Are All Employers Required to Have Workers Compensation Insurance?Missouri law requires most employers to have workers comp insurance to cover the cost of workplace illness or injury, or lawsuits stemming from such injuries. The following organizations must carry workers comp insurance in Missouri:
- Construction firms with at least one employee
- All other types of businesses with at least five employees
- Farm labor
- Domestic workers in private homes
- Occasional labor performed in private households
- Qualified real estate agents and direct sellers
- Some unpaid volunteers and workers for amateur youth programs
- Some inmates
What Benefits Are Available Through Workers Comp?Under Missouri law, there are three main types of workers compensation benefits available to injured employees and their families.
#1: Medical CareWorkers comp insurance must cover medical testing, treatment, prescriptions and medical devices with no deductible to the patient. Your employer has the right to choose the treating physician, although some employers may authorize you to see your own doctor. Employers may also offer rehabilitation services to help you return to work.
#2: Compensation for Lost WagesMissouri workers can receive 66 ⅔% of their average weekly wage, not to exceed amounts set by law, which vary according to the severity and duration of your disability. If your injury or illness causes temporary total disability, permanent total disability or death, the maximum is 105% of the state average weekly wage. If the injury results in permanent partial disability, the limit is 55% of the state average weekly wage. Temporary disability continues until the doctor determines that you are able to return to work with no restrictions.
- Temporary total disability means you are unable to work while recovering from your injuries or illness.
- Temporary partial disability means you are able to return to work performing modified duties, sometimes at less than full pay, until you have fully recovered.
- You are released to work with no restrictions, OR
- A doctor releases you to light duty work and your employer offers you light duty work within those restrictions.
- Permanent partial disability means you are unable to perform some jobs, but still able to perform others. In this case, you may receive a lump sum payment based on the nature and extent of your disability.
- Permanent total disability means you are no longer able to work at any job, and may be entitled to weekly pay for life or a lump sum.
#3: Survivor BenefitsIf an employee dies from a workplace injury or occupational disease, his or her surviving dependents may receive 66 ⅔% of the employee’s weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by law, along with funeral expenses up to $5,000.
How Do You File a Workers Compensation Claim?If you’ve suffered a work-related injury due to an accident, repetitive strain or exposure to harmful substances, time is of the essence when filing a claim for workers compensation benefits.
- Report the injury immediately. You have 30 days from the date of the accident or diagnosis to file your report. You must notify your employer, in writing, about the exact nature of your injury or illness, where it occurred, when it occurred, and the names and addresses of all injured persons.
- Receive medical treatment. Tell your employer you need to see a doctor, and your employer or supervisor must arrange for medical treatment.
- Contact a workers compensation attorney. The workers compensation system is complicated. Trying to obtain benefits on your own can be an uphill battle, especially when employers and insurers have their own legal teams attempting to minimize or eliminate their financial responsibilities to you. An experienced workers compensation attorney will know how to navigate the process every step of the way, so you can get the full amount you’re entitled to.
About the Author
When it comes to workers’ compensation cases, Randy Alberhasky has over 25 years of experience. During his legal career he has personally tried over 200 workers’ compensation hearings and jury trials in courts throughout the State of Missouri. Many people who have suffered from a workplace injury and illness are unaware of the legal action they can take to receive the financial compensation that they’re entitled to. The Alberhasky Law Firm, P.C. is proud to help our clients receive the compensation they deserve.