.
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation?
Most Missouri workers will qualify for workers’ compensation, but there are some restrictions on which employers are required to carry this coverage. Per state law, any employer with over five employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance, with the exception of construction work which requires coverage even if you only have one employee. Any employer who falls outside of this, like sole proprietorships or partnerships, may elect to carry coverage, but they are not required to by law.
How Much Time Do I Have to File?
Any injured worker should notify their employer immediately following an accident or upon getting a medical diagnosis (such as for a long-term injury like a repetitive stress injury). Your employer must then report this injury to the Division of Workers' Compensation within 30 days. To file a claim, you have two years from the date of the injury or the date of the last payment made due to the injury.
What if My Employer Retaliates Against Me for Filing?
It is illegal for any employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This could include being fired, demoted, harassed, being denied a promotion, or having your work assignments or schedule changed in a way that’s not directly related to your injury. For example, it would be legal if your injury prevented you from doing your current tasks, but you could be temporarily transferred to another comparable job that you were able to do.
Can I Go to My Own Doctor?
You can go to your own doctor when you’re first injured, but after you report your injury and start receiving care through workers’ compensation, you may be required to go to a medical provider assigned by your employer. Any time you see a doctor, make sure you retain copies of all your medical reports, diagnoses, and billing statements. Additionally, it’s essential that you follow all medical instructions, such as taking medication, performing physical therapy, or attending follow-up visits with specialists.
What if the Injury Was Partially My Fault?
In general, it doesn’t matter if you were at fault for the injury occurring to be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. The only exception to this would be if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident and it was this that caused the injury. However, in most cases, you’ll be able to receive full benefits from a qualifying injury even if the accident was 100% your fault. As long as it happened while you were on the job and performing your assigned work duties, you can file a claim.
What Benefits Are Injured Employees Entitled to?
The benefits you’ll be awarded are contingent on your injuries, but you may be eligible for temporary total disability (TTD), although this is typically reserved for workers who are unable to perform any job, even light or modified work. If you are able to perform some work, you may receive weekly temporary partial disability payments. These payments will continue for however long you’re unable to work, even throughout your entire lifetime, though you will have to show you’ve met a certain disability threshold to maintain this. TTD is paid out at 66 2/3% of your average weekly earnings.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
You aren’t legally obligated to hire a workers' compensation attorney to file a claim, but many workers find they have much better success in getting the compensation they need when they work with a lawyer. An experienced attorney understands state law and what kind of evidence is needed to mount a convincing argument. They will also negotiate on your behalf to reach the best possible settlement.
Workers' Compensation Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
When we go to work every day, we have a reasonable expectation that we’ll be safe and that if anything does happen to us, we’ll be protected. However, this is not always the case. If you’re in the Kansas City, Missouri, area and have recently been injured while working, you need to reach out to a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to help you through the process of obtaining compensation. Call the Law Office Of John Adams Christiansen, LC today.