This is the second installment of a 2-part series on workplace safety. In my first post, I covered workers’ rights and employer responsibilities. In this post, I will cover Workers’ Compensation insurance and what you should do if you are injured on the job.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance – Who Carries It and Who Is Covered?
In the state of Missouri, every employer that has five or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. In Missouri, construction industry employers that erect, demolish, alter, or repair improvements are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have one or more employees. Railroad, postal and maritime workers are covered by federal laws, not by the Missouri Workers’ Compensation law.
Under Missouri Workers’ Compensation insurance an injured worker is entitled to medical benefits and may also be entitled to temporary total disability, permanent partial and permanent total disability benefits.
What should I do if I’ve been injured on the job?
- Report your injury immediately to your employer or supervisor. Failure to report your injury to your employer within 30 days may jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Notify your employer in writing – include date, time and place of the injury, the nature of the injury and the name and address of the person injured. Keep a copy of the written notice for your records.
- Get medical attention. Your employer is required to provide the medical treatment and care to cure and relieve you of the effects of the injury. This includes all costs for authorized medical treatment, prescriptions, and medical devices. There is no deductible and all costs are paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Missouri law states that the employer has the right to select the treating doctor for any workers’ compensation cases. Be aware that if you opt to see a different doctor, the employer and its insurance company may not have to pay your bills.
- Educate yourself regarding additional benefits. In addition to medical benefits, you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits and permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits. Upon the death of a worker who has suffered a compensable work injury, certain surviving individuals may be entitled to weekly benefits from the employer/insurer, as well as funeral expenses.
- Speak to an attorney right away if your workers’ compensation benefits are denied or if your benefits are discontinued before you are fully recovered. Workers’ compensation benefits and the laws surrounding them can be extremely confusing. Each state has its own Workers’ Compensation laws regarding coverage and benefits. It is in your best interest to have a knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate the system.
Matt Casey is a partner with Casey & Devoti, a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm. He handles a wide variety of personal injury cases, including: automobile, truck and train accidents, medical and legal malpractice, elder and sexual abuse, Workers’ Compensation, and wrongful death. Matt is also an authorized speaker for EndDD.org’s ‘End Distracted Driving’ Student Awareness Initiative.