Workers’ compensation, often simply referred to as workers’ comp, is a state-mandated insurance system to help workers that are injured while performing their job. Many people have no experience dealing with the workers’ comp system until they find themselves hurt. This is unfortunate because it can be difficult to navigate the system, especially when you are also dealing with an injury.
Today we are going to go over what you should expect when you file your workers’ comp claim in Missouri, along with helpful tips for protecting your rights.
In an emergency it is critical to simply seek medical intervention, but in a non-emergency situation you will need to report the incident to your employer and then seek medical help. This is not a cost you should incur but should be covered by your employer and/or their workers’ comp insurance company.
Here is what the Missouri Department of Labor has to say about it:
“The employer or insurer is required to provide the medical treatment and care to cure and relieve the employee from the effects of the injury. This includes 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. If you do receive a bill, contact your employer or the insurance company immediately.”
You start the official workers’ compensation claim process by filing a Claim for Compensation with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. You must fill this form out and mail it in, but you can also go to the office of the Division of Workers’ Compensation to obtain and turn in the form.
It is important that you have already reported the incident to your employer prior to taking this step. In Missouri, you have 30 days from the date of the injury to let your employer know about the injury. This can be a verbal notice, but it is best to do so in writing as close to the date of the incident as possible.
The timeline for determining your workers’ comp case is complicated and depends on the extent of your injury. Part of this is because workers’ comp benefits should cover your medical expenses and you do not know what these are until you have reached maximum improvement. But the system itself is also slow and involves many parties, including the state, your employer and the workers’ comp insurance company.
You will notice that most of the parties involved in your case are not there to represent your interest. Unfortunately, these people are usually most interested in finding a cost-effective solution, not necessarily the best outcome for you, the injured party. This can leave injured workers in a vulnerable situation where their medical and financial interests are not protected.
It is important that you work to protect your rights and get fair compensation so you can prioritize your health and recovery. This can be extremely difficult, especially if you have limited knowledge of the workers’ comp system and are struggling to overcome your injury. In this situation, one of the best things you can do is hire an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
A workers’ comp attorney can help determine the worth of your claim, help you evaluate your options and navigate the workers’ comp system. They are on your side, so their opinions and recommendations are in your best interest, not intended to save the workers’ comp insurance company some money. Just remember to look for someone with a great deal of experience and a history of being a strong employee advocate.
If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, do not go at it alone. We fight fiercely for our clients’ rights and are proud of the results we have achieved on their behalf. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.