Ernie’s Approach to Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation helps in protecting employees from the catastrophic expenses of workplace injuries. Sometimes you can do everything right, but the wrong things still happen. Ernie is well aware of the frustration and fear that accompanies being hurt while simply trying to make a living and put food on the table for your family. From handling a wide variety of workers’ compensation cases and listening to his clients’ primary fears, Ernie knows about the immediate fears that creep in when you are hurt at work: Are they going to fire me? If I cannot work, how am I going to pay my bills? How am I going to pay for my medical bills? Will my bosses and coworkers treat me differently if I make a claim? What if it was my own fault I got hurt at work? What if my bosses take negative action against me for filing the claim? If I file a claim, will I get fired? These are all very good questions that Ernie has heard time and time again.
When you first meet with Ernie after a workplace injury, Ernie’s first and primary step is to listen. He will listen to how you were injured, the nature and extent of your injuries (which are usually not fully known at the time you first meet with Ernie), what your concerns are, and what your ultimate goals are. In order to best represent you, Ernie has to know where you are starting from and what the ultimate goal or destination is. From that information, Ernie will put his knowledge and expertise to work for you in developing a case strategy to ensure you get the medical treatment that is necessary for your recovery and the maximum amount of money that is fair and equitable under Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation system.
If you have been hurt at work, or a family member has been killed at work, please call Ernie today at 573-874-1122 to schedule your free initial meeting.
5 NEED-TO-KNOW BASICS OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
1. Most Common Categories of Recovery in Workers’ Compensation Regime:
- Medical Treatment: Medical treatment that is necessary for your recovery from the injury you incurred while acting within the course and scope of your employment.
- Temporary Total Disability: This is very similar to lost wages as it is based on your “total” inability to work and allows you to recover a portion of your wages for the time you are completely unable to work.
- Temporary Partial Disability: This is also related to lost wages, but this is based on your “partial” inability to work. This allows you to recover a portion of your wages for your reduced ability to work.
- Permanent Total Disability: If you are unable to return to “any” type of work, you are considered to have a “permanent total disability.” The question of whether you are able to return to “any” type of work or whether you are “competent to compete in the open labor market” is a frequently hotly contested issue. If you are found to have a permanent total disability, you are entitled to be paid workers’ compensation benefits for the rest of your life or until you are no longer totally disabled.
- Permanent Partial Disability: After you have received your medical treatment and reached maximum medical improvement, there is a good chance that you will never be 100% healed from your injury. Though you are able to return to work (and therefore, not “totally” disabled), you may have difficulties performing certain tasks, pain, limitations, physical or mental illness, injury, or other condition that incapacitates you to some degree. If this is the case, you are considered to have a “permanent partial disability” and are entitled to recovery over and above the medical treatment and temporary total disability (i.e., lost wages).
- Disfigurement: If you are seriously and permanently disfigured on the head, neck, hands, or arms, you may be entitled to additional compensation over and above the medical treatment and disability recovery.
2. How much can you recover for your injury?
- The amount of your potential recovery is a function of the body parts that are injured, the extent of the disability, when the injury occurred, and your average rate of pay.
3. Workers’ Compensation is a No-Fault Regime.
- If you are injured while acting in the course and scope of your employment, you are entitled to make a claim with your
employer. Whether you or your employer is at fault has absolutely no bearing on your case.
4. Your Employer Cannot Take Negative Action Against You.
- Your employer cannot take any negative or detrimental action against you in response to your filing a workers’ compensation claim.
5. You Have No Right to A Trial By Jury in Workers’ Compensation.
- Because Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation is handled through a Missouri administrative agency (Missouri’s Department of Labor – Workers’ Compensation Division), your workers’ compensation claim will be either be resolved through an agreement reached between you and the workers’ compensation insurance company OR through presenting your case to an administrative law judge (ALJ). In other words, you have no right to a trial by jury in Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation regime.
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FREE INITIAL MEETING FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASES!
If you have been injured while at work, or have lost a family member to a workplace accident, Ernie looks forward to obtaining full and complete justice for you. Please contact our office today to schedule your free initial meeting with Ernie.