If you were injured at work or developed an illness from exposure to job-related hazards, you might be able to file a worker’s compensation claim. However, Missouri requires that worker’s compensation claims be filed within a specified period after someone sustains or discovers an occupational injury or illness. These timetables often result in a number of questions posed by injured workers like yourself.
If you are considering when to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in Columbia, it is often advisable to seek an attorney’s help as soon as you realize you are injured. An experienced attorney could help you understand your rights and whether you could have a valid claim for benefits.
When workers sustain a severe injury on the job, they are legally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Despite this legal requirement, many claims are stymied by insurance adjusters and the overly complex filing process. In certain situations, an injured individual’s company may delay paying out workers’ compensation or even reject the claim entirely. In the worst of scenarios, the employer may penalize a worker pursuing benefits or neglect to pay out the full range of benefits owed.
An attorney who frequently handles workers’ compensation claims understands the unique issues that could arise with these cases and the best strategies to pursue fair payouts for injured workers. Often, once an attorney intervenes in a workers’ compensation case, the insurance company takes the claim more seriously.
Depending on the extent of someone’s injuries, he or she may be entitled to numerous benefits in a workers’ compensation claim. For instance, when a worker’s injuries prevent him or her from returning to work in the short-term, he or she can claim temporary total disability benefits. Temporary total disability benefits comprise a portion of the worker’s income per week, subject to legally mandated limits, and can last for up to 400 weeks.
If injuries or occupational illnesses prevent workers from ever rejoining the workforce, they can apply for permanent total disability. In some cases, these benefits may be paid for life. Workers’ compensation also covers temporary partial disability and permanent partial disability, as well as out-of-pocket costs like the hospital bills associated with the individual’s injury.
It is essential to understand that workers’ compensation does not provide payment for the entire amount of an individual’s lost wages due to his or her injury, nor does it pay for non-economic losses such as mental distress or emotional anguish.
Employees who receive workers’ compensation cannot generally sue their employer for losses sustained on the job. Still, they can file suit against any negligent third party who contributed to the injury. In civil litigation, other damages like the worker’s pain and suffering from his or her injury can be recovered.
When workers are seriously injured while carrying out their job duties, they should get in touch with a Columbia workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. People injured at work have two years from the incident to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. They must inform their employer of the injury no later than 30 days from the incident date. If the worker is not aware he or she is injured right away, the 30-day notice period may start when that person reasonably could have discovered the injury.
If you suffered a job-related injury, you will likely need legal representation for your claim. Regarding when to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in Columbia, it is usually best to obtain legal assistance at the outset of your case.
An attorney could help you meet the various filing deadlines, collect the evidence needed to support your claim, and advocate for maximum recovery of benefits.
To learn more about your legal rights and options in a workers’ compensation claim, contact a Columbia attorney today for your confidential consultation.