Workers’ Compensation Basics
You hope that you never suffer a work-related injury, but every 7 seconds, a worker is injured on the job. In 2019, 101,688 total workplace injuries were reported in Missouri. An injured worker and his or her family may be left with huge medical bills and lost income.
What is workers’ compensation?
Nobody should have to risk their safety, health, and financial well-being for the sake of a job. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide benefits to injured employees so that they can pay bills and medical expenses while they are recovering. The employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance, and individual states administer the systems.
Workers’ compensation is not the same as unemployment income or disability insurance. Unemployment income and disability insurance are paid no matter where the injury occurs, but workers’ compensation law applies if a worker is injured in the course of performing job-related duties or while at the job site. However, by accepting workers’ compensation benefits an employee is generally barred from suing the employer for negligence in connection with the injury.
Who is eligible?
Workers’ compensation coverage depends largely on the status of the worker, such as whether they are an employee, and whether the injury occurred as a result of their employment.
To be eligible, you must be an employee of a company that has (or should have had) workers’ compensation insurance. Some categories of workers are excluded from workers’ compensation. In Missouri, excluded workers include independent contractors, many agricultural workers, domestic workers, volunteers, and others.
What types of benefits may be included?
Payment amounts are usually capped under the law and decrease over time as the employee heals and returns to work. There are several types of workers’ compensation benefits. The most common types include:
- Medical care
- Cash benefits
- Death benefits
What is the procedure for collecting workers’ compensation?
State law regulates the workers’ compensation process. If a worker is injured on the job, there are deadlines to submit paperwork in order to receive benefits. When an injury occurs, both the injured worker and the employer must fulfill the requirements. In general, when an injury happens, the employer must provide the injured employee with the necessary paperwork, file a claim with the insurer and comply with state law regarding reporting work injuries. The employee must provide the employer with the details of the injury and file for a formal workers’ compensation claim.
Although workers’ compensation exists to help injured workers quickly, the claim process may be complicated. If you have suffered a workplace injury or illness, you need information about workers’ compensation as soon as possible. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can review your case and help you obtain the benefits you deserve. For more information or a free consultation, call Hoffman & Gelfman at (314)241-1020, or contact us online.