If you’ve been seriously hurt on the job, then you really owe it to yourself to keep reading. In both Missouri and Illinois, the law is designed to protect injured workers and their families. The dedicated and highly skilled attorneys of Jerome, Salmi & Kopis have decades of experience helping people in the same tough spot. Often, people make the mistake of thinking liability or “employer negligence” is required in order to recover money for work injuries. However, the truth is, you do not have to prove your employer is negligent in order to recover compensation. If you’ve been injured at work, call Jerome, Salmi & Kopis to speak with an Illinois or Missouri workers compensation attorney today.
Workers Compensation vs Employers Liability
Workers’ compensation is a statutory creation, meaning the right to bring an action for compensation was created by state lawmakers. In order to protect employers against being sued and to give injured workers the certainty of compensation, this system was created many years ago. When you are injured outside of work and someone else is responsible, you may need to prove that they were careless or negligent in some way if you wish to be compensated. You may also have to take them to court in order to force them to pay.
However, with work comp, it’s entirely different. You only need to show that each of the following elements exist:
- You were on the job at the time
- You meet the definition of an employee (it’s broader than you might think)
- You suffered an injury requiring medical treatment
How is Workers’ Compensation Assessed?
Depending on which state your claim is filed in, your benefits may vary. However, as a general rule, each state uses a workers compensation fee schedule. This fee schedule is used much like a calculator to determine your benefits, based on the area of your body affected by the injury, the degree of disability or impairment caused by that injury, and the length of time you will need to be paid while off work. Likewise, workers’ compensation pays for your medical care, as well as partial pay for time that you are unable to work. In serious cases, you may even be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. This applies in situations where you can not return to your prior line of work.
What if an Employee is Fired for Filing a Claim?
Workers compensation retaliation is a big deal. First, it’s illegal. Second, it can create a separate legal right to compensation. Many times, an employer, through their insurance company, will reach an agreement with an injured worker, whereby the worker will agree to resign in exchange for settlement of a claim. This is not necessarily unlawful. There may be times when this is advisable, such as when the relationship between employer and employee is terribly broken. However, other times it may be unnecessary, and the relationship is just fine. Remember, you are not “suing” your employer. It is merely an insurance claim, similar to letting your health insurance pay for a hospital visit.
While no lawyer can guarantee that your employer will obey the law or behave appropriately, at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, we maintain strong relationships with other attorneys who focus on wrongful termination cases, and we are committed to helping our clients make sound decisions throughout their work comp claim. If your employer retaliates against you by unlawfully terminating your employment, we are prepared to fight back accordingly.
If you’ve been injured on the job in either Missouri or Illinois, let our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys help you and your family recover faster and get the funds you deserve. Call Jerome, Salmi & Kopis today.