In Part 3 of our 4 part series, "Best Practices for Injured Workers," our Missouri workers' compensation attorneys provide information about the different kinds of benefits available to workers' compensation claimants.
If you are unable to return to your job as the result of workplace injuries, you are most likely entitled to disability benefits. There are several factors that affect what kind of benefits you are eligible for:
Temporary Total Disability
• If you have to take time away from work to recover from your injuries and/or any medical procedures associated with those injuries; or your doctor says you cannot return to work because of your injuries, you may be eligible for Temporary Total Disability benefits to compensate you for your lost wages.
• If your employer has offered you "light or modified [duties]," and your doctor says that you are capable of performing those tasks, you may not be able to collect Temporary Total Disability benefits.
• However, if you accept "light or modified" duties, but at less than full pay, the law allows you to collect Temporary Partial Disability benefits.
• Temporary Total Disability benefits should continue until your doctor releases you to return to work, either because your "treatment is concluded" or because you have "maximum medical improvement," whichever comes first.
Permanent Partial Disability and Permanent Total Disability
• Permanent Partial Disability benefits are designed to assist injured workers whose injury impacts the tasks they can perform, but who can still work (even if the job isn't exactly the same one that they had before the injury).
• Permanent Total Disability benefits are awarded to employees who are no longer able to work, in any capacity, at any job. Depending on the circumstances - in particular, the nature and extent of the injury - these benefits may be paid out in lifetime weekly installments, or as a lump sum payment.