Missouri Workers Compensation benefits are intended to provide health care benefits to employees who are injured on the job, without having to resort to the courts. Typically, if you suffer a personal injury because of your work on a job, you would sue your employer for compensation. However, if you are entitled to Workers Compensation benefits, you can be compensated for your injury or illness without having to go to court. This article will discuss some of the most recent statistics relating to Workers Compensation accident claims.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Occupational Safety and Health Act, enacted in1970, established regulations that require most private industry employers to maintain records and create reports on work-related injuries and illnesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is responsible for developing a framework for collecting and reporting comprehensive statistical data on work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the private industry.

Statistics on Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in Missouri

Data on nonfatal occupational injury and illness are collected randomly from approximately 5,700 Missouri employers every year. In 2016, there were a total of 52,700 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in Missouri. Of those claims, 26,900 were more serious cases requiring work absences, job transfers, or workplace restrictions. That is an incidence rate of 2.8 percent, which was a statistically significant decrease from 2015 when the rate was 3.0.
Workplace illnesses accounted for 2,700 (5.1 percent) of the total cases of injuries and illnesses in Missouri private industry in 2016. This number was statistically significantly less than the number of illnesses in 2015. The incidence rate of workplace illnesses was 14.3 percent in 2016, which was again a statistically significant decrease from the 2015 rate of 17.8.

Lost Work-time Cases

The most serious nonfatal workplace injury and illness claims include lost time at work for the injured or ill employee. Per the data, there were 12,450 lost work time cases in Missouri in 2016. The incidence rate for these types of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses was 65.1 for private industry. Also according to the 2016 surveys, 3,750 workers in private goods-producing industries had lost work time due to nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses.

Nature of workplace injuries

Four characteristics typically used to describe the incident or accident that caused an occupational injury or illness are the nature or physical characteristics of the injury or illness, the part of the body affected, the source of the injury or illness, and the incident or exposure. Sprains, strains, and tears make up 39.6 percent of the nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that resulted in days away from work in 2016 in private industry.  Bruises and contusions accounted for 11.5 percent. The part of the body affected in 34.1 percent of all nonfatal in 2016 was upper extremities.  However, lower extremities accounted for 26.9 percent.

Payment for Lost Wages under the Missouri Worker Compensation

In cases where you are absent from work because of a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to receive cash benefits, often referred to as indemnity benefits. However, the waiting period for these benefits is seven calendar days and will only be awarded at the direction of your approved doctor. Payments for lost wages are meant to help you through the period you are disabled from your workplace injury or illness. Your coverage will begin on the eighth day of partial or total disability and you will be compensated for the first seven days only if you are disabled for more than fourteen days.

Types of Medical Benefits you can receive

Workers’ Compensation insurance will generally pay for all reasonably necessary medical care related to your on-the-job injury or illness.  This includes visits to an approved health care provider, necessary surgeries, hospital care, physical therapy, prescription drugs, braces, and crutches or other medical supplies, if they are ordered by your approved physician.
You are not responsible for the medical bills if the workers’ compensation carrier has approved the health care provider from whom you receive treatment. Therefore, before being treated make sure you have that approval. Otherwise, if you see a doctor without the carrier’s approval, you may be legally responsible for the expenses you incur. If your treatment is approved, the doctor will either bill the insurance carrier directly or you can send the bill to your employer or the carrier.
If you have questions regarding Missouri Workers Compensation matters in, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.