Work Injuries Lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri
Workers can be injured in many different ways. Some workplace injuries occur when a worker is lifting something; others may slip or fall at a dangerous work site. Others may work around dangerous equipment or may be injured while trying to assist others in the health care profession. If you have suffered from an injury of this nature an experienced work injury lawyer can help. Whatever the case may be, my firm has represented workers who have experienced all types of on the job injuries. My firm has represented injured employees since 1984 and I can put my experience to work for you! What are the procedures and considerations for filing a worker's compensation claim?
Missouri Workers Comp Law Requires That You Report Your Injury
You should report your injury immediately to your employer or supervisor. Failure to report your injury to your employer within 30 days may adversely affect your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. It is preferable, where possible, that you, notify your employer in writing. The Missouri Worker’s Compensation provides that written notice should contain the date, time and place of the injury, the nature of the injury and the name and address of the person injured. You should keep a copy of the written notice for yourself and along with the date you mailed your notice. If you hand-deliver your written notice, then keep a record of the date and time of the delivery. Also, keep a record of the name and title of the person you delivered it to. Your employer has a duty to promptly provide you with medical treatment. If the employer balks on providing treatment, then contact an experienced attorney immediately.
In addition, an employer or insurer who knowingly fails to report an injury to the Worker’s Compensation Division may be subject to criminal and civil penalties. It is also illegal for an employer to fire or discriminate against an employee for exercising his rights under the Worker’s Compensation law.
Am I An Employee Covered Under The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law?
Employers that have five or more employees must provide workers compensation insurance coverage for employees. Construction employers that “erect, demolish, alter, or repair improvements” are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for every employee. Railroad, postal and maritime workers are not covered by the Missouri Workers’ Compensation law. Instead, they are covered by federal law. There are also numerous specific exclusions in areas such as farming, real estate, officiating and engaging in direct sales. You should contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney if you are uncertain as to whether you are covered. Employers that do not have the required number of employees or who have employees in the exempt categories may nevertheless “elect” to come under the law by purchasing and accepting a valid workers’ compensation insurance policy or endorsement.
Injuries Covered Under The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law
Several years ago, significant changes were made under the workers compensation law. These changes made it significantly more difficult for employee to establish his case. Specifically, all injuries occurring after August 28, 2005, must meet the standard of the accident being “the prevailing factor” in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability and the injury must arise out of and in the course of employment. The prevailing factor is defined to be the primary factor, in relation to any other factor, causing both the resulting medical condition and disability. The same standard applies to both occupational disease cases and repetitive trauma cases occurring after August 28, 2005. These cases must meet the standard of the occupational exposure being “the prevailing factor” in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability.
Over the years I have seen virtually every type of injury. Some injuries are more common than others. I would like to provide some information that will be helpful to those sustaining some of the most common injuries.
The knee joint is where the thighbone (femur) and the shinbone (tibia) come together. A smaller bone called the fibula, on the outside of the lower leg, is also related to the knee joint. The kneecap (patella) is in front of the end of the thigh bone.
The bones are connected by several strong ligaments and cushioned by two pieces of cartilage called menisci (plural of meniscus).
Injured workers that I have seen over the years generally sustain meniscus tears in conjunction with twisting accidents. Many years ago, meniscus surgery would involve slicing open the knee after a painful arthrogram. In the late 1980s, arthroscopic surgery was introduced and has provided injured workers with much better results. Workers have generally lost less time from work and they have experienced less problems as a result of the arthroscopic techniques which were developed.
Generally, it worker will go through a number of weeks of physical therapy. It will normally be many months before settlement of a workers compensation case is discussed. It is important to make sure that the condition is stable and that no complications arise. I will normally send my clients to an experienced doctor for thorough workers compensation of valuation and the rating. This will provide me with the ammunition that I need to begin negotiations.