Every year in America, millions of people suffer injuries on the job that prevent them from working and earning a living. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2020. If you are injured on the job in Columbia, Missouri, it’s important to understand that you’re entitled to certain benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation system.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means that it does not matter who was at fault for your accident or injury. If you were injured while performing your job duties, you should be eligible for benefits. Contact our skilled attorneys today to learn more about workers’ compensation benefits in Columbia that might be available to you.
In any workers’ compensation case, the amount and type of benefits you’re entitled to will depend on a few factors. These include the wages you earned at the time of your injury, the severity of your injury, and whether you’re able to return to work. If you’re injured or become ill due to a workplace accident or exposure, there are four main types of benefits that you may be entitled to receive from your workers’ compensation claim.
You are entitled to have all your reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to your work injury covered by workers’ compensation. This includes the cost of doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, and any other treatment deemed necessary by your physician. In some cases, workers’ compensation will also cover the cost of travel to and from doctor’s appointments.
If your injury or illness prevents you from working, you may be entitled to wage replacement benefits. In Missouri, these benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by state law. These benefits are typically paid until you can return to work or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
If a workplace accident results in the death of an employee, surviving family members may be entitled to death benefits. These benefits include two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by state law.
If your injury or illness prevents you from returning to your previous job, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits can help cover the cost of retraining for a new job, as well as any necessary job-seeking expenses.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must first notify your employer of your injury or illness. You then have 30 days to file a claim with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. Once your claim is filed, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case and will begin investigating.
These benefits come in the form of either permanent partial disability or permanent total disability benefits. If you’re capable of working but your work-related injury acts as a hindrance or obstacle to your continued employment, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. This typically comes in the form of a lump-sum payment based on your average weekly wage and weighing the nature and extent of the work-related injury.
On the other hand, if you are not able to work at all due to your on-the-job injury, you may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits, which typically comes in the form of weekly income for the rest of your life. The weekly income amount is determined by finding what two-thirds of your average weekly wage (limited by a cap imposed by state law) was over the course of the thirteen weeks prior to your injury. A local attorney could identify what type of benefits could be available to you and ensure you obtain the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
While the workers’ compensation system is designed to be straightforward, the claims process can be complex and confusing. And if your claim is denied, it can be even more difficult to get the benefits you need and deserve. That’s why it’s important to have a workers’ compensation attorney on your side. An experienced lawyer in Columbia will assist in many ways, including reviewing your claim to make sure you are eligible for benefits, filing all the necessary paperwork, dealing with insurance companies, representing you at hearings, and negotiating a settlement if necessary. Of course, should your workers’ compensation claim go to trial, your attorney will be by your side throughout the entire process.
If you’ve been injured on the job in Columbia, contact the Law Office of Chris Miller. We will review your case and help you understand your rights and options under the workers’ compensation law. We’ll go over the benefits you may expect to receive, help determine if you’re eligible and if so, we’ll help you through every step of the claims process and work to get you the full amount of benefits you deserve. To find out more about workers’ compensation benefits in Columbia, contact us today for a free consultation.