How long do I have to report an injury or illness to my employer?
Report your work-related accident to your employer or supervisor IMMEDIATELY in writing so they can arrange medical treatment as necessary. Failure to report your injury to your employer within 30 days may jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Indicate, in writing, the date, time, location of injury and nature of the injury. Usually your employer will have you fill out a form. If they do not have one, you can obtain one from the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. To ensure that the injury report gets to your employer, it may be a good idea to deliver it by hand if at all possible. Once your report has been submitted to your employer/workers’ compensation insurer, it is their responsibility to report it to the Workers’ Compensation Division.
What if my employer doesn’t carry Workers’ Compensation insurance?
Employers who are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance can be sued directly for injuries that occur arising from workplace accidents.
Are all injuries at work covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance?
All injuries that occur as a direct result of the accident can qualify. For example, a worker with a preexisting injury that is made worse by an accident at work may not be covered by workers’ compensation if it is determined that the primary cause of that injury was the first accident, and not the workplace accident.
What if my injury occurred on my way to work?
Injuries that occur when a worker is on their way to or from work are not covered by Workers’ Compensation. This includes injuries or accidents that may occur during an employee’s lunch break. However, employees who must travel to perform work assignments are covered by Workers’ Compensation benefits if they are hurt during this travel.
What types of benefits am I entitled to?
Not all workers’ compensation benefits are equal. Your benefits will vary depending on the type of injury, extent of injury and how much time you had to take off of work to recover. Many work accidents can lead to hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, medication expenses, and loss of income. The employer or insurer is required to provide all costs for authorized medical treatment, prescriptions, and medical devices. There is no deductible and all costs are paid by the employer or its workers’ compensation insurance company.
In addition to medical benefits, a program exists for Missouri workers that can help alleviate the financial burdens associated with work-related injuries. Missouri law provides various kinds of Workers’ Compensation benefits:
- Temporary Total Disability – benefits that are intended to be paid to cover the period during which an employee is unable to work while healing from an injury or occupational disease. During that time period, the employee is entitled to 66 2/3 of his or her average earnings based on the 13 week period prior to the injury subject to a state-wide amount, which is based on the date of injury. Those benefits cease when the treating physician determines that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement.
- Permanent Disability – a lump sum payment paid after an employee returns to work but continues to have limitations, medical symptoms, or restrictions. A permanent partial disability payment is calculated according to your injury and the extent of your injury. If the injury or occupational illness prevents you from being able to return to work at all, you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits that have a maximum set by law, for the rest of your life.
- Survivor’s Benefits – when an employee dies as a result of an on the job injury, the survivors (usually a surviving spouse and/or surviving dependent children) are entitled to weekly benefits from the employer/insurer.
Are there time limitations for filing for Workers’ Compensation?
Yes. The time limitations vary from state to state. In some cases, several time limits may apply. In Missouri you have two years from the date of accident or last workers’ compensation benefit paid to file your claim with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. There are special circumstances that may apply.
Can a worker receive Social Security Disability benefits as a result of a work-related injury?
Yes. If a worker is disabled from working and it is anticipated that their disability will continue for one year or more, the worker could be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. However, Workers’ Compensation and other public disability benefits may reduce your Social Security disability benefits.