Work-related injuries happen all the time in St. Louis in all types of employment settings. While most companies carry workers’ compensation insurance designed to provide benefits for employees grappling with work-related injuries, obtaining coverage is often anything but a simple task. Not only do workers have to fill out lengthy and sometimes confusing paperwork to file a claim, but strict eligibility criteria and filing deadlines apply to pursue benefits at all.

Filing an accident report too late, failing to report your injury to your employer, or waiting too long to get medical treatment are all examples of situations that could derail your potential claim. If you have questions about how to apply for workers’ compensation in St. Louis, the best next step is to speak with an attorney who regularly handles cases exactly like yours and can get to work protecting your legal rights. Reach out to our trusted team of workers’ comp lawyers at OnderLaw today.

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation

Generally speaking, any company or employer in Missouri employing five or more individuals must pay for workers’ compensation insurance. If the company is involved in the construction industry, they must carry workers’ compensation coverage even if they have just one employee. Some companies may be exempt from these requirements due to the number of employees they have or the industries they operate in.

In most cases, though, if you are injured on the job, workers’ compensation should pay for the cost of your medical care, such as:

  • Surgeries
  • Treatment
  • Medication
  • Rehabilitation
  • Necessary therapy
  • Any other related services

These benefits can also cover part of your missed wages resulting from your injuries. Companies that fail to carry the appropriate workers’ compensation coverage could be held legally liable for injuries sustained by their employees.

Many worker’s compensation cases hit snags early in the application process that could be alleviated with the guidance of a knowledgeable St. Louis lawyer. For example, maybe your employer is delaying reporting your injury, your employer or the insurance carrier is trying to reject your claim, or your employer is trying to see that your injury is from a pre-existing physical issue.

Reports of employers neglecting to accommodate a worker’s injuries with modified duties, moving too slow on claims, or offering settlements that do not cover the full extent of the injuries sustained are also far too common in these situations. A diligent attorney at OnderLaw can work to help you get the benefits you deserve while keeping your health and interests the priority.

Key Steps in the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process

In order to apply for workers’ compensation and be eligible to receive benefits, St. Louis workers must report the injury to their employer no later than 30 days from when it happened. Your employer is also required by law to tell their insurance carrier or third-party administrator about your injury within five days of when you notify them or five days from when the injury happens, based on which of the two occurs later. In turn, the insurance company must notify the Division of Workers’ Compensation about your injury within 30 days.

After you notify your employer, you should receive a list of approved providers by your employer or their workers’ compensation carrier from whom you can receive the medical care you need. You need to make sure your claim is accepted before you start treatment, as all necessary medical care connected to your work-related injury should be covered in full. You could also be entitled to recoup the value of your lost wages through temporary or permanent disability benefits, up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage before taxes.

If your injury prevents you from performing some of your job duties temporarily, you could be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. If your injury has left you temporarily unable to perform any of your job duties, you may be eligible to receive temporary total disability benefits. If you are in a situation where you are injured to such an extent that you are no longer able to work at all in certain capacities, you could receive permanent partial disability benefits. Finally, if your injury prevents you from working at all, you may be able to seek permanent total disability benefits.

Even in the early stages of a claim, having legal representation on your side can be extremely beneficial. A proactive attorney can help you prepare the claims paperwork for your employer and ensure everything is submitted in a timely fashion. A committed lawyer can also step in if your employer or the insurance carrier is stalling, trying to minimize the value of your claim, or denies it altogether.

A St. Louis Attorney Can Help You Apply for Workers’ Compensation

Even if you do everything right, your employer might make mistakes that could affect your case. Some employers might not report the injury right away, try to get you to come back to full job duties before you are ready, or even try to deny requests for certain medical treatment. This could affect the amount of benefits paid out, or even cut off coverage too soon.

Remember, neither your employer nor the insurance company benefit from you receiving workers’ compensation coverage. On the contrary, both parties have an interest in protecting their bottom lines, and that end goal could run in direct opposition to your medical well-being.

The reliable attorneys at OnderLaw have a wealth of experience in helping injured workers understand how to apply for workers’ compensation in St. Louis. Your lawyer will help you seek maximum benefits—whether for temporary disability or permanent disability. You can also rest assured that your attorney will stand by your side every step of the way to put your legal rights first and foremost. Call us today to speak with a compassionate lawyer and discuss what may be possible for your workers’ compensation claim.