Workplace injuries can happen in any job, from construction sites and warehouses to office buildings and restaurants. If you’ve been injured on the job, you may be facing extensive medical bills, lost earnings and even vocational rehabilitation to learn new job skills.
Workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance program that entitles you to certain benefits regardless of whether you or your employer caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. If you have been injured on the job, please contact Brown & Brown, LLP at 314-333-3333 or 573-333-3333 in Missouri or 618-888-8888 in Illinois today to discuss your case for free. With two offices, we proudly serve the St. Louis area of Missouri and Fairview Heights, Illinois. If you can’t come to us, we’ll happily come to you.
Your physical and financial well-being are our top priorities. To help you learn more about workers’ compensation and the situation you are facing, we have provided the following valuable information on this page:
- What is workers’ compensation?
- Common injuries in a workers comp claim
- Workers compensation benefits
- Missouri workers compensation laws
- Illinois worker comp law
- How workers' compensation lawyers can help you
- Protection from retaliation
- Common mistakes in work comp claims
- Contact Brown & Brown, LLP for a free consultation
Workers' compensation is a set of laws designed to ensure you are compensated if you are injured on the job. Fault is not considered in workers; comp cases; if you were hurt while on the job premises then you can receive compensation even if the injury was your fault.
While worker’s compensation laws are meant to help you recover a portion of your losses, they do not necessarily aim to make you completely whole. Brown & Brown is committed to ensuring you get the compensation you need to fully recover. Sometimes that means pursuing damages from third parties that may have contributed to your injury, such as manufacturers of defective equipment. We will thoroughly examine every detail of your case to ensure you get the justice you deserve.
Every workplace poses some risk of injury. While some workplace accidents can result in nothing more than scrapes and bruises, others can be truly life-altering. Some of the most common types of serious injuries sustained in workplace accidents include:
A severe personal injury can result in a diminished quality of life. Many times, serious injuries prohibit workers from ever performing the tasks required by their jobs again. In addition to pain and suffering, permanent disabilities lead to lost income, insurance issues and overwhelming medical costs. Our workers compensation attorneys are passionate about helping accident victims obtain the full and fair compensation to which they are entitled.
If you have been hurt on the job, workers compensation insurance offers a variety of benefits to which you may be entitled, such as:
- Payment of medical expenses: Following your workplace injury, you may be faced with medical bills for emergency room care, surgery or ongoing rehabilitative therapy. Workers comp benefits can cover these costs.
- Weekly paychecks: If your injury results in time away from work, you are entitled to weekly paychecks that are two-thirds of your regular pay. These paychecks are tax-free.
- Lump sum payments: You have the right to receive a lump sum payment if your workplace injury has caused a disability. The amount of these lump sum payments varies for each individual, based on the degree of the disability and doctors’ evaluations.
- Permanent disability payment: If your injury has caused a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to your job, you may receive two-thirds of your wages, tax-free, for the rest of your life.
- Death benefits: If you lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, you may be entitled to death benefits. These can include ongoing paychecks and the payment of burial expenses.
How much does workers compensation pay?
Workers’ compensation covers up to 2/3 of your weekly wages along with all related medical expenses until you have reached maximum medical improvement. Travel to and from the doctor and rehabilitation appointments are also covered by workers’ compensation.
In Missouri, the workers' compensation program is administered by the Missouri Industrial Commission. In the Missouri system, judges throughout the state are utilized to resolve disputes between employees and employers in claims involving workplace injuries and illnesses.
The workers’ comp process in Missouri includes the following steps:
- Report the injury to your employer: With rare exceptions, you have only 30 days to report your injury to your employer under Missouri law. At that time, your employer is allowed to choose the doctor who will treat you. You do have the right to see your own doctor, but you must do that at your own expense.
- File a claim: In most cases, you must file a formal worker’s compensation claim within two years of your injury or illness.
- Case examination: When handling your claim, Brown & Brown, LLP will closely examine every aspect of your case, including your complete medical records, expert opinions, witness statements and comprehensive legal research into pertinent statutes, regulations and case law.
- Pre-hearing, mediation and hearing: A variety of proceedings occur during the duration of your claim. The pre-hearing is used to update the status of your claim’s investigation or the progress of your treatment. Judges become involved in the process during mediation. Your hearing is the formal process in which the involved parties introduce evidence and support their cases.
- Appeal: Either side in the worker’s comp process can appeal a ruling by the Missouri Industrial Commission’s judges.
The steps in the worker’s compensation claim can be incredibly complicated. Our experienced lawyers can help you successfully navigate the process and obtain the full compensation to which you are entitled.
How long do I have to file a workers compensation claim in Missouri?
You only have two years from the date of your workplace accident to file a workers’ compensation claim in Missouri. It is best to file as soon as possible, however, as waiting can result in unforeseen complications and delays.
The Illinois Industrial Commission manages the worker’s compensation program in Illinois. Unlike in Missouri, arbitrators are utilized to resolve employer-employee disputes instead of state judges.
Once you have been injured on the job, contact our attorneys right away. We will help you through each step of the process, which includes:
- Notify your employer of your injury: While there are exceptions, you generally only have 30 days to notify your employer of your work-related injury or illness. Illinois law allows this notification to be made in writing or verbally. To prevent your employer from denying that notice was ever given, it’s best to report your injury in writing, preferably by certified mail. Under Illinois law, you can see a doctor of your choice.
- File your claim: Illinois law requires you to file a workers’ comp claim within two years of your injury, with some exceptions. Under certain circumstances, a claim can be made within three or more years. If you are concerned that you may have missed the deadline to file your claim, contact our firm immediately.
- Workers’ compensation hearing: Workmans’ comp hearings in Illinois are relatively informal events conducted by an arbitrator. However, insurers and employers always have an attorney present at these hearings and the rules of evidence apply. While it is not required, it is in your best interest to have an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer at your side to level the playing field and protect your best interests.
- Appeal: Illinois law allows 30 days to appeal the arbitrator’s decision to the Illinois Industrial Commission if your workers comp benefits are denied or insufficient.
How long do I have to file a workers compensation claim in Illinois?
You have three years from the date of your workplace accident to file a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois. Again, it is best to file for benefits as soon as possible.
After being injured on the job, some people decide to pursue their workers’ comp benefits on their own. By choosing our workers comp lawyers, we can help you with every aspect of this complicated process, including:
- Explaining the full breadth of the benefits to which you are entitled
- Filing your benefit package on time and error-free
- Ensuring you receive the maximum compensation for lost wages
- Pursuing benefits for permanent disability
- Appealing denied claims
As your experienced advocate, we will complete the entire process on your behalf without letting anything slip through the cracks.
Unfortunately, many people who have been hurt on the job are reluctant to file a worker’s comp claim because they fear some form of retaliation from their employer. Any type of retaliation or discrimination from your employer that stems from your workman’s comp claim is illegal.
You are protected from actions such as:
- Reduction of adequate hours
- Unfavorable treatment
- Termination of employment
If you are afraid to make a claim against your employer, or if your employer has retaliated against you, call our attorneys right away for a free consultation and explanation of your rights.
Can you get fired while on workers comp?
You cannot be fired for being on workers’ comp. Your job can, however, be terminated while you are on workers’ comp or when you have an open claim. Injured workers’ have several rights they can exercise when facing termination while on workers’ comp. Having a skilled and attentive employment lawyer on your side is one of the best ways to make sure your rights are protected during and after your recovery.
When you choose to navigate the workers' compensation process without the help of a qualified attorney, you risk making errors that can jeopardize your ability to obtain the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled. Some of these common mistakes include:
- Misrepresenting your injury in any way
- Making simple, careless mistakes on your workers comp incident report
- Not seeking proper medical treatment
- Missing crucial deadlines
Our attorneys understand the workers' compensation law and know how to maximize your benefits. Don’t risk your physical and financial future by facing an insurer and legal team on your own. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys today.
Consulting our skilled lawyers immediately following your work-related injury or development of illness can drastically improve your chances of receiving the compensation you need and deserve. We proudly serve workers throughout the St. Louis area of Missouri and Fairview Heights area of Illinois.