What You Should Know About Work Injuries in Missouri
Many years ago, employees could sue their employer if they got hurt on the job. Unfortunately, this led to a lot of uncertainty. Businesses were afraid of being sued into bankruptcy by a single injured worker. Yet, workers had to prove the employer did something wrong in order to be compensated. This often left injured workers permanently disabled with no way to make a living or it exposed businesses to a lot of risk. Therefore, the workers' compensation system was born.
How Does Missouri Work Comp Function?
When a worker is injured in Missouri, it is very important that he or she follows a few basic procedures to protect their rights. Here are the first 3 steps every injured worker should do:
- Immediately notify the employer
- Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses
- Hire an experienced workers' compensation lawyer before it's too late
Deadline for Notice
The first thing to understand is that under Missouri worker's compensation laws, you have just 30 days to notify your employer of your injuries. This is less time than a worker is allowed in Illinois and other states. Missouri has taken a far more conservative approach to work comp claims. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to the rule.
What this means is, if you suffered a specific injury, such as a fall at work, then you need to make a very quick report to a supervisor or manager. This does not have to be formal, but it is usually best to have some recorded proof. Therefore, an email or letter is often the best option. Or, you can make the report with a witness present, like a Union shop steward or co-worker. But if you fail to give notice in time, your employer may be able to deny your perfectly valid claim for benefits.
Statute of Limitations
Again Missouri gives you less time to report your injury than Illinois. A statute of limitations is an absolute deadline after which you can never file your claim. As a practical matter, it would usually make no sense to wait a long time to bring a work comp claim in Missouri, but you have only 1 year from the date of your last paycheck and up to 2 years from the date of the workplace injury, whichever happens to be longer. Of course, you must still meet the notice period requirement above.
How Compensation is Calculated
Unlike traditional lawsuits in civil courts, a jury will never hear your case. You are not entitled to file a lawsuit against your employer, even if the employer was indeed careless or negligent. Instead, your sole option under the law is to file a claim before the Missouri Workers' Compensation Commission. While this may seem straightforward, the process can be quite complicated. In recent years, many valid claims have been denied for seemingly no reason, leaving employees out of work and out of luck.
Our workers' compensation attorneys each have considerable experience resolving these complex work injury cases for their clients. In addition, each year our workers' compensation attorneys take numerous cases to trial, fighting for justice on behalf of the injured workers and their families.
St. Louis and Surrounding Communities
St. Louis has long been an embattled city with challenges that range from crime problems to financial struggles. Nevertheless, the region is rapidly growing and jobs are coming into the city. Areas like West County and South County are expanding at an alarming rate, with tons of new jobs being added every month. Major eastern Missouri industries and employers include:
- BJC Healthcare
- Washington University
Higher education, healthcare, and aerospace engineering are hot sectors in the St. Louis area right now, but the region is also replete with high-tech jobs and openings in skilled trades.
Common Cases Our Missouri Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Handle Throughout Eastern Missouri and St. Louis
Over the years, our workers’ compensation attorneys in St. Louis and eastern Missouri have developed a certain affinity for helping clients recover benefits. Some of our favorite cases to handle involve:
- Union worker injuries
- Skilled tradesmen (plumbers, construction workers, electricians, etc.)
- Manufacturing plant injuries
- Explosions and workplace fires
- Amputations and permanent disfigurements
- Head traumas and brain injuries
- High-skilled tech workers
- Of course, these are just some of the highlights. We can generally help with almost any sort of workplace injury in Missouri, large or small. But the key is getting in touch with a lawyer fast and early in the process.
Help Starts With a Phone Call
When a worker gets hurt, it can spell financial disaster and lead to other unintended consequences. Our firm will move fast to protect your rights. They say a lawyer should never be emotionally involved in a case, but we disagree. We care deeply about the outcome of each and every case, and we fight for our clients as though they were family.
If you are suffering after a work injury in the metro-east Missouri area or anywhere in downstate southern Missouri, call Jerome, Lindsay & Salmi, LLP to discuss your options in a free meeting or telephone consultation. We only get paid for our help with your work injury case if we are able to make the employer and their insurance company pay. So you have nothing to lose. Give our team a call today.
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