Workers’ Compensation

Missouri Workers’ Compensation law covers any employer with five or more employees (or one employee for Construction employers).  Employees who suffer a compensable injury (specific instance) or occupational disease (series of events/repetitive in nature) should promptly notify their employer, in writing, of their injury (keeping a copy for herself).  Under Missouri law, employers have the right to choose the treating physicians.  Employees who treat with unauthorized physicians run the risk of being personally responsible for those bills.

If an injured worker’s physician determines that he is unable to return to work (for a minimum of three days), that employee should be entitled to “temporary total disability” or “TTD.”  TTD benefits are calculated at two-thirds of the employee’s “average weekly wage” or “AWW” for the thirteen weeks preceding the injury (subject to a cap).  An injured worker should continue to receive these benefits until her physician has determined that she has reached “maximum medical improvement” or “MMI.”

While workers’ compensation does not compensate an injured worker for things like pain and suffering, there are other benefits that are available.  Once an injured worker has reached MMI, he may be entitled to payment for any “permanent partial disability” benefits or “PPD” suffered.  The rate at which PPD is paid is determined in a manner similar to TTD.  The degree of PPD, in general, depends upon the severity of the disability.  Physicians do not always agree on the degree of PPD, and workers frequently visit a physician of their choosing for an Independent Medical Evaluation at the direction of an attorney (who may negotiate settlement or pursue a hearing – where an administrative law judge makes the PPD determination).

Not all injured workers are able to return to work.  If the employee is unable to return to any line of work, she may be entitled to “permanent total disability” or “PTD.”  These benefits are equal to TTD benefits, however, they are paid until the worker is able to return to employment, if ever.  Injured workers receiving PTD benefits are often eligible for Social Security disability benefits as well.

I have had extensive experience representing both claimants and employers in workers’ compensation cases in Columbia and throughout Missouri.  Whether you are an injured worker or an employer (insurer or third-party administrator), a knowledgeable attorney can be essential in asserting your rights and protecting your interests in Missouri Workers’ Compensation cases.  Call toll-free 1-866-606-9874 or email corey@law-jackson.com to schedule a free case evaluation.