Workers Compensation Law
If you are injured on the job, you are entitled to compensation from your employer. This is true regardless of who is at fault for the injury. You are entitled to receive weekly temporary disability benefits while you are unable to work due to your injury. The employer is also required to provide all medical treatment necessary to cure and relieve the effects of the injury. If you suffer any percentage of permanent disability to any part of your body as a result of the injury, you are also entitled to a lump sum payment based upon that percentage of disability and your wage rate.
The employer has the right to select the treating physician. However, if they do not provide appropriate medical treatment then the employee can select the physician and ask that the expenses be assessed against the employer. Additionally, when an emergency exists and it is impossible to see a physician selected by the employer, the employee may seek such emergency treatment from a medical provider not selected by the employer. The judge can also make an award of future medical treatment, provided there is a proof of a reasonable probability that the injured employee may need future medical treatment due to the injury.
Under most circumstances, after an injured employee reaches maximum medical improvement, (that is that he is not in need of additional medical treatment) the employee will be examined by a physician of his choosing to render an opinion as to any disability suffered by the employee. Similarly, the employer may require the employee to be examined by a physician of its choosing to make a similar determination. These reports are generally submitted to the workers' compensation judge either in settlement negotiations or through depositions at a contested hearing. These reports will aid the judge in making a determination of the percentage of the employee's permanent disability.
Another factor affecting the amount of the award is the employee's wage rate. The percentage of permanent partial disability is multiplied by an amount equal to two-thirds of the employee's average gross weekly wage up to a maximum amount, which is based upon the state's average weekly wage rate, which is adjusted every year. Other factors included in determining the wage rate may be the reasonable value of housing or lodging or other benefits received by the employee as part of his compensation. A sum also may be allowed for disfigurement for injuries that result in disfigurement to the head, neck, hands or arms.
In addition to providing medical treatment and a lump sum payment for any permanent partial disability suffered by the employee, the employer is also obligated to pay temporary disability benefits during that period of time that the employee is unable to return to work due to his injury. There is a three-day waiting period before the employer is required to begin paying temporary total disability benefits. If the temporary disability lasts longer than 14 days, then payment for the first three days is required to be made retroactively to the employee.
The employee may also be entitled to receive temporary partial disability for the time that he is able to work but is required to perform a job earning less than he was earning prior to the injury.
If an employee is permanently unable to return to employment due to his injuries, or due to a combination of his work injury and pre-existing injuries or conditions, which cause him to be unemployable, then he may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits.
If an employee dies as a result of a compensable work-related injury, Missouri statutes provide for death benefits and burial expenses to be paid to the employee's dependents.
We handle workers' compensation cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee unless an award is received.
If you are injured at work, we will be happy to discuss your case with you at no charge. If you are unable to come to the office, we can come to your home, or if you are confined to a hospital, we can make arrangements to visit you there.
Carl F Kohnen
760 Saint Francois St Ste B ♦ Florissant, MO 63031