Accidents at work can have serious consequences. Afterwards, employees may incur high medical bills and they may not be able to return to work right away to pay for them. It is for this reason that so many injured workers file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits that can help them recoup their medical costs and a portion of their lost income.
Injured employees have many questions when they file these claims, but one of the most common is how much their claim is worth. Below, our workers’ compensation lawyer at JSK in Missouri outlines the rates for 2022. Contact us to work with your case.
Categories of Partial Disability Compensation Benefits
The benefit rate that you can receive for your injury will depend on what type of injury you have sustained. As such, to determine the rate you can receive, you have to understand the different classifications under workers’ compensation law in Missouri. The classifications of disability compensation benefits are as follows:
- Temporary total disability (TTD): You cannot receive temporary total disability benefits for the first three days after an injury, unless you are impacted by your injury for at least 14 days. TTD benefits are meant to compensate you for any time a doctor states you cannot work. As soon as your doctor clears you to return to work, these benefits will stop.
- Permanent disability: You may reach a point during your recovery that is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is when a doctor feels they have done everything they could to treat your injuries. With a long-term illness, they then consider you to have a disability. A doctor may deem your disability to be ‘total,’ meaning you cannot return to work again. Or, they may classify your disability as ‘partial,’ meaning you can work in a limited or restricted manner, or you have some residual effects from the injury.
- Scheduled injuries: If you have suffered an injury to an extremity, such as your hand, arm, leg, or fingers, it is considered a scheduled injury. Scheduled injuries are assigned a certain number of weeks pertaining to that area of the body. For example, benefits for losing an arm at the shoulder are payable for up to 232 weeks, while benefits for loss of hearing in both ears are payable for up to 168 weeks.
- Permanent partial general disability (PPD): If you sustain an injury that is considered a partial permanent disability, but it is not a scheduled body part, you can file a claim for PPD benefits for the body as a whole which has a maximum value of 400 weeks for PPD. The benefits received are based on how much of a disability you experience after recovery.
Missouri Workers’ Compensation Rates in 2022
Workers’ compensation law uses a state average weekly wage (SAWW) when determining the maximum workers’ compensation benefits workers can receive. For the fiscal year July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, the SAWW is $1,030.69. According to the SAWW, the maximum weekly benefit rates for workplace injuries and occupational illnesses that occurred after July 1, 2021 are as follows:
- Temporary total disability: $1,082.22
- Permanent total disability: $1,082.22
- Permanent partial disability: $566.88
- Death: $1,082.22
The actual weekly wage rate required to attain the maximum benefit rate is $1,623.34 for temporary total disability, permanent total disability, and death. The weekly wage rate required to attain the maximum benefit rate for permanent partial disability is $850.32. After July 1, 2021, the mileage allowance for travel expenses is 53 cents on the mile.
2 Elements of Protecting Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
After a workplace injury, you may encounter an employer and an insurance company who do not want to pay the full benefits you are entitled to. This is extremely frustrating, but there are things you can do. The most important two things to do that will protect your workers’ compensation claim are as follows:
- Inform your employer of the injury: Under workers’ compensation law, you only have a certain amount of time to tell your employer about the injury. If you do not notify your employer within 30 days, it could place your claim in jeopardy as the insurer may deny the benefits you need. You should always provide this notice in writing and include how the accident occurred, the injuries you sustained, and the names of the supervisors you reported the injury to at the time it happened.
- Seek medical treatment: Your employer is required to provide you with any medical treatment you need for your workplace injury. However, your employer must also approve any physician that provides you with treatment. If they do not, you may not be eligible to receive benefits for any treatments for an unauthorized physician.
When Do You Need a Missouri Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Employers do not always report workplace accidents to their insurance company because they do not want their premiums to increase. Likewise, insurance companies do not always pay out the benefits injured workers need. It is always advised that you seek the sound legal advice of a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer with JSK any time you are hurt on the job. There are times when this becomes even more important, and they are as follows:
- There is a dispute about your claim: If your employer or insurance makes invalid claims and refuses to pay you the compensation you deserve, you can turn to a lawyer with JSK. There are many reasons employers and insurance companies deny claims and, many times, it is a tactic meant to protect someone else’s profits. A lawyer will hold either party accountable for making sure you receive the total benefits you need.
- You do not trust your doctor: If you do not believe you are receiving the medical treatment you need, it is important to speak to a lawyer who can make sure you get the appropriate medical help.
- There are complex factors in your claim: Workers’ compensation claims can become complicated for many reasons. Your employer may not carry the required amount of workers’ compensation insurance, you may have a pre-existing condition, or there may be a third party involved in the claim. Complicated factors should not affect your benefits when you reach out to a lawyer with JSK.
- Your symptoms are gradual: Not all injuries are apparent right away, as some have symptoms that show over time. This can present many problems when filing a claim, particularly if you did not report the injury right away and the time limit to do so has now expired. A lawyer at JSK can make sure you receive the benefits you are entitled to and that will cover your previous losses and expenses, and any you will incur in the future.
- Your employer is retaliating against you: It is against the law in Missouri for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. For example, your employer cannot threaten to file you if you pursue a claim. If you have been the victim of retaliation, it is important to speak to a lawyer at JSK who can hold your employer accountable for their actions.
The above are just a few instances in which you should speak to a lawyer with us at JSK before filing a workers’ compensation claim. Any time there are complex factors in your case or the process becomes delayed, it is important to let us know right away.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Missouri is Dedicated to Helping Injured Individuals
If you have been hurt at work, you may be eligible for full workers’ compensation benefits, but they are not always easy to obtain. At the Law Office of Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, our Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer can determine the value of your case, and help you obtain the best rate under the law. Call us now at (618) 726-2222 or fill out our online form so we can review your case for free.