If you were injured on the job, workers’ compensation insurance should pay for medical treatment and compensate you for a portion of your lost wages.
Unfortunately, many employees who get hurt on the job don’t get the benefits they’re entitled to.
One of the ways you could lose your benefits is by waiting too long to report an accident or to file your injury claim.
Knowing your rights and how long you have to file your claim can help protect your legal rights.
An experienced Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer can provide you with answers to these and other questions and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
If there are any complex issues or severe injuries in your case, the wisest decision is to consult with a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney.
What is the Workers’ Comp Claim Time Limit in Missouri?
After a work-related injury, you have two deadlines to consider.
Reporting a Work Injury to the Employer
First, you must report your injury to your employer in writing within 30 days of the accident. In some cases, you may not realize you’ve sustained an injury.
In that case, you should be allowed 30 days from the time you discovered your injury to report it to your employer. If you do not report your injury within this period, you could lose your right to compensation.
Your employer may have specific policies or procedures in place for making an injury report. Be sure to follow those guidelines exactly.
Otherwise, your employer could use any deviation as justification for denying your benefits.
Once you notify your employer of an injury, the employer must notify the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
The DWC should then send you written communication outlining your right to benefits.
Filing a Formal Workers’ Comp Claim
The second deadline you must consider is how long you have to file a workers’ comp insurance claim if your original claim was denied or if you aren’t getting your benefits for some reason.
You have two years from the date of the injury to file a Claim for Compensation with the DWC.
If you were receiving workers’ comp benefits but they were wrongfully terminated, you have two years from the date of your last payment to file your claim.
If your employer failed to report your injury to the DWC originally, you have three years from the date of injury or last benefit payment to file a claim.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Comp Insurance Provide?
In most cases, you should receive benefits that include:
- Reasonable and necessary medical treatment,
- Reimbursement for lost wages,
- Vocational rehabilitation, and
- Compensation for permanent injury or disability.
Workers who were injured on the job often report that they receive substandard or non-responsive medical treatment from the doctors they are required to see.
You have the right to ask for a different doctor but, in most cases, the insurance company will attempt to minimize the amount they have to spend on your treatment.
You will also not be reimbursed for the full amount of your lost income. Indemnity benefits (lost income supplement) do not begin until you have been out of work for seven days.
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on whether your case is classified as:
- Temporary total disability (TTD),
- Temporary partial disability (TPD),
- Permanent total disability (PTD), or
- Permanent partial disability (PPD).
The amount of potential benefits vary with each category listed. However, you won’t be compensated more than 2/3 or 66% of your average weekly earnings.
All categories are capped by law, at 105% of the average weekly wage in Missouri.
Can You Sue for a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Missouri?
Missouri law prohibits any employee who is covered by worker’s comp from suing his or her employer. This restriction applies even if you don’t get your rightful benefits.
If your employer was required to provide workers’ compensation insurance but failed to do so, you could have the right to pursue a legal claim.
In some cases, you could have the right to pursue legal action for a work-related injury.
For example, if a third party caused or contributed to your injuries, you may be entitled to recover damages from that party.
Your employer cannot discriminate against you for filing a workers’ comp claim nor can the employer unfairly deny your benefits.
Should either of those events occur, you might also have the right to pursue a claim.
The best way to understand your options for filing a claim or pursuing legal action is to talk with an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation attorney.
Should You Talk to a Missouri Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
The Missouri workers’ compensation laws and processes are complex and potentially confusing.
If you got hurt on the job, you need to focus on getting the treatment you need and recovering from your injuries.
Chasing after the benefits to which you are entitled will not allow you to focus on getting back on your feet.
Your attorney can answer all your questions, such as “How long do you have to file workers comp?” and “How much compensation should you receive while you’re unable to work?”
Your attorney can explain your options for filing a claim and handle all of the legal aspects of your case.
Finally, your Missouri workers’ comp lawyer can help you decide when it makes sense to settle your case.
You might get a settlement offer from the insurance company that does not cover your damages.
Accepting such a settlement could jeopardize your legal right to pursue any further damages.
Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Missouri Today
You don’t have to fight this battle alone. Talking to an attorney will help you make important decisions about your future.
The experienced attorneys at the Cottrell Law Office have more than 30 years of experience.
We are committed to protecting the rights of injured workers and helping them recover the compensation they deserve for their injuries and lost income.
If you have questions regarding workers’ compensation time limits and statutes, please contact a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer at the Cottrell Law Office today to learn more.
We also represent injured workers throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.