Workers’ Compensation in the State of Missouri was created in 1926 to help protect workers from injuries sustained at work. “Hurt at work” sounds simple enough, however, in practice it is far from a simple proposition. Over the years with the influence of many large insurance companies and business groups, the Missouri Legislature has manipulated the laws surrounding Workers’ Compensation to create a complex system of exceptions and rules to “Hurt at work” claims. All of this has been done to make the benefits you are entitled to under the heading of Workers’ Compensation more difficult for you to obtain on your own. It takes a great deal of study and legal expertise to understand all the new framework around what was originally a simple concept.
How Workers’ Compensation Cases are Handled
The administrative law judges at the Division of Workers’ Compensation are tasked with “administering” the Workers’ Compensation laws of the State of Missouri. Their own work regulations specifically preclude them from advocating on behalf of the injured employee. It is not the judge’s job to make sure an injured employee is provided all the benefits granted to them by Missouri Law. And it is certainly not in the insurance company’s best interests to pay you as much money in benefits as possible. Instead, they will be working to present a compelling case to pay as little money as possible, if any at all. So when you choose to handle your workers’ compensation case by yourself, it is important to be aware that no one else is focused on looking out for your interests. However, when you acquire competent legal representation from an attorney experienced in Workers’ Compensation law, you bring a new asset into play that can tip the scales in your favor.
When a Worker is Hurt
When a worker is hurt at work in the State of Missouri, a worker may receive compensation for their medical bills, time off when they cannot work, and a settlement for the resulting disability from the injury. The disability can be a total disability or a partial disability. It is important to realize that you do not have to be completely incapacitated to have a work-injury related disability. In summary, there are three basic benefits that an injured worker is entitled to: medical, time off and disability.
Dealing with Insurance Claims
With a few rare exceptions, all employers in Missouri are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. As with any insurance, the insurance company makes its profit by underpaying, denying and intentionally delaying cases against injured workers. In every Workers’ Compensation case, the employer, through their insurance company, will hire a lawyer to represent them. The employers’ attorney’s job is to minimize the amount the employer pays during the life of the claim. They want to provide you, the claimant, with as little medical treatment and as little time off as possible, in addition to seeking the smallest possible settlement. The insurance company and the employer generally work very well together, at the expense of the injured employee. Remember, if you have been hurt at work, it is important to make a Workers’ Compensation claim and start the legal process, rather than simply trusting that your boss will ‘make it right.’
If you have been injured on the job and believe that you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits, please do not hesitate to call the attorneys at Northland Injury Law at 816-400-4878 for a free consultation.