Workers Compensation Insurance – What You Need to Know
If you own a business in Missouri, you are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. This policy will protect you from hefty medical bills and lawsuits.
However, you may not know what is covered under workers’ comp in Missouri or how to apply for benefits. Getting this paperwork right and submitted on time can be tricky.
Under Missouri workers’ compensation law, you are entitled to receive medical treatment as needed to cure and relieve your work-related injury. This includes diagnostic services, surgery, physical therapy, and prescriptions at no cost to you.
In addition, you may be entitled to payment of travel expenses for the treatment of your work-related injury. You may claim for these expenses in the form of a reasonableness medical fee dispute.
When you are injured on the job, it is important to report your accident immediately to your employer and to the Human Resources Department. Failure to do so may jeopardize your ability to pursue your workers’ compensation claim.
In order to receive disability benefits, you must prove that your injury was caused by work-related conditions. This means that the work you do must be “the prevailing factor” that caused your medical condition and disability.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
The basic schedule of benefits available under Missouri workers’ compensation law includes temporary total disability (TTD) and permanent partial disability (PPD). TTD payments start after you have been unable to work for at least seven days.
Generally, TTD payments are sixty-six percent (66%) of your gross average weekly wage, subject to statutory caps. The amount of your average weekly wage is based on what you earned the previous thirteen weeks before your injury, as well as any overtime or bonuses you received.
However, the TTD formula can make it difficult for injured employees who have multiple jobs. Insurance companies will often try to use every legal loophole possible to avoid paying injured workers TTD benefits for their other jobs.
If you are experiencing difficulty obtaining TTD benefits, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. These laws can be complex and vary from state to state.
Medical Travel Expenses
Often times, workers are required to travel outside of their home town or city in order to receive necessary medical treatment for work-related injuries. This can become very costly over time, especially if you have to see numerous specialists.
In these cases, you may be entitled to mileage reimbursement under missouri workers’ compensation law. This is typically for distances greater than five miles each way for a round-trip, but it may also be for the cost of hiring a professional transportation service to get you to your doctor’s appointment or therapy session.
You should keep a mileage log of all the trips you’ve taken for approved medical treatment. This should include dates, the purpose of the trip, the destination, the amount of miles you traveled, and any gas receipts that support your claim for reimbursement.
The State of Missouri offers a Mileage Reimbursement Form that you can use to document the miles you travel for authorized medical care. You should also have your medical provider complete the form with their name and address and sign it each time you are treated to ensure that you receive a correct calculation of your mileage allowance.
Second Injury Fund
The Second Injury Fund is a state-run program that is intended to compensate employees for injuries caused by a combination of two work-related injuries. This special need has led to a number of states removing their second injury funds in favor of other disability aid programs, but Missouri continues its SIF.
The basic idea behind a Second Injury Fund is that workers who have a preexisting disability that was made worse by the work injury are more likely to be injured in the future, so it’s logical for employers to take some of the burden off them.
However, many Missouri workers’ compensation attorneys worry that the Second Injury Fund is under-capitalized. This is because there have been a lot of cases filed against the Second Injury Fund, but dismissed with little to no reason.