When faced with a workplace injury, knowing what to do can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, workers’ compensation exists to protect you when you need it most.
Last month, we discussed the basics of workers’ compensation. If you are unfamiliar with the basics of workers’ comp, this post is an excellent place to start. This month, we’re talking about how workers’ comp actually works, specifically within the state of Missouri.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work for Employers in Missouri?
You might be wondering where the funding for your benefits comes from. Does your employer have to pay out of pocket? Each state has laws in place that protect both businesses and their employees. Here is how workers’ compensation works for employers in the state of Missouri:
- Workers’ compensation insurance is required by law. Businesses with five or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in the state of Missouri. However, businesses in the construction industry are required to carry workers’ comp insurance if there are one or more employees. Some businesses are covered by federal workers’ comp laws, and others are exempt.
- LLCs & Corporations. Members of a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) and officers of a corporation are included in the employee count.
- Sole Proprietors & Partnerships. Sole proprietors and members of a partnership are not included in the employee count. They can elect to be covered with their insurer if they wish.
- Do exempt businesses have to pay out of pocket if a claim is filed against them? Not necessarily. Exempt businesses and employers of exempt employees have the option to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If they choose not to carry this insurance, then they are at risk of a civil lawsuit if an employee is injured on the job.
What Happens After I File a Claim?
After you report your injury by filing your workers’ compensation claim and notifying your employer, seeking medical treatment, and contacting a workers’ compensation attorney there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. A good workers’ compensation attorney will guide you through the complicated process of workers’ compensation and help you receive maximum benefits.
Your employer and their workers’ compensation insurer will file a Form WC-22. The Form WC-22 is the Answer to the Claim for compensation. Typically, the Answer is prepared by the lawyer that represents your employer and your employer’s insurer. They have 30 days to file the Answer after the Division of Workers’ Compensation acknowledges receipt of your claim.
The Answer is very important to your case because this is the document where the employer either admits or denies the statements you made in your claim.
What Happens if My Employer Denies My Claim?
If your employer denies your claim in the Answer, this does not mean that your claim was denied by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
While a denial makes the process more complicated, it does not destroy your chances of receiving benefits. If your claim is denied by your employer you need to contact your workers’ compensation attorney and schedule a consultation. You do not want to dispute a denial alone. Nearly 70% of workers’ whose claims are denied accept the denial without a fight and return to work despite their injury, or rack up expensive medical bills, miss work and lose income. Don’t be a part of the 70%
When Will I Receive My Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You should find out whether or not your workers’ comp claim was accepted or denied within a few weeks of filing your claim, in the form of a written notice. Benefits through workers’ compensation include medical care, lost wages and survivor benefits. When you begin receiving your benefits depends on the type of benefits that you are entitled to.
- Medical Benefits: You can expect to start receiving medical benefits immediately after you file your claim. If you have been injured on the job, do not wait to seek medical help. Get treatment and/or medical care immediately. Make sure to communicate with your doctor and let them know that you have filed or will be filing a workers’ compensation claim. They will keep a detailed record of your visit. Keep any bills you receive as a result of your medical care.
- Non-Medical Benefits: Non-medical benefits do not begin until your claim has been accepted. You will begin receiving benefits as soon as you prove that you are entitled to said benefits.
Do not navigate the ins and outs of workers’ compensation alone. If you have been hurt at work or are suffering a work-related illness, contact The Alberhasky Law firm to set up a free consultation and get the benefits you deserve.
About the Author
When it comes to workers’ compensation cases, Randy Alberhasky has over 25 years of experience. During his legal career he has personally tried over 200 workers’ compensation hearings and jury trials in courts throughout the State of Missouri. Many people who have suffered from a workplace injury and illness are unaware of the legal action they can take to receive the financial compensation that they’re entitled to. The Alberhasky Law Firm, P.C. is proud to help our clients receive the compensation they deserve.