Most people in workplaces of all types – especially those requiring various types of physical labor – have heard of Workers’ Compensation. Many may know someone who was hurt while working and received compensation through a Workers’ Compensation program.

Few people know much more about these programs and how they work. But Workers’ Compensation is available to nearly all employees, even those who work less than demanding desk jobs. So understanding the basics of Workers’ Compensation makes sense.

The following are a few points every employee should understand.

What Exactly Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation provides compensation benefits to workers who have been injured while working and who are recovering from their injuries.

The basic idea of Workers’ Comp is to provide injured workers with financial support while they recuperate, and to do so in a straightforward manner, getting benefits into the hands of sick or injured workers quickly.

However, the claims process which determines if an illness or injury qualifies for compensation can be lengthy. In addition, in many states the claims process can be complex and time-consuming.

Workers’ Compensation is paid for by employers or the state, depending on the state, and can take the form of a state-run insurance program, payments by the state and/or employers to an insurance company, or direct payments to workers from employers.

In Missouri, employers purchase Workers’ Compensation from state-authorized insurance companies.

What Is Covered By Workers’ Compensation?

In nearly all states, Workers’ Comp is composed of three types of benefits; medical treatment for the injury or illness suffered by the worker, temporary wage replacement while the worker is unable to work, and compensation for any remaining permanent injury, impairment, or disfigurement.

It is important to understand that workers’ compensation is a form of insurance, and that workers who have been injured or become ill due to work-related hazards are in effect filing an insurance claim when they seek to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

As such, the types of challenges associated with making an auto or homeowners insurance claim can occur as part of a workers’ compensation claim.

Having a claim denied or experiencing delays in being compensated can happen in a workers’ compensation claim just as easily as with a claim involving a car accident, for example.

What Is The Claim Process?

While who pays for workers’ comp insurance varies from state to state, the claims processes for most states are somewhat similar.

An injured worker should immediately report his or her injury to their employer. (Delays may result in a denial of benefits). The employer or the employer’s insurance company is then required by state law to provide medical treatment to the employee. In addition to immediate care, the injured employee may be eligible to receive temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits or permanent total disability benefits.

It is important to note that in Missouri compensation is not paid for the first 3 days an injured employee is unable to work. However, if the employee cannot work for 14 days or more, the first 3 days will be paid.

Employees who believe they have not been adequately compensated may work with the dispute management services offered by the Missouri Department of Labor.

These claims may end up being reviewed and resolved either through a conference involving an attorney for the employer or insurer and an administrative judge.

Legal Counsel Is A Must

In cases involving any disputed claim, the injured employee can safely assume the employer or insurer involved will bring experienced legal counsel to the dispute.

An employee walking into a conference with such counsel and an administrative judge is facing an uphill battle without experienced legal representation.

The attorneys of Marler Law Partners have extensive experience in these matters and will protect your interests to the greatest extent possible. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.