Car Accidents

Compensation for Accident Claims that Exceed Policy Limits

Car accidents. They are often unavoidable despite our best efforts to drive safely. We simply cannot dictate what others do on the road. Car accidents come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the damages are relatively low, and recovering compensation is a simple process. A low-speed accident causing less than $5,000 or $10,000 might take only a few weeks to settle with an insurance company. That’s exactly why all 50 states require drivers to carry liability insurance in some form or another.  Other times, things aren’t so easy. For example, if a car accident´s damages exceed the responsible party’s insurance limits, things become a bit more complicated. When a car accident claim exceeds policy limits, you might not know exactly what to do or what to expect. When this happens, you might feel like giving up. Doubt might creep into your mind and make you wonder, Can you settle for more than policy limits? You always have the option of suing beyond policy limits. After you read through this piece, we hope that some of the uncertainty surrounding what happens when damages exceed insurance limits is cleared away. Insurance Requirements In Arkansas and Missouri Before we get into what happens when an insurance policy limits a settlement, we need to first go over basic insurance requirements. At Cottrell Law Office, we have teams to help people recover from car accidents throughout both Missouri and Arkansas. As such, we need to discuss the basic insurance requirements in both states. If your damages exceed these basic policy limits, you may have to file a lawsuit to recover all your damages. Missouri Insurance Requirements The state of Missouri requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto liability insurance. You can, of course, purchase insurance products that exceed the minimum. Still, the minimum gives us a baseline on whether a given accident might exceed policy limits. Missouri requires all drivers to carry the following: $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, $25,000 per accident for property damage, Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person, and Uninsured motorist coverage of $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. Thus, if you are in a Missouri car accident and your damages exceed $25,000 or $50,000, you should prepare to file a lawsuit to recover your damages. You may not have to, but you should ensure you are prepared to do so. Arkansas Insurance Requirements Just like Missouri, Arkansas requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. If the damages in your accident exceed these amounts, you may have to file a lawsuit to fully recover from your accident. Arkansas’ insurance requirements are as follows: $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage. Unlike Missouri, Arkansas does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. However, uninsured motorist coverage is always available for purchase. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. How Often Do Auto Accident Settlements Exceed the Policy Limits? Auto accident settlements exceed policy limits every day. Beyond the minimum requirements, there is no way for you to know what insurance limits other drivers are subject to. That is, you won’t know until an accident happens. While not every accident settlement exceeds policy limits, many do. If your accident exceeds policy limits you should contact an experienced car attorney right away. Cottrell Law Office Is Here for You At Cottrell Law Office, it doesn’t matter how large or small your car accident was. We are here to help. If you need to file a lawsuit, we can do that. If all you need is for us to negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf, we can do that too. We serve clients throughout the great states of Missouri and Arkansas, and we are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Don’t forget to check out some testimonials from our previous clients, then give us a call to schedule your consultation today!

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Social Security Disability

How a Vocational Expert Can Affect Your Disability Claim

If you are currently planning on filing a disability claim or are involved with a disability claim already, you will have to go through a disability hearing at some point. A disability hearing is an important aspect of any Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim . During your SSDI hearing, a panel will analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding your disability claim. Some of the most important actors in these hearings are disability hearing vocational experts. The vocational expert at your SSDI hearing is responsible for helping assess your disability claim. At the end of the day, vocational expert testimony can make or break your claim for disability benefits. What Is a Vocational Expert? As noted, Social Security disability vocational expert opinions can make or break your claim for disability benefits. As an expert, their job is to assess whether you are unable to work. Alternatively, they may determine that you are able to work despite your injury. In other circumstances, the disability hearing vocational expert may say that you can still work, but only with the right, reasonable accommodations. These are, essentially, the three main conclusions that a vocational expert may reach. Often, vocational experts specialize in a specific work area. As such, they know the ins and outs of that particular job or field of work. Using their expertise, they can determine whether you can fulfill your duties. There are several factors that vocational experts look at to make their determination. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. What Factors Do Vocational Experts Look At? While the vocational expert goes through the facts and circumstances of your case, they need to look at several different factors. Without a holistic analysis of all these relevant factors, a vocational expert’s opinion would carry a lot less weight. That would, of course, defeat the point of a vocational expert in the first place. While many factors come into play, two stand out from the rest: the level of exertion a job requires and the level of expertise the job requires. Some of the other factors include things like your age and the current job market. Level of Exertion One of the main factors that a vocational expert will look at is the level of exertion a given job requires. Some jobs, like those in construction, might require you to stand on your feet for 12 hours at a time or lift more than 50 pounds at a time. On the opposite end of the spectrum are sedentary jobs. These are, by and large, what we think of as desk jobs. In the middle, light or medium jobs might require you to lift 25 pounds or so regularly and stand on your feet for 6 to 8 hours a day. In the end, if your job requires a great deal of physical exertion and your disability impairs your ability to exert yourself physically, the stronger your claim is. Conversely, a disability that affects only your ability to physically exert yourself may not help your disability claim if you work at a desk job.  Level of Expertise In a vocational expert’s analysis, the level of expertise a given job requires is equally important to the level of exertion it requires. The more skills and expertise your job requires, the more likely your claim is to be accepted. Conversely, unskilled jobs are often more difficult to get disability benefits for. Ready to File Your SSDI Disability Claim? If you’re ready to file an SSDI claim, or if you are just considering it, give us a call at Cottrell Law Office. SSDI claims are a unique area of law and can present some unique difficulties at times. That’s why it’s so important to go with an attorney who has the right experience to help you with your claim. At Cottrell Law Office, disability claims are one of our primary practice areas. With the help of our experienced SSDI claims team, you can go into the process with confidence. Why? Because you know that your lawyer has been there before. Thus, you won’t have to worry about any nasty surprises when it comes time for your hearing. Results matter, so go with the team who gets results. Contact Cottrell Law Office today to schedule your consultation!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I File a Disability Claim While Collecting Unemployment Benefits?

It is completely understandable for someone to file a disability claim because a mental or physical disability prevents them from working. It also is not unreasonable to file a claim for unemployment benefits after being laid off. Yet people sometimes wonder, Can you apply for disability while on unemployment benefits? The simple answer is that you technically can file for both. However, it is rarely a good idea and often creates more problems than solutions. If you are asking, Can you get unemployment and disability at the same time? then you should reach out to a qualified and experienced disability lawyer for further guidance right away.  Can You Draw Unemployment If You Have Filed for Disability? Again, there’s no law that prohibits you from collecting both unemployment and disability benefits. Yet there are practical complications in attempting to collect both at the same time. To understand why, it’s important to understand what you are claiming when receiving unemployment benefits and disability benefits. Requirements to Obtain Unemployment Benefits Unemployment benefits help provide an individual with temporary income after they’ve lost their job. To collect unemployment, you must have lost your job through no fault of your own. Each state has its own unemployment benefits program with unique requirements and payment plans. That said, a nearly universal requirement to receive unemployment benefits is that the person receiving benefits has to be ready, willing, and able to work.  Requirements to Receive Disability Payments Individuals receiving unemployment benefits can theoretically apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Many states also feature SSDI programs. To apply for any of these programs, an individual generally must show that they have medical conditions that prevent them from working. This includes information about their medical condition or disability that prevents them from doing work-related activities like walking, sitting, or remembering instructions. To evaluate the extent of the individual’s disability, the SSA will evaluate whether (and how much) you’re currently working. It will also evaluate whether you can still do the work at your previous job. Therefore, receiving disability payments means you need to claim that you can’t work a job.  We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. So Can You Collect Unemployment and Disability Benefits? At this point, you can probably see where collecting unemployment benefits and disability payments at the same time becomes tricky. On one hand, you are claiming that you are ready, willing, and able to work when you collect unemployment benefits. On the other hand, you are asking for disability payments because you are unable to work due to a medical condition. Many administrative law judges (ALJs) for the SSA are suspicious of those who try to obtain unemployment and disability benefits simultaneously. That said, there could occasionally be situations where an individual can legitimately claim both benefit types. Can a Disability Attorney Help Me Decide Whether to Apply for Unemployment Benefits and Disability Benefits? Absolutely. An experienced disability lawyer will be able to assess your claim and explain your potential options. They can also explain the benefits and drawbacks for each choice. Because they are experienced with working with ALJs and other government officials, an attorney can provide you sound advice on how to move forward.  Can You Apply For Disability While On Unemployment with a Skilled Attorney Representing You? The simple truth is that you need the advice of a knowledgeable disability lawyer to help you if you are considering applying for disability while on unemployment. Moreover, it’s critical that you pick the right attorney. You need to look for an attorney with a practice focused on disability-related legal issues. It’s also important for them to have many years of legal experience and a great reputation.  Cottrell Law Office is not just any law firm. We are an award-winning firm with over 32 years of experience aiding injured and disabled people. In addition, we have an outstanding track record of providing great client service, as our customer testimonials show. Finally, our outstanding results show just how good we are at helping our clients win big and obtain the compensation they deserve. Let us help you. Give us a call today at 800-364-8305 or contact us online to get started. 

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Car Accidents

Signs You Should Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

In certain situations, a car accident may have a devastating effect on victims and their families. Between the financial, physical, and emotional struggles, it may be difficult to know what to do next. However, some crashes are less serious—perhaps there was minimal vehicle damages and minor injuries or none at all. Here are some tips on when to hire an attorney after a car accident based on your situation. When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident Immediately following your crash, you may be wondering, Should I call a lawyer after a car accident? While it’s not always necessary to hire an attorney for a claim, there are a few signs that your case may benefit from legal representation. Here are some situations where hiring an experienced car accident attorney may be beneficial for your claim. 1. The Accident Resulted in a Serious Injury If the car accident results in a serious injury, whether to yourself, a passenger, or another driver, you should contact an attorney immediately. There are a variety of injuries that may qualify as severe, including but not limited to: Lacerations, Broken bones, Concussions, Spinal cord damage, Disfigurement, Paralysis, Amputations, and Traumatic brain injuries. These injuries often result in long-term difficulties or, in some cases, permanent disability. As a result, it’s unlikely that the settlement offered by the insurance company will cover those future costs or your pain and suffering. 2. The Driver Responsible is Underinsured or Uninsured Unfortunately, some people drive their vehicles without the required minimum insurance coverage set by the state. Getting into an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver makes it much more difficult to pursue compensation on your own since they have no coverage. At the Cottrell Law Office, our attorneys explore other avenues to seek compensation in cases like this, whether it’s through your own auto insurance policy or the driver’s personal finances.  3. The Accident Report Contains Major Errors When you get into an accident, the responding police officer usually files an accident report. This report contains several details about the crash and even the officer’s investigative findings. While the report is mostly accurate, sometimes the officer makes mistakes in the report that might make it difficult to establish fault. In some cases, their investigation may find you at fault for the accident based on incorrect information or statements from the other driver. While it’s not always possible to change the original report, our Arkansas car accident attorneys may be able to request an amended report or bring in experts to help disprove erroneous claims in the report. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. When You Shouldn’t Hire an Attorney While it may not always be clear when to hire an attorney after a car accident, there are a few instances where it might not be your best option. Here are some situations where calling an attorney isn’t necessary. 1. The Accident Didn’t Have Any Injuries One of the most common questions people ask after their crash is, Should I hire a lawyer for a minor car accident? Generally, the answer is no. Accidents with no injuries don’t usually command the same compensation as those with serious injuries, and it’s usually easier to get the insurance company to pay the full value of your claim. In addition, most personal injury attorneys won’t take a case that doesn’t involve injuries. 2. There Is Little Damage to Any Vehicles or Property Minor fender benders, especially those that result in only a few thousand dollars worth of damage, don’t require the help of a lawyer. In most situations, the insurance company handling the claim offers a settlement that covers all damage to the vehicle. This is because the only damages in the accident are tangible and may be easy to estimate based on repair/replacement quotes. So Should I Get an Attorney for a Car Accident? If you’ve been in a car accident and don’t know whether you need an attorney, call the Cottrell Law Office today. Our skilled car accident lawyers can help gather evidence for your case and handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call our office at 855-503-8140.

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Car Accidents

Average Time for a Car Accident Settlement

After being injured in a car accident, many victims wonder how long it takes to reach a settlement. While it’s not uncommon for settlements to take several months or even years, there are instances where it may take less time. So what’s the average time for a car accident settlement? Here’s everything you need to know about the settlement process and how our personal injury attorneys may be able to help. Requirements for a Finalized Settlement Before you receive a settlement offer, there are a few things you must do: reach maximum medical improvement, provide medical records, and send a demand letter.  Ultimately, your car accident settlement time frame varies greatly depending on the severity of the injury. For those who have broken bones or strains, it may take only a few months to complete treatment and send a demand letter. However, this becomes more complicated in car accidents involving a lifelong disability. Maximum Medical Improvement To receive a settlement, you either need to complete your treatment for your injury or reach maximum medical improvement. This means that even if you need further treatment, your current condition is the best recovery possible. For example, if you have a back injury that resulted in limited movement, it may not get better with further surgery. Despite this, it’s possible to include future medical expenses in your claim.  The best way to prevent delays with your car accident settlement is to seek treatment as soon as possible. In most cases, the insurance company won’t make an offer until you fully recover or complete treatment.  Medical Records and Bills Medical records, including treatment bills and doctors’ statements, are an essential part of your demand letter. These records not only indicate whether you’ve reached maximum medical improvement but also describe the severity of the injury. In claims involving serious injury, medical records play a major role in identifying future care requirements or complications. However, sometimes doctors forget to add this important information. In this case, you may need opinions from other qualified medical professionals about your condition. Demand Letter Once you gather the evidence you need, you must send a demand letter to the insurance company. The average time for a car accident settlement usually depends on the circumstances of your case and the insurance company receiving your claim. In general, the insurance company takes anywhere from 2-14 weeks to evaluate the information in your claim. Unfortunately, some insurance companies may not respond at all or deny the claim in bad faith. At that point, it’s best to call one of our personal injury attorneys to assist you. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Have Questions About Settling Your Car Accident Claim? If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a car accident, you don’t have to fight the insurance company alone. At Cottrell Law Office, our car accident attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping clients pursue a fair settlement. We dedicate ourselves to offering guidance to our clients during the claims process. To get started on your case, call us today or contact us online. We proudly serve clients throughout Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. 

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Car Accidents

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

In a personal injury case, it’s common for victims of negligence to experience pain and suffering. The physical, emotional, and mental toll of the injury is often traumatic, especially during the initial recovery. As a result, many victims seek non-economic damages to compensate them for the difficulties they have healing.  If you’ve been injured due to the negligent actions of another, you may be wondering how to calculate pain and suffering. Here is everything you need to know about the calculations typically used by personal injury lawyers. Methods for Calculating Pain and Suffering Unlike calculating other types of damages, calculating pain and suffering is highly subjective and varies from case to case. While there isn’t an exact way to measure pain and suffering, there are two common methods used by attorneys: the multiplier method and the per diem method.  Multiplier Method The multiplier method is one of the most common approaches used by personal injury attorneys. To determine non-economic damages like pain and suffering, the attorney multiplies the amount of economic damages by a “multiplier.” The multiplier is usually a number between 1.5 and 5, but may go higher depending on the severity of the injuries. Here’s an example of the multiplier method in a car accident case. Jayna got into a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Before her injury, Jayna was an avid hiker and spent most of her time exploring the outdoors. She no longer has the ability to enjoy her favorite hobby and has difficulty taking physical care of herself. She also has issues with chronic nerve pain in her back because of the injury. Jayna has a total of $300,000 in economic damages, and her attorney decides to pursue a multiplier of five for pain and suffering. In total, Jayna sues the other driver for $1.8 million ($300,000 in economic damages and $1.5 million in noneconomic damages). In this case, since the injury led to a decrease in the victim’s quality of life and requires lifelong care, the multiplier was high. If the victim suffered a less permanent injury, such as a broken bone or lacerations, the multiplier might be lower. Per Diem Method Another common method for calculating pain and suffering is the per diem, or per day, method. Instead of multiplying the amount of economic damages, the per diem method determines a dollar amount owed to the victim per day of suffering. This daily rate is more likely to be used in cases involving short-term injuries. For example, if the victim suffers a fractured shoulder and has around 180 days of recovery time, their attorney may find a per diem rate of $200 appropriate based on their daily earnings. This means that the total amount of pain and suffering damages is $36,000. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Need Help Calculating Pain and Suffering for Your Case? At Cottrell Law Firm, we know how difficult it is to handle a personal injury claim during recovery. Suing for pain and suffering after a car accident or other event is often too stressful to deal with after a serious injury. Our personal injury attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping clients pursue the compensation they need to recover and restore their peace of mind.  To schedule a consultation, call us today or contact us online. We proudly serve clients throughout the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

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Personal Injury

What Is the Missouri Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?

Missouri courts set specific deadlines or statutes of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. You must understand and carefully follow these deadlines so you can file a claim for your injuries before the time limit expires. Contact or call a qualified Missouri personal injury attorney at (800) 364-8305 to help you understand the requirements and recover the compensation you deserve. What is a Statute of Limitations? The statute of limitations is a deadline set by the legislature to file a legal claim. Statutes of limitations differ depending on the nature of the case, and statutes of limitations differ by state. Each state sets specific rules for calculating the statute of limitations, including: When the clock starts ticking, When a court may extend a statute of limitations, and Exceptions to the deadlines. Missouri courts strictly enforce the personal injury statute of limitations. If you fail to meet the deadline, you will lose the right to pursue your legal claim. Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Under Missouri Code section 516.120, a person typically has five years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim. This means that you must begin the legal process by filing an initial complaint with the relevant court within the five-year personal injury statute of limitations period. The Missouri personal injury statute of limitations clock begins to run when you discover the injury. Missouri statutes of limitations can be difficult to calculate. For example, a legal concept called tolling allows you to pause the clock and potentially extend the statute of limitations deadline. However, tolling and other exceptions apply only in specific circumstances. A qualified Missouri personal injury lawyer can help you accurately calculate your statute of limitations period to ensure you meet the appropriate deadline. What Happens If I Miss the Statute of Limitations Deadline? Missouri courts strictly enforce statutes of limitations. If you fail to initiate your claim within the required time frame, the court may dismiss your claim immediately. MO statute of limitations deadlines are also important during settlement negotiations. If you miss your deadline, the other parties in your case may refuse to negotiate or settle because you no longer have a viable legal claim. If you have questions about the Missouri statute of limitations in terms of personal injury, reach out to our personal injury lawyers at Cottrell Law Office today. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Exceptions to the Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations While typically you must file a personal injury claim within five years after discovering an injury, some exceptions apply. Missouri law allows a plaintiff to delay the statute of limitations deadline for personal injury claims when: The injured person is less than 21 years old at the time of the injury, or The injured person is mentally incapacitated. Additionally, if the person responsible for your injuries leaves the state after the incident, you may be able to delay the deadline for the length of time the defendant was out of the state. Finally, if a government agency or employee is involved in your claim, you must file your personal injury claim within 90 days of the incident. Failing to understand these exceptions and the other statute of limitations rules can prevent you from receiving compensation for your injury claim. Contact an Experienced Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Today Properly following statutes of limitations and other court rules will help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Cottrell Law Office have extensive experience handling Missouri personal injury claims. Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to handle personal injury claims successfully. Our dedicated staff will answer all of your questions and help you every step of the way. For a free consultation, call our office at (800) 364-8305 or fill out our online form today.

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Car crash injury attorneys

How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Charge?

If you sustained injuries in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve justice and compensation for your injuries and other damages. If you’re considering legal action, you are likely wondering whether to get a lawyer and what that might cost. After any type of injury accident, it’s natural to have many questions and concerns. The Missouri car accident lawyers of Cottrell Law Office have the answers you’re seeking. We offer a free consultation and case review to help get you the information you need and get you started on the legal process. How Are Auto Accident Attorney Fees Calculated? If you were the victim of someone else’s negligence, most car accident lawyers will accept your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay any retainer or out-of-pocket legal fees to your lawyer. They will handle your case and cover any expenses on your behalf. Once your case settles, they will take a percentage of the settlement. Accident attorney fees vary depending on several factors. However, the average car accident lawyer fee percentage is about 33% or one-third of the settlement amount. Some attorneys might offer a sliding fee scale based on how long it takes to resolve your claim. The quicker the resolution, the lower the fees. What Do Car Accident Lawyer Fees Include? Every lawyer and law firm sets its own policies regarding fees and expenses. Typically, however, car accident attorney fee percentages do not include expenses. Expenses might include items such as court filing fees, professional service fees for investigators and subject matter experts, courier fees, copies, etc. Always be sure to ask any potential attorney how their fee structure works and what is—and is not—included in their contingency percentage. How Much Do Accident Lawyers Charge for Going to Court? Fortunately, most attorneys can settle their clients’ cases without having to file a lawsuit. Negotiating a settlement saves everyone the time, hassle, and money of going to court. A settlement also makes good sense because it gets a check in your hand as quickly as possible. Sometimes, however, the insurance company won’t settle for what your claim is worth—or they won’t settle at all. In that case, your attorney might recommend filing a lawsuit. Preparing a case for trial requires substantial time, effort, and resources. Because it costs the law firm more money than a settlement would, you can expect to pay higher accident attorney fees. Again, your actual fee percentage will vary, but 40% or more is well within the range of reasonable expectations. Before you enter into an agreement with an attorney, ensure you understand their fees. Finally, make sure the fee structure is laid out clearly in your written legal services agreement. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today to Learn More If you sustained injuries in a car accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you get a lawyer working on your behalf, the sooner you can get the compensation you deserve. The personal injury attorneys of the Cottrell Law Office understand what you’re going through, and we are here to help. You don’t have to face this situation alone. We provide highly personalized legal representation with the highest possible standards in client communication and service. Call us now at 855-520-8801 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Missouri car accident lawyer.

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Worker's Compensation claims in Missouri

Overview of Missouri Workers’ Compensation Forms

If you were hurt on the job, workers’ compensation insurance can help get you the medical treatment you need for your injuries. To get these benefits, you must complete and submit specific Missouri workers’ compensation forms. These forms, some of which are lengthy, can be confusing and potentially overwhelming. Unfortunately, every Missouri workers’ comp form is necessary for processing your claim. If you need help with any aspect of your claim, contact the Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys of the Cottrell Law Office. We have the extensive knowledge and experience you need on your side. Under the law, you are entitled to receive compensation for any injuries you suffered while performing any job-related activity. We will fight tirelessly to get you the benefits you are entitled to. Missouri Division of Workers Compensation Forms Workers’ comp claims are administered by the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DLIR). The DLIR website contains all the state-specific workers’ comp forms for injured workers in Missouri. You have 30 days to report a workplace injury accident. However, you have two years to file a formal claim. In most cases, this coverage will pay for approved medical treatment and a portion of your lost wages. The amount of income reimbursement coverage you qualify for depends on how long your injuries will prevent you from working. You won’t be able to collect any compensation, however, unless you and your employer complete and submit the correct forms. What to Do After a Workplace Injury Taking the correct steps after suffering a workplace injury accident can help ensure your claim goes smoothly. Several key steps in the process involve either you or your employer submitting specific Missouri workers’ compensation forms. 1. Submit a Written Report to Your Employer Immediately after any workplace injury accident, report the accident to your employer in writing. If the employer does not require a specific form, you can use DLIR’s form for reporting a Missouri workplace injury to the employer. Although you have 30 days to report an accident to your employer, it’s best to submit your notification as quickly as possible. Follow instructions from your employer carefully to avoid doing anything that could potentially jeopardize your claim’s approval. NOTE: Do not confuse the employee’s report to their employer with the form known as the Missouri First Report of Injury (FROI). This is a form your employer must submit to DLIR and their workers’ comp insurer within 10 days of being notified of a job site injury (or within 24 hours of a workplace fatality). 2. Seek Medical Treatment Visit the doctor or medical treatment provider your employer instructs you to see. Complete any forms or documents requested. Follow all treatment plans and keep all medical appointments to avoid any disruption in your benefits. 3. Submit a Formal Accident Report You must complete and submit a formal accident claim report to DLIR and the insurance company. DLIR requires the use of their Claim for Compensation form. When completing the accident report for the insurance company, take care not to include any information that could jeopardize your claim. The insurance company can use any information you provide as the basis for denying your claim. 4. Submit a Records Release Authorization Form You will likely be asked to complete and submit the Authorization for Disclosure of Consumer Medical/Health Information form to your employer. Your employer will forward a copy of this form to the insurance company. MO Workers’ Comp Forms for Your Employer Many companies implement specific policies and procedures that employees must follow after a workplace accident. Unless you comply with these requirements, your employer might threaten to penalize or punish you in some way. However, all employers must comply with Missouri worker’s comp laws and rules. As your claim progresses, you may be asked to complete other Missouri workers’ compensation forms or forms specific to your employer or their insurance company. If you have questions that your employer can’t answer to your satisfaction, or if you feel something might be amiss with what you’re asked to do, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation claim attorney. Contact a Missouri Workers’ Comp Lawyer Now for Help You can pursue a workers’ compensation claim on your own if you prefer. However, in some cases, you might need a little extra help to get the compensation you deserve. At the Cottrell Law Office, our Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience with complex workers’ comp claims. We can also assist you if your employer engages in any illegal conduct. For example, if your employer encourages you not to file a claim or subjects you to any type of workers’ compensation retaliation, we can help. Contact us immediately for a free consultation and case review. We are ready to get to work on your behalf and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or to speak to one of our personal injury lawyers for help with Missouri workers’ compensation forms.

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Workers' Compensation

When to Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer

All employees deserve safe and fair workplace conditions.Sadly, work accidents remain a serious problem throughout the United States. According to data published by the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 4.5 million Americans were injured on the job in 2017 alone. Most workers are covered by a state-based no-fault workers’ compensation insurance program. Through workers’ comp, an injured employee can recover medical benefits and wage-loss compensation — regardless of whether their employer was to blame for their accident. Not all injured workers need a lawyer to get their benefits. If you suffered a minor injury and you missed little to no time at work, you will most likely be able to handle your case on your own. That being said, for more complex claims, it is imperative that injured workers hire an experienced Missouri workers’ comp attorney or Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after their accident. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today for help with your case. We’ll explain when you should get a lawyer for workers’ compensation. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to schedule a consultation. Should I Get a Lawyer for Workers’ Comp? Five Questions to Ask 1. Did You Suffer Severe Injuries? You should hire a workers’ comp lawyer. In the unfortunate event that you were forced to miss extended time on the job (more than a week) or if you are expecting to feel long-term or permanent effects from your injury, then you need a workers’ compensation attorney. Employers and insurers are far more aggressive in handling claims involving serious injuries. It is crucial that you are able to present a strong, persuasive case so that you can obtain a full and fair workers’ compensation settlement. With severe injuries, it is generally best to hire a workers’ comp lawyer when you submit your initial claim. 2. Are You Preparing to File a Social Security Disability Claim? You should hire a workers’ comp attorney. After a serious accident, an injured worker may be entitled to receive both Social Security disability benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. Pursuing these types of overlapping claims can be complicated. If your workers’ comp settlement is not structured in the proper manner, it could actually impair your ability to recover the maximum available Social Security disability benefits. Do not go it alone. You should consult with a Social Security disability lawyer who has experience representing clients who are also bringing workers’ comp claims. 3. Were You Offered an Inadequate Settlement? You should hire a lawyer that handles workers’ compensation cases. It is important to remember that insurers want to settle work injury cases for the lowest dollar amount possible. Do not accept an unfair, low settlement offer. You should be granted a settlement that offers you the full available financial support for your medical care, long-term rehabilitative costs, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and any permanent disability or impairment. Your attorney will represent you during settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives. 4. Was Your Workers’ Comp Claim Denied? You should hire a workers’ comp attorney. Workers’ compensation claims are denied for a wide range of different reasons. Even though workers’ comp benefits are paid out on a no-fault basis, it can still be challenging for injured employees to get access to the full and fair financial benefits that they rightfully deserve. If your workers’ comp claim was denied in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, or anywhere else in the United States, do not give up without a fight. Get your workers’ comp denial letter into the hands of an experienced attorney immediately. They will help you take the next steps needed to move your case forward. 5. Did a Third Party Contribute to Your Injuries? You should hire a workers’ comp lawyer. Workers’ comp is an exclusive legal remedy. Generally speaking, injured workers cannot file a personal injury claim against their employer — even if their employer was negligent in causing their workplace accident. That being said, injured workers do retain the right to file personal injury lawsuits against negligent third parties. If any party other than your employer — another contractor, a property owner, a manufacturer, etc. — contributed to your accident, you should call an experienced work injury attorney for immediate assistance. Additional financial compensation may be available. You may be eligible to bring both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit. Contact Us At the Cottrell Law Office, our skilled workers’ comp lawyers are strong, committed advocates for injured workers. If you or your loved one was hurt on the job, we are prepared to help. To set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation, please contact our legal team or call (800) 364-8305 today to get started. With offices in Rogers, AR and Joplin, MO, we represent injured workers throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

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