How to Start Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you’re hurt at work, you are likely to experience a financial burden due to lost wages and time off work. If you feel that what you have been offered is insufficient, you may want to file a Claim for Compensation with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This is your legal right.
Workers’ compensation cases can become complex. Complications may arise over your claim’s impact on your Medicare, social security, and unemployment benefits. Consult a workers’ compensation attorney before you make any decisions about filing a compensation claim.
In Missouri, there are several steps to take when filing a compensation claim. These include:
Reporting Your Injury
You have a duty to report your injury to your supervisor or employer immediately. Failure to do so within 30 days can jeopardize your eligibility to receive compensation benefits.
The notice to your employer must be in writing. It must state the name and address of the person injured, the nature of their injury, and the accident’s date, time, and place.
You should make a copy of the notice and keep a written note of when, where, and to whom you gave the notice.
Providing and Paying for Medical Care
The employer should arrange for your medical treatment and file a report with the Workers’ Compensation Division on receipt of your notice.
The medical care the employer must provide includes medical treatment, prescriptions, and medical devices. All costs must be paid by the employer or their workers’ compensation insurance.
Claiming All Available Benefits
In addition to medical benefits, the employee may be able to claim temporary disability benefits, permanent partial, or permanent disability benefits.
If a worker is killed in a work accident, some family members may be entitled to weekly benefits from the employer.
The employer may also be liable for funeral costs up to $5,000. Other benefits which may be available include lost wages, temporary partial disability, and temporary total disability.
Filing Your Claim for Compensation
Contact your employer if you don’t believe you have been given all the benefits you’re entitled to. If the issue isn’t resolved after contacting them or their insurance company, you may take other steps.
Using the dispute management service provided by the Workers’ Compensation Division, convening a conference with an administrative judge, or filing a Claim for Compensation are all viable options.
Appealing an Administrative Judge’s Award
If you have gone through a hearing and the administrative judge awards an amount you disagree with, you have the right to file an application for review.
You must apply with the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission within 20 days of the award date. You can write a letter or use the Commission’s Application for Review form, but the application must be in writing.
There is no need to appeal to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, where the administrative judge merely approved an agreement, settlement, or compromise agreed upon by the parties.
Remember, you have the legal right to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you at any time during this process. This will make the process much simpler for you, and it will also maximize your chances of a successful claim.
If you wish to submit a compensation claim, it should be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Division within two years from the date of the accident or death.
If the employer fails to file a Report of Injury with the Workers’ Compensation Division on time, the statute of limitations may be extended by one year. In this case, you have three years from the date of the accident or death to file.
Under RSMo 287.063, time does not begin to run under the statute of limitations in cases of occupational disease until it becomes apparent that an injury has been sustained or becomes reasonably discoverable.
If you have suffered an injury while at work, you should seek legal advice to protect your rights. The workers’ compensation claim process can be complex. Making a misstep could have serious effects on not only your compensation claim but also your other benefits.
St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyers at Cofman Townsley offer free case reviews and can help guide you through the compensation claims process. Contact our law firm today to get started.