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  • Answering the Most Important Workers’ Compensation Questions

    Answering the Most Important Workers’ Compensation Questions

    February 8, 2024 | Uncategorized

    Frequently asked questions regarding workers’ compensation

    Ortwerth Law, LLC is a personal injury law firm based in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the most common practice areas for us as injury attorneys is workers’ compensation.

    Workers’ compensation, in short, is when an employee receives benefits or compensation after they have been injured – or in some cases have become ill – due to an incident that took place while at work.

    We have handled countless workman’s comp cases and spoken to even more people looking for answers after their workplace injury. Over time, we have been able to create a list of some of the most commonly asked questions we receive from our clients and have decided to share that list of questions along with answers we have summarized for each.

    It is important to note that each State in the US is entitled to its own workers’ comp laws, regulations, and benefits, so while this article is geared more towards Missouri’s workers’ compensation laws and requirements, most states will have similar, if not the exact same, answers to these questions. With that said, we recommend reaching out to a workers’ comp lawyer near you to get a more specific answer.

    How long can I wait to file a workers’ comp claim?

    Missouri law requires employees to file workers’ compensation claims “within two years after the date of the injury or death or, last payment was made on account of the injury or death”. This time could be extended to three years if your employer fails to report your injury within a timely manner. 

    Can I file a claim for compensation without a lawyer?

    Yes, you can fill out a Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Claim for Compensation Form by yourself. However, the Department of Labor’s website emphasizes the importance of hiring an attorney as they have the experience and resources to thoroughly investigate your case.

    How much do your workers’ compensation lawyers cost?

    We work strictly on a contingency-based structure. You do not pay us anything unless we win your workers’ compensation case. 

    This is also the case for many other accident and injury attorneys, but we suggest asking any potential attorneys you may speak with so you know upfront whether or not you may be required to pay regardless of results.

    What benefits am I entitled to in Missouri?

    The exact benefits to which you are entitled is obviously dependent on your case, but the State of Missouri requires employers to provide the following:

    • Payment for lost wages
    • Permanent partial disability payments
    • Temporary partial disability payments
    • Temporary total disability payments
    • Permanent total disability payments

    For more information, you can visit our article that goes into greater detail on Missouri’s workers’ comp benefits or visit the Missouri Department of Labor website.

    Is my employer required to carry workers’ compensation insurance?

    The State of Missouri requires all companies with at least 5 employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. You also will be required to carry this insurance if you operate within the construction industry regardless of the number of employees you have.

    For more information, check out this article on workers’ compensation insurance.

    Is my employer required to provide me with medical care?

    If you are injured or become ill due to a workplace incident, your employer (or their workers’ compensation insurance company) is required to provide the medical care necessary to cure, fix, or relieve your injuries and symptoms.

    Your employer (or their workers’ compensation insurance company) is required to cover all costs including doctor fees, costs for medication, and also any medication.

    https://labor.mo.gov/dwc/injured-workers/get-medical-care 

    When should I consult with a workers’ compensation attorney?

    There is never a bad time to consult with an attorney if you have been hurt at work. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation and require no payments unless they are successful in getting you additional compensation. 

    If you have experienced any of the following situations, we highly recommend contacting an attorney right away:

    • Your employer and/or their insurance provider is denying your claim or case
    • Your employers’ workers’ comp insurance provider will not respond to your calls, emails, or questions
    • You are not getting treatment (or enough treatment) for your injuries or illnesses
    • Any time you have applied for Social Security disability benefits
    • You request for payment for lost wages has been denied or gone unanswered
    • Your employer will not allow time off to recover
    • You have been fired due to your injuries or time away from work

    Countless other circumstances may also result in hiring an attorney. Even if it is something as simple as you feeling confused about the process or your rights; it never hurts to contact a local injury lawyer for advice. 

    Does my employer or their insurance provider have the right to choose my doctor or healthcare provider?

    When it comes to workplace injuries and the process of receiving benefits, your employer and/or their insurer have the right to choose any doctors, physicians, or healthcare providers required. You can, however, still choose a doctor or provider of your choosing but it may not be covered by your employer.

    https://molabor.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/topics/52486-workers-compensation-medical-care 

    Can I appeal the ruling made by the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission?

    Yes, you have 20 days after a judge’s ruling to file an appeal to have the ruling of your case reviewed. You can visit this link more information on Missouri’s Injured Worker Appeals laws and requirements. 

    https://labor.mo.gov/dwc/injured-workers/appeals

    More workers’ comp FAQs coming soon!