Missouri Workers’ Compensation vs Personal Injury Claims

man falling at work and now eligible for Missouri workers’ compensation

In 2022, the Missouri Department of Labor reported nearly 94,063 workplace injuries — many of these injured individuals turned to a Workers’ Compensation lawyer to file a claim against their employer. Missouri Workers’ Compensation benefits provide a definite remedy to an employee injured on the job, ensuring they receive prompt medical treatment that allows them to return to work as soon as possible.

However, many may assume that personal injury and Workers’ Compensation are the same. Each attorney at Casey, Devoti and Brockland understands the differences — we are here to differentiate between the two and break down what you can expect after filing a claim.

Proof in Missouri Workers’ Compensation 

In a Missouri Workers’ Compensation claim, the claimant does not need to prove the negligence of any party. Regardless of the action of others, the injured individual is entitled to benefits. All the injured person must show is that they were on the job and injured while doing a job requirement.

These cases are not as reliant on physical evidence as personal injury claims — typically, Workers’ Compensation claims rely on testimony from the injured worker or those who witnessed the event. Once a victim establishes that her injury happened during her employment, the law requires nothing else to establish the right to benefits. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer would typically need a victim to answer the following questions:

  • Who is your employer?
  • What is your job title?
  • What are your duties and responsibilities?
  • What are the physical demands of your job?
  • When did you suffer the injury?
  • What were you doing at the time of the injury?
  • The Ability to Sue Your Employer 

Under statute, Missouri Workers’ Compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee against an employer. In basic terms, the law eliminates your ability to sue your employer for work-related injuries in most circumstances, regardless of negligence. Even if your employer fails to provide a safe workplace, the fact will typically not come into play in your case.

For example, a roofing company must provide a safety harness to roofers working more than six feet above the ground. If the roofer is not given proper safety equipment and receives an injury as a result, the worker cannot sue the employer for the failure. The statute simply allows the injured worker to seek a small enhanced benefit in the Workers’ Compensation claim.

However, the easiest way to picture the differences between Missouri Workers’ Compensation and personal injury is to place it in the context of an automobile crash. If you’re a passenger in your employer’s delivery truck and the driver of another car causes a collision, you have three potential claims: a Workers’ Compensation claim against your employer and personal injury claims against the driver who caused the crash and, if she was working at the time of the crash, her employer. However, if your fellow employee caused the crash, you only have one claim against your employer: the Workers’ Compensation claim.

In either case, Casey, Devoti and Brockland is equipped with personal injury and Workers’ Compensation lawyers  — we are ready and willing to help you navigate the logistics.

Missouri Workers Compensation Payments 

A Missouri Workers’ Compensation case entitles you to three benefits — time off, payment for medical treatment and disability benefits.

  • Time off benefits. In Missouri, an injured employee is entitled to ⅔ of their average weekly wage. However, Missouri statute caps the maximum amount an injured employee is entitled to receive on a weekly basis while unable to work. This benefit is paid as the employee is recovering and unable to perform the physical demands of their work.
  • Medical benefits. Medical benefits cover your medical bills as you recover. These benefits are paid directly to the healthcare provider.
  • Disability benefits. These benefits are paid after you are done with treatment, often many months later. Again, Missouri law caps the rate at which disability benefits are calculated.

Workers’ Compensation payments are mostly paid piecemeal over time. Meanwhile, in a personal injury claim, only one lump sum payment is made after the injured party has recovered. This payment goes directly to the victim and is typically larger than the sum of any Workers’ Compensation benefits paid to the injured employee.

Work With a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you recently received an injury in the workplace, our Workers’ Compensation lawyers are here to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. We will stick by your side to ensure you receive the necessary benefits to get back on your feet. Contact Casey, Devoti and Brockland to start your Missouri Workers’ Compensation claim today.

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