Workers Comp Lawyers in Joplin, Missouri (MO)
Personal injuries cause pain, suffering, and financial hardship. The financial security of your family is often at stake. We are proud to have earned successful case results that have given clients the compensation they were owed and put their families back on solid financial ground.
Workers Compensation Claims
If you have been hurt on the job, you are (or will be) dealing with an experienced insurance company adjuster. Missouri workers’ compensation law is complicated, technical, and full of traps for the unknowing. We will represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means there is no attorney’s fee unless we recover your money or benefits. If you are injured on the job, here are some things you need to do:
- Report the workplace accident to your employer as soon as possible.
- Write down how the accident happened while it is still fresh in your mind.
- See your doctor as soon as possible and tell them that you were injured.
- Do not sign any documents from the employers or the insurance company without talking to a workers’ compensation attorney about it first. You may be signing away some essential rights.
- Call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
If you have been injured and have questions about your workers’ compensation claim, contact our worker’s comp lawyers today for an initial free consultation. You can also visit our law firm for a confidential meeting. We do not charge for an initial consultation on the phone or office.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
In Missouri, employers must carry workers’ compensation coverage if they have five or more employees. However, employers must take workers’ compensation coverage even if they have just one employee in the construction industry.
Employers who have employees in the exempt categories or don’t have the required number of employees and choose not to purchase workers’ compensation coverage are exposed to civil lawsuits that can be brought by workers injured on the job.
Determining the full compensation benefits you are entitled to under Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law can be complicated. The determination can depend on your average weekly wage calculations, which can be challenging depending on the industry in which you work.
The insurance company’s adjuster will often argue that your workplace injury is not severe and will attempt to minimize your workers’ compensation benefits. We have been representing injured Missourians for 40+ years, and our attorneys know which workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to receive and how to get them for you. We provide answers to all the questions you might have. We will never take a fee for our legal services unless and until we obtain a settlement or award for you.
Loss of Employment: What if I Cannot Return to Work?
The answer to this question involves several complicated issues. If you cannot return to work because of your work-related injury, you may be entitled to a weekly benefit of two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum cap, for the rest of your life.
To be entitled to this benefit, you must be disabled from any employment. Suppose you are totally disabled because of a combination of a pre-existing disability plus the disability caused by your work-related accident. In that case, you may be entitled to the Second Injury Fund benefits. Generally, this benefit is two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum cap, for the rest of your life.
Under Workers’ Compensation, you are not totally disabled simply because you cannot return to your old job. To be totally disabled under Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law, you must be disabled from all employment and not simply the work you had before the accident.
Is My Employer Required to Hold My Job?
The Missouri Workers’ Comp Law does not require the employer to hold your job while you recover from your disability. However, other federal and state statutes give injured workers some protection, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Family Leave Act, and the Missouri Human Rights Act. These laws are complicated, and if you believe you have not been treated fairly, you should contact our Joplin Workers’ Compensation attorneys, who are experienced in this area of the law.
Second Injury Fund
If you had an injury or disability before you got injured on the job, you might qualify for additional benefits from the Missouri Second Injury Fund. The purpose of the Second Injury Fund is to encourage employers to hire and retain employees with disabilities.
An injured employee must have a permanent pre-existing disability to trigger the liability of the Fund. The prior disability must be “of such seriousness as to constitute a hindrance or obstacle to employment.” In some cases, the Second Injury Fund’s benefits can be substantial.
How Does the Second Injury Fund Work?
For example, an injured employee may be entitled to lifetime weekly benefits from the Second Injury Fund when a permanent total disability results from a combination of the employee’s pre-existing conditions and those caused by the current injury. In death cases, when the employer failed to obtain Workers’ Compensation insurance, the Second Injury Fund can be held responsible for death benefits to the employee’s dependents.
The Fund is also responsible for paying injured workers’ medical bills when the employer fails to ensure its Workers’ Compensation liability. The Fund also provides workers’ comp benefits to injured employees undergoing physical rehabilitation. To qualify for these benefits, the employee must be seriously injured and receive therapy at a facility certified by the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. If the injured worker qualifies, they will receive $40 per week for up to 20 weeks for rehabilitation.
The Second Injury Fund also provides benefits to injured employees with multiple jobs. Suppose an employee cannot work at a job due to an injury that occurred while working at another job. In that case, benefits may be claimed from the Second Injury Fund in connection with the position at which the employee was not injured.
The Second Injury Fund is funded by a surcharge applied to Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums paid by employers. The Missouri legislature has capped the amount of the surcharge paid by employers, which has caused the Second Injury Fund to be underfunded. Unless the Missouri legislature acts, in the near future, the Fund will become insolvent and unable to pay claims. Contact your local state legislator and encourage them to remove the cap on the premium surcharge so that the Second Injury Fund can continue to pay worthy claims. If you have more questions or need legal advice regarding Workers’ Compensation insurance, our Joplin, Missouri, compensation attorneys can help.