Work-related injuries can often be life-altering or even deadly events, especially if you work in an inherently dangerous industry. If you have been injured on the job, understanding your rights and knowing what steps you can take to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses is vital. Fortunately, workers' compensation laws provide a framework for workers to receive the benefits they are entitled to when accidents happen. Depending on the circumstances, additional legal avenues for obtaining compensation may also be available. It is in your best interest to discuss your case with a seasoned legal professional as soon as you are hurt or become aware of a work-related injury.
At SWMW Law, we are ready to provide the dedicated, compassionate advocacy you deserve – because people matter. No matter the nature or complexity of your situation, our St. Louis work injury lawyers are well-equipped to help you explore all available legal options, including filing a workers’ compensation claim or pursuing a third-party personal injury lawsuit. We understand how to successfully navigate these matters and will put our extensive experience to work for you. You will have the complete support from our team from start to finish, and we will do everything in our power to facilitate the optimal outcome you deserve. With over $750 million secured for our clients to date, you can rest assured your case will be in good hands.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Missouri?
Workers' compensation insurance is a mechanism that provides financial benefits to employees who are injured or become ill due to work-related conditions or events. Investing in a policy is often not optional: In Missouri, most employers with five or more employees must obtain coverage or become authorized to self-insure their employees. Additionally, all employers in the construction industry must have a workers’ compensation insurance policy, no matter how many people they employ.
Only employees are covered by their employers’ workers’ compensation policy. Independent contractors are not covered, but it is important to understand that some employers will intentionally misclassify people who function as employees as independent contractors. Your responsibilities and the nature of your job determine whether you are an employee versus an independent contractor, not the decision of your employer, so you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you have been misclassified. If you have concerns about misclassification, our St. Louis work injury attorneys can look into your situation and help you make the distinction.
To be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, your injury must be “work-related,” meaning it must “arise out of and in the course of your employment.” If you were hurt at work or while you were on the clock, chances are your injury will be considered work-related.
Both work-related injuries arising from single-instance accidents and occupational illnesses are covered by workers’ compensation. This means that you can pursue a workers’ compensation claim if you develop an illness because of your job, which could happen if you work around asbestos or other toxic substances.
Fault also does not matter when pursuing workers’ compensation. You are still potentially eligible for benefits even if your employer did not act negligently or if you were partially responsible for an injury-causing accident. The main exceptions to this rule involve intoxication and intentional acts: You may be denied benefits if your intoxication led to an accident or if you were intentionally trying to hurt yourself or someone else.
Still not sure whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation? Our team at SWMW Law is happy to listen to your story, answer your questions, and review your legal options.
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In many cases, workers’ compensation is the only remedy available to employees who are injured at work. This means that you cannot necessarily file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer for work-related injuries, even if you have evidence your employer was negligent. Remember, though, that you do not have to prove fault or negligence when seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
There are some scenarios where you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party who is responsible for your work-related injuries. A third party refers to anyone other than your employer. For example, if you were injured in a car accident while on the clock, you may be able to both seek workers’ compensation benefits and file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Other legal options may be available if you developed mesothelioma or lung cancer as a direct result of asbestos exposure at work, especially if your employer knew about the presence of asbestos and failed to disclose its hazards. We handle these types of cases nationwide and encourage you to reach out if this describes your situation.
To protect your right to benefits, you must promptly report your work injury or illness to your employer. Under Missouri law, you have 30 days from the date you were injured or the date you knew (or should have known) about the possible connection between your job and your illness to report it. As a general rule, you should submit a written report to your employer and request medical care as soon as you can after an accident or when you begin to suspect an illness may be work-related. Then, get in touch with our St. Louis worker injury lawyers, who can help you prepare your claim and seek maximum benefits.
In Missouri, injured workers are eligible for a range of benefits, including payments for medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and a portion of lost wages. If your doctor has certified you as permanently disabled and unable to return to work, you may be eligible for total disability benefits. You may also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation services that can help you transition back into the workforce. If your loved one passed away due to a work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible for death benefits depending on the circumstances of the event.
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