Workers’ compensation is a system established by the State of Missouri to pay for medical costs and replace lost wages incurred as the result of an on-the-job injury. Workers’ compensation serves as an alternative to traditional civil litigation. In other words, by accepting workers’ compensation benefits you cannot sue your employer for negligence in connection with your injury.
But workers’ compensation is not always a simple matter. Employers and their insurance companies often deny benefits, ignoring evidence of an employee’s injuries. In other cases, employers may prematurely cut off benefits before an employee is able to return to work. And some employers even violate the law by not having workers’ compensation insurance.
At Morrison, Webster & Carlton, Attorneys at Law, we have over 45 years of experience handling workers’ compensation cases in Joplin and Springfield, Missouri, as well as Greene County and Jasper County. We know how to deal with employers and their insurance companies and make sure you get all of the compensation you are entitled to under Missouri law.
Many employees don’t realize they are even eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. By law, every Missouri business with at least five employee must provide workers’ compensation coverage. Additionally, all employers in the construction industry must have workers’ compensation, even if they have just one employee.
Under Missouri law, workers’ compensation only covers injuries that arise “out of and in the course of employment.” This includes accidents that occur during your work shift. It also includes “occupational diseases” contracted at work, provided workplace exposure was the “prevailing” cause.
Workers’ compensation is not necessarily limited to injuries suffered at your normal workplace. If your job requires you to travel–i.e., make deliveries or conduct on-site work with clients–you may be compensated for injuries sustained in the course of such travel. However, Missouri workers’ compensation law specifically excludes injuries sustained while commuting from home to work and back, even if you use a company-owned car.
In many cases, your employer or their insurance company will promptly pay any workers’ compensation benefits. But if they deny benefits–or stop paying them before you receive what you believe you are entitled to under the law–then you have the right to file a claim with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. An administrative law judge appointed by the Division will review your claim and either conduct mediation between you and your employer, or alternatively hold a formal hearing to determine your right to compensation.
A workers’ compensation claim can take several months, even years, to resolve, especially if you continue to suffer from the effects of your work-related injury. Your employer and its insurance company will be represented by highly skilled attorneys who know how to exploit an injured employee. You need to level the playing field by hiring a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer who will fight on your behalf.
If you have been injured at work and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys, call us today at our offices in Springfield at 800-560-0822 or Joplin at 888-351-9185.