personal injury lawyers, we know that the Missouri workers' compensation system can
be confusing and intimidating for injured employees and their loved ones.
In this post, we address a few questions we commonly hear from our clients.
Q: When do I need to file a workers' compensation claim?
A: First, it's important to note that reporting your injury to your
employer is not the same thing as filing a workers' comp claim. If
you're injured on the job, you must report the injury to your employer
(in writing) immediately - and if you fail to do so within 30 days following
the injury, you may lose your right to pursue compensation. After you
notify your employer, your employer must then file a Report of Injury
with the Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation.
In contrast, a
workers' compensation claim must be submitted directly to the Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation.
Injured workers may wish to
file a claim if they feel they have not been fully compensated for their damages and
losses. Claims must be filed within two years following the date of injury,
or the date the last payment was made on account of the injury (unless
the employer failed to submit a Report of Injury in a timely manner, in
which case the employee has three years from those dates to file a claim).
Q: Will I lose my job if I file a claim?
A: Under Missouri law, employers are prohibited from firing an employee
solely because the employee is pursuing his or her workers' comp rights.
If you believe you were fired, demoted, suspended or disciplined by your
employer solely because you filed a workers' comp claim, you should
speak with an attorney concerning your legal rights. Depending on the
circumstances, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Q: What if my injury prevents me from returning to work?
A: Injured employees who are unable to return to work in any capacity
may qualify for permanent total disability benefits. If your injury limits
your ability to perform certain tasks, but you are still able to work
in some capacity, you may be entitled to permanent partial disability
benefits available may include temporary total disability benefits (if you are temporarily
unable to return to work while recovering from your injury) and temporary
partial disability benefits (if you return to work on restricted or modified
duty at less than full pay).