While personal injury lawsuits allow victims to receive compensation for pain and suffering, the same is not true in workers comp cases. In Missouri, as in most other states, workers comp benefits only cover medical and disability claims, but not claims for pain and suffering. If you suffered a work-related injury or illness that has resulted in pain and suffering, let our Rogers workers comp attorney explain your options.
The Limitations of Workers Comp Benefits for Medical Benefits
Under Missouri workers comp laws, injured workers are entitled to receive medical treatment and, depending on their condition, partial or permanent disability benefits. Workers are required to seek treatment from a health care provider who is chosen by either the employer or its workers comp insurance carrier. Workers may also be entitled to wage loss benefits that are limited to two-thirds of the worker’s weekly wages as long as that amount does not exceed the maximum benefit allowed under Missouri law.
The Limitations of Workers Comp Benefits for Disability Benefits
If a worker is unable to return to work after suffering a work-related injury or illness, even after receiving treatment, the worker may qualify for partial or permanent disability benefits. Disability ratings are based on the information provided by that health care provider. In Missouri, there is an injury chart that sets out the level of benefits depending on the type of injury and which body part is affected. Body parts are assigned values from which the amount of benefits is determined. If you have questions about the benefits you receive, let our Rogers workers comp attorney discuss them with you.
The Differences Between Personal Injury and Workers Comp Claims
People who are injured while performing the duties of their job are typically entitled to workers compensation benefits. In order to recover benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses, workers are not required to file a lawsuit or go to trial. That also means there is no need to prove that anyone was at fault for causing the injury or illness.
A claim for personal injury, on the other hand, must typically be brought in court by filing a lawsuit hand ultimately having a jury trial where fault is determined. Unless you can settle your claims ahead of time, going to court will be necessary in order to recover for your injuries. A personal injury claim required proving that the defendant was negligent in causing your injuries.
What is the Purpose of Filing a Workers Comp Claim?
The purpose of a workers comp claim is to ensure that employees who become injured on the job can be reimbursed for those injuries, without having to resort to the courts. The way the system works is that the injured employee receives compensation for the work-related injuries and agrees not to file a legal action against the employer. The employee is not required to prove negligence or liability in order to be compensated for his injuries; making it essentially a no-fault system.
Workers Comp is the Exclusive Remedy Available
Before this system was put in place, an employee’s only remedy was to file a lawsuit, which required proof of damages. Now, nearly all employees are automatically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Likewise, the employer is automatically protected from lawsuits based on the employee’s injury. Basically, worker’s compensation benefits are meant to be a substitute for filing a lawsuit against the employer. In other words, if you accept workers’ compensation benefits, you waive your right to file a lawsuit.
When Should I Settle My Workers Comp Claim?
In some cases, an employer will offer to settle a workers’ comp claim for an amount that does not actually cover your lost wages and your medical bills. If you are concerned that the settlement offer your employer made is not sufficient, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney. It is not always good to simply allow the workers’ comp judge to determine whether the settlement is fair because they typically approve the agreement as long as it isn’t unfair.
If you have questions regarding workers compensation claims or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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