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2726 S. Brentwood Blvd. St. Louis MO 63144

Missouri Workers Comp Law

The below is a review of issues and questions that our St. Louis Workers Comp lawyers commonly receive relating to the Missouri Workers Compensation system. There is a lack of substantive information on Missouri Worker Comp law available to St. Louis Workers. The below is designed to summarize and explain some of the legal questions that we commonly explain to injured workers who we meet with in initial consultations. To review a legal question regarding the Missouri Workers Comp system, please feel free to contact us directly at (314)645-4100 or via email at kevin@dolleylaw.com.

Medical Treatment For St. Louis Work Injuries

Under Missouri law, your employer has the right to select the doctor who will treat your work-related injury or occupational disease, as long as that treatment is reasonable and appropriate to treat your medical condition. Our firm has helped employees who have not been treated properly in receiving appropriate medical treatment. We have fought insurance companies for further medical care for St. Louis workers and needed surgical treatment as clearly necessary.

Temporary Total Disability

Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are generally 66.6% of the injured worker's average weekly rate (based on gross wages), subject to a statutorily established maximum. These benefits are commonly provided to injured workers who are hurt and out of work while recovering. Another time when these benefits are provided is when a St. Louis worker is out of work for a work-related surgical procedure.

Permanent Partial Disability

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits are generally 66.6% of the injured worker's average weekly rate (based on gross wages), subject to a statutorily established maximum. Injured workers commonly receive a lump-sum payment based on the nature and extent of the disability. PPD means that the worker's injury affects the ability to do certain tasks or limitations as the result of the injury. However, generally the worker is still able to work in some capacity even if not in the same job at the time of the injury.

Permanent Total Disability

Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits are generally 66.6% of the injured worker's average weekly rate (based on gross wages), subject to a statutorily established maximum (this maximum amount is much higher than that for PPD). PTD are available to injured workers who are declared 'totally disabled' and may receive weekly benefits for a lifetime or may receive a lump-sum settlement.

These benefits are provided to workers who are no longer able to compete on the open labor market for work as a result of a work injury. If the last work-related injury alone causes PTD, the worker may be entitled to weekly payments for life from the employer and its insurer, or the worker may settle for a lump-sum payment. If PTD results from a combination of the last work-related injury and prior disabilities the employer and its insurer may only be responsible for permanent partial disability and the worker will have a 'claim for compensation against the Second Injury Fund for PTD payments.

Missouri Occupational Disease Law

Occupational diseases are chronic ailments that occur as a result of the conditions of your employment rather than from any single accident or injury. In order to to receive benefits under the workers' compensation law, you must prove that the work conditions or work environment was the prevailing factor in causing the medical condition and the disability caused by the occupational disease.

Common Occupational Diseases

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Lead Poisoning
  • Asbestosis
  • Black lung (caolworker's pneumoconiosis)
  • Byssinosis (cotton textile workers)
  • Welder's Disease
  • Occupational Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Skin Cancer

Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

Vocational rehabilitation services and clinics are designed to help you return to work following a severe injury. Additionally, you may be eligible for other benefits from the Missouri State Division of Rehabilitation if you are unable to return to your former work and you need assistance finding another line of employment.

Prior to receiving these benefits, an initial vocational and rehabilitation assessment must be conducted with the injured worker, the employer and all treating physicians. The assessment will consider the following items as they relate to the injured worker:

  • Medical Records
  • Background Information
  • Educational Background
  • Work History
  • Past and Current Injuries
  • Functional Limitations
  • Current Daily Activities
  • Vocational Test Results
  • Conclusions related to your ability to work
  • Determination if vocation rehabilitation services are require

Scarring and Disfigurement

Missouri permits limited recovery for scarring or disfigurement to the head, neck, arms or hands. The amount of disability payment is based upon the size and length of the scarring or disfigurement.

Will I Be Paid for My Trips to the Doctor?

Missouri permits you to recover expenses incurred in driving to obtain medical treatment. However, you may only recover if you are required to be treated outside of the local or metropolitan area from the place of your injury or the place of your residence. Your recovery is limited to a 500-mile round trip limit.

The Missouri Second Injury Fund

Missouri's Second Injury Fund (SIF) is the program responsible for billing and collecting payments from employers' insurance carriers. These payments and benefits correspond to awards and settlements approved by judges in the administrative law process.

SIF benefits are available to an injured worker when a current work-related injury combines with a prior injury or disability to create a combined, increased disability. For example, if an injured employee suffers from a prior 20 percent disability, and the combination of the prior disability with the current disability is 40 percent, the SIF covers the increased disability benefits. Further, SIF also provides survivor benefits to the family of an employee killed at work when the employer was uninsured at the time of death.

Death and Burial Benefits

When the death of an employee is the result of a work-related injury or illness, survivor benefits are available to the surviving spouse and/or dependents. Weekly compensation is paid by the employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier or by the employer itself if it is self-insured. In order to process claims for survivor benefits the insurance carrier or self-insured employer may request copies of death certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates, divorce decrees and other certifying documents.

Survivor benefits are available to the deceased employee's dependents, including his or her spouse at the time of death and any minor children. Benefits are also available to the deceased employee's children that have reached adulthood who are physically or mentally handicapped. Further, in certain circumstances, dependents may include other members of the deceased employee's family such as step-children, brothers, sisters and other lineal descendants.

Line of Duty Compensation Act

A $25,000 death benefit is available to the estate of an individual worker killed in the line of duty of public service. For example, law enforcement officers, firefighters, volunteer firefighters, air ambulance pilots, air ambulance registered professional nurses, and emergency medical technicians are covered workers under the Line of Duty Compensation Act. Importantly, to claim this benefit the estate of the deceased must file a claim for compensation with the Division of Labor within one year from the date of death.

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The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley represents clients in labor law, employment law and employment discrimination matters throughout the State of Missouri, including St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Boone County, Jefferson County, Lincoln County, Jackson County, Phelps County, Franklin County, Ste. Genevieve, St. Clair and the Cities of St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Charles, O'Fallon, Lake St. Louis, Hillsboro, Troy, Clayton, Rolla, Columbia, Jefferson City, Kirksville, Farmington, Cuba, Augusta, Union, Maryland Heights, Cape Girardeau and Springfield.

Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley, LLC - Missouri Employment Lawyer
Located at 2726 South Brentwood Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63144. View Map
Phone: (314) 684-8180 | Local Phone: (314) 645-4100.
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