If you were hurt at work, you’re probably thinking about a couple of competing things.
First, “I need to see a doctor”. In order to get better, you need medical treatment. First, tell your boss or supervisor, in writing, that you were hurt. If it’s an emergency, get to the ER as quickly as you need to. After emergency treatment (if required) is given, Missouri law then allows your Employer to choose where medical treatment is given, but your Employer has to actually provide medical treatment and has to pay for the medical care.
Second, “if I’m hurt and off work, how am I going to pay my bills?” Missouri law requires Employers and insurance carriers to pay injured workers for their time off work. While you are not paid your fully hourly rate or salary, you are paid 2/3 of the amount until you are released back to work. Issues often arise with Employers paying the correct amount or paying the amount in a timely fashion. Call my office if you are having issues with getting paid.
Issue three is often, “Am I going to get fired for filing a work comp claim?” In Missouri, you CANNOT be fired simply for filing a claim for injury at work. If you are, you may have a claim for “retaliatory discharge” or wrongful termination. Hopefully, getting fired is not one of your concerns and your employer wants you back at work as soon as possible, just like you want to get back to work as soon as possible.
The fourth question, often after returning to work or discussing your case with an insurance adjuster, is “can I get a settlement.” Yes, in Missouri you can get a settlement for “permanent partial disability”, or PPD for short. PPD is based on your lasting or residual pain and limitations following your work injury. Missouri uses a body chart (link here) to determine what your settlement is, but it is generally based on (a) the amount of money you were making at the time of your injury, (b) what part of your body was injured, and (c) the severity of your injury.
Many people often think injuries like back strains, neck strains, ankle sprains, wrist sprains, and other injuries that are often considered “minor” aren’t entitled to a settlement. This is incorrect, and you should always call our office to consult on these issues, even on these types of injuries. One-time Injuries that are compensable include, but aren’t limited to broken bones, loss of hearing, loss of vision, sprains, strains, herniated discs in the spine, back injuries, knee injuries, elbow injuries, broken fingers. Repetitive trauma injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome and thoracic outlet syndrome, are entitled to settlements. Head injuries, including concussions, subdural hematomas, and traumatic brain injuries are entitled to settlements.
Though worker’s compensation in Missouri may seem simple, there are many issues where you may need legal advice. You should call our office to discuss issues with your case or the value of your settlement before agreeing to anything with the insurance carrier.