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Workers' Compensation Attorney in Kansas City, MO

How does the workers' compensation claims process work?

In the state of Missouri, every employer who oversees five or more employees is legally required to provide workers' compensation insurance. This means that your medical treatment and a percentage of your lost earnings should be covered after a work-related accident. In order to ensure that you have access to these benefits, however, it is crucial that you adhere to a strict set of regulations. It is for this reason that the Kansas City workers' compensation lawyers at Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott encourage you to review, and follow, the four simple steps below if you were injured on the job.

#1: Report the Injury to Your Employer Immediately

  • Once you have been involved in a workplace accident, you would only have 30 days to report your injuries to your employer. This formal notification must include the date, time and place of the accident, the nature of your injuries and your name and address. Whether you decide to mail your notice or hand-deliver it, it is important to keep a record of the date and time that it was delivered—as your claim could be jeopardized if your employer claims that they did not receive the written report within 30 days of the accident.

#2: Seek Medical Treatment from a Pre-Approved Physician

  • Whether you have been injured on the job or you are suffering from an occupational illness, your employer is legally required to cover the cost of your medical treatment—which also includes any medications and/or medical devices that are necessary to your recovery. That being said, however, this subsequently means that your employer would have the right to choose the healthcare provider or physician that will oversee your treatment. If you want to choose your own doctor, it will be at your own expense.

#3: Request Disability Benefits by Filing a Workers' Comp Claim

  • Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for a percentage of your lost earnings in addition to medical benefits. The amount and duration of these payments will ultimately depend on your ability, or inability, to return to work. If your injuries are permanent in nature, for example, you may be entitled to weekly payments for the rest of your life. If you are physically able to return to work at any point, however, these payments will cease once the period of disability has elapsed.

#4: File an Appeal if Your Initial Claim was Denied

  • If your initial workers' compensation claim was denied, it is important not to give up hope just yet. There are a number of reasons why your employer or their insurance company would deny your claim (i.e. they have reason to believe that your injuries were not sustained at the workplace and/or they mistakenly think that you did not report the injuries to your employer within 30 days), but that does not mean that this decision has to be final. With the help of a Kansas City personal injury lawyer, you can file an appeal.

Workers' Compensation Is a No-Fault System

Unlike personal injury cases, in Missouri workers' compensation cases, you don't need to prove wrongdoing. Worker's compensation is a fault-free system. You only need to prove generally that something with your work caused your injury. For example, if you drive as part of your job, and you cause an accident while at work and get hurt, you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits even though the accident was your fault.

The trade-off for not requiring fault in workers' compensation cases is that you typically don't get as much money for your injuries than you would in a personal injury case. You are not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, you only receive a fraction of your wages if you can't work, and the cost of your medical care is paid directly to your health care providers and not to you.

If, however, you were hurt at work because of someone's wrongdoing, then recent Missouri court decisions may give you the right to file a personal injury case against your employer instead of a workers' compensation case. This will give you the right to recover additional money for your injuries. There are certain requirements for these types of cases so it's important to talk with a Kansas City lawyer who is familiar with this area of law to find out if your case qualifies.

Work-Related Injuries Covered by Workers' Comp

Whether the injury occurred at work or while on-the-job at another location, various work-related injuries that may be covered by workers' comp include:

  • Accidents that occur while operating a machine;
  • Exposure to chemicals, radiation or air pollution;
  • Illness and/or death caused on the job;
  • Injuries such as neck and back pain, or carpal tunnel; and
  • Other serious injuries caused from stressful or demanding work conditions.

These types of injuries and illnesses should not be taken lightly. Even if you are suffering from mild symptoms, you should not be held responsible paying for the medical fees or expenses involved.

Items Not Covered by Workers' Comp

Not only is it important to understand what is covered by workers' comp, but it is also important to understand what is not covered. By being aware of this, you are able to decide whether or not you have a valid reason to file for workers' comp.

Injuries that are not covered by this type of compensation include, but are not limited to:

  • Injuries that occur when a person is not at work;
  • Ones that are self-inflicted;
  • Injuries caused while breaking company policies;
  • An injury that was caused during a fight that the individual started; and
  • Ones that arise through the use of drugs and alcohol.

Rights of Injured Workers

Under Missouri state law, workers must be provided with workers' compensation benefits should they be injured on the job. Workers' compensation statutes govern the obligations of employers and the rights of their employees. Any employer that has five or more employees must provide their workers with protection under the Missouri Worker's Compensation Law. Employers usually comply with this law by purchasing an insurance policy. In some cases, employees will choose to self-insure their workers.

No matter how your employer has decided to provide your workers' compensation, you are entitled to benefits after a workplace injury. After a serious injury, this becomes a very urgent issue for the injured worker as well as their family. If you've recently been injured at work, report your injuries your supervisor immediately.

The law requires that employees provide notice of their injury or accident to the correct person at the company. Missouri law provides that your employer has the right to select the doctor where you are to get an evaluation of your condition. You have the right to seek a second opinion from a doctor of your own choosing, which is often necessary.

BENEFITS FOR INJURED WORKERS IN KANSAS CITY

Sadly, many individuals that are confused or overwhelmed by the process of filing a workers' compensation claim never get the full compensation they are owed after an injury at work. It is often necessary for an experienced workers' compensation attorney to step in and aggressively pursue the full amount of compensation that the individual has a right to claim. In addition to compensation for your medical bills, you are also entitled to compensation for mileage to and from medical treatment.

It is important to speak with an attorney regarding your case as you may be entitled to a settlement payment for permanent disability. Additional categories of compensation may include occupational diseases, disfigurement and scarring due to a workplace accident, as well as compensation for the inability to return to work.

You have the right to file a claim for your compensation and if your employer has violated the law and failed to carry worker's compensation insurance, you have to right to sue the employer in civil court when it is established that the employer's negligence played a part in your injury.

Contact Our Kansas City Workers' Compensation Lawyers Today for a Free Initial Consultation

Determining whether your injuries are covered under workers' comp can be an overwhelming and stressful process. Instead of searching endlessly online and getting frustrated by the initial process of filing for workers' compensation, let an attorney assist you. Our firm can answer all of your important questions as well as guide you through the process of successfully filing for the compensation you deserve. Victims of eligible work-related incidents should not have to pay for the expenses associated with their injuries.

If you have questions about the workers' compensation claims process in Kansas City, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with a workers' compensation attorney at Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott today. When you contact our firm locally at or toll-free at (816) 867-8611, you can take advantage of a free initial consultation. You can also submit a free case evaluation form online if you would prefer. Either way you choose to reach out to our firm, however, we just ask that you do so quickly. Time may already be running out on your workers' compensation claim.

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