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Missouri Workers Compensation and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Missouri Workers’ Compensation Specialists

For information and skilled assistance with Missouri Workers Compensation and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, contact Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien. Call now!

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Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness suffered after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or shocking event. Examples of such traumatic events include:

  • Warfare
  • Violent traffic accident
  • Child abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Threats to life

The symptoms can be debilitating and can present as disturbing thoughts, recurring nightmares or feelings, depression, and panic attacks.

Workers’ compensation refers to the benefits provided to employees who experience physical or psychological injuries during their work duties. Over time, this compensation has been extended to cover mental illness and mental disorders resulting from workplace injuries. Not all state workers’ compensation laws allow for claims for post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you need advice on a workers’ compensation claim in Missouri or need help assessing workers’ compensation cases, please call a workers’ compensation lawyer in Missouri today for a free consultation.

Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Compensation for PTSD in Missouri

Mental Health America found Missouri, to have the highest percentage of people with PTSD among large counties. Therefore, it is reasonable to ask whether it is possible to make a Missouri workers’ comp claim and be successful.

Does Workers Comp Cover Mental Health Without Bodily Injury in Missouri?

 

In Missouri, workers’ compensation benefits can be extended to employees in the absence of physical injury but only in very specific circumstances. The state of Missouri requires that employees claiming workers’ compensation for mental health conditions like PTSD demonstrate that the stress that caused the condition was work-related and extraordinary.

Compensation for PTSD in Missouri

Confused about workers’ compensation in Missouri? We are here to answer your questions.

Claiming Missouri Workers’ Compensation for PTSD

Workers’ compensation benefits can be claimed by following the steps below.

  1. Report your injury: Once injured, the first thing to do is to report your physical injury and mental disorder symptoms to your employer. Unless you report your injury within 30 days, you may not be eligible for benefits.
  2. Seek medical care: Employers or their insurers are responsible for providing medical treatment for injured employees.
  3. Request available benefits: Workers’ compensation also covers temporary total disability benefits as well as permanent total disability or permanent partial disability benefits.

 

What Can I Do if I am Not Satisfied With My Settlement?

If you are not given the benefits you believe are due to you, you can fill out forms and lodge a claim with the Department of Labor. Having your case evaluated by an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer may be a good idea before doing this. An administrative law judge will decide your claim once it has been filed.

Depending on the outcome of your claim, you may be offered a settlement. If you accept the offer, you will receive the benefits you have agreed to. If you reject the settlement, the next step may be to proceed to trial. Following the trial, a verdict will be rendered.

 

Appealing the Decision

If you are still unsatisfied with the award, you can file an application for review with the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. This must be done within 20 days of the date of the award.

What do You Need to Prove to Get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Compensation?

In some cases, proving your PTSD claim can be difficult due to your job type. For example, first responders are exposed to harrowing scenes of disaster and violent physical injuries on a daily basis, in which case one can argue that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an occupational hazard of the job.

Without such an occupational hazard, you will have to prove you were exposed to a mentally traumatizing event at work that caused you psychological trauma. You might have a more straightforward case to prove if the traumatic event was life-threatening.

Medical records provide evidence you have a mental illness or PTSD. In addition, you need to prove that your job contributed to your mental illness. If your employers or their insurance company are resistant to your claim, you can get help with workers’ comp claims from an attorney who is familiar with Missouri work comp laws.

 

How Long Does a Workers’ Comp Case Take in Missouri?

 

It is difficult to predict. Anything between a few days and even months is possible. Settlements can be agreed upon at any point in time. It is possible to settle even before maximal medical improvement is reached.

How Much Is PTSD Compensation in Missouri?

 

As with most legally based claims, each case turns on its own unique facts. It is impossible to predict precisely how much your PTSD claim is worth. Experienced lawyers can help you evaluate your claim and recommend a workers’ comp doctor.

Missouri PTSD Compensation Chart

In order to work out what compensation benefits are payable to employees, Missouri has a set of calculations to work out each benefit claimed. Different equations apply to the different benefits. These calculations are outlined in a visual chart that shows the number of weeks of compensation payable for various categories of disabilities. Below is a short summary of the calculations.

 

Calculating the Workers’ Compensation Benefits

As part of the Missouri workers’ compensation body chart, benefits are calculated based on the average weekly wage. The rate of compensation payable is typically two-thirds of the average weekly wage. It is calculated by assuming wages for 13 weeks before the injury.

 

How to Calculate Permanent Partial Disability

In order to calculate the permanent partial disability award amount, the chart assigns level values to each body part. A medical expert determines the disability percentage.

 

Temporary Total Disability

In Missouri, temporary work-related injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. The temporary total disability award can be awarded to injured workers who are absent from work for more than three days while recovering from an injury. Amounts are paid to the employee until either they reach maximum medical improvement or return to work.

 

Death and Total Disability Benefits

The chart assists in determining benefits where the employee either died or was so severely injured that they can no longer work. A Permanent Total Disability exists if:

  • The injury makes the employee unemployable in the labor market
  • The employee is unemployable due to their injuries combined with any pre-existing injuries they had

Compensation may be available to the surviving spouses and dependents of workers who died at work due to workplace injuries. A spouse usually receives benefits until they remarry or die, and dependent children receive benefits until they turn 18 years old. The benefit is usually divided equally between surviving spouses and dependents.

 

When Should You Appoint an Attorney?

It is always a good idea to consult an experienced Missouri law firm to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. If you have been seriously injured and cannot return to work, it is vital to seek the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Workers’ comp lawyers can also assist you if your claim has been denied or if you have suffered severe or complex injuries, including work-related PTSD.

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