Category Archives: Missouri Workers Comp Law

37 Injuries or Diseases with Recovery Potential under MO Workers’ Comp Statutes

There are an inordinate amount of employees injured on the job each year.  The injuries vary from mild to severe to fatal, depending on the gravity and context of the injury. Many employees believe that they will receive backlash from their employers for making a workers’ compensation claim.

However, this is simply not true.  There are laws in place to prevent employers from ostracizing an employee for asserting their legal rights to compensation. Employees should educate themselves about their possible rights to recovery.

Depending on the type of injury and the particular situation, there may be potential recovery under the Missouri workers’ compensation statutes for certain injuries that an individual suffers whether s/he is at or away from the workplace.

In order to assist employees who suffer an accident or injury in the workplace, we’ve constructed a fairly extensive list of many of the common injuries, accidents, or occupational diseases that we encounter in the workers’ comp context.

Please note that this list is not comprehensive, but it makes up a large majority of injury claims that are commonly asserted under Missouri Workers’ Compensation laws.

ACL Tear

ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament.  The ACL is located around the area of a person’s knee, specifically the ACL is located immediately below the patella (knee cap). Thus, any injuries that involve the ACL deal with the knee and surrounding region.

On average, about 200,000 people suffer from some form of ACL injury per year.  See http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00297

Any sudden movement like pivoting, cutting, sidestepping or other motions that are often utilized on a construction project or in other similar work environments can increase the risk of an ACL tear.

If you suffer from an ACL tear due to an injury that occurred at work, please contact one of our Workers’ Comp attorneys today.

Amputation

Amputation is the removal of a limb by trauma or surgery. The most common cause of amputation outside of war stems from peripheral vascular disease.

Peripheral vascular disease is when blood flow to arteries or veins is restricted outside the thoracic region (chest). A common type of peripheral vascular disease is deep vein thrombosis, which is the formation of a blood clot (typically occurs in your legs).

Peripheral vascular disease often occurs as a result of smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and/or high cholesterol.

Amputation is most commonly necessary when there is any of the following: gangrene, a severe infection, or severe trauma to a limb from an accident or injury.

Arthritis

 Arthritis is a general term that is used to describe joint inflammation.

A few of the most common forms of arthritis include the following:

·         Fibromyalgia

·         Gout

·         Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis)

·         Rheumatoid Arthritis

·         Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE or lupus)

Osteoarthritis is highlighted above because it is the most prevalent type of arthritis. In fact, “[n]early 1 in 2 people may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis by age 85 years.” See http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis-related-stats.htm

See below for a more thorough explanation on osteoarthritis.

Brain Injury

More than 25,000 Americans die each year from aortic aneurysms.

The brain is one of your most vital organs.  If you suffer from a brain injury, you could be partially or fully mentally or physically incapacitated, depending on the level of trauma.

Even minor cerebral edema (swelling of the brain) can cause brain fog or mild cognitive incapacitation.  It is important to immediately address any brain injury as it could cause severe and permanent damage.

This is particularly the case when the brain injury is caused due to stroke (lack of oxygen) or from an aneurysm (enlargement of an artery due to a weak arterial wall, in the brain).

Around 12,000 Americans die annually from ruptured brain aneurysms.  See http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156993.php

However, as the statistics show, when an aneurysm ruptures, even if treated immediately, the results can be fatal.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are one of the most common injuries and therefore require very little explanation.  However, to maintain a consistent presentation, the medical aspects and common causes of a broken bone will be briefly discussed below.

Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is the dilatation of the bronchioles. Dilatation is essentially just the dilation or opening of the bronchioles.  The bronchioles are just the branches that deal with air flow within the windpipe.

Most people know what the windpipe is, but for those who do not, it is the space through which air flows, located between the throat and the lungs.

If you’ve been exposed to toxic fumes that have adversely affected your windpipe, or if you are experiencing Bronchiectasis, please contact one of our attorneys today to help you evaluate your potential recovery.

Burn Injury

A burn injury can occur in many jobs where employees are exposed to fire or other combustible materials.

There is also a danger to employees who work in restaurants or in occupations where the individual is prone to fire or hazardous situations such as firefighters or police officers.
The type of burn injury depends on the severity and falls into one of the following categories:

First-degree burns – this is the most minor type of burn; it is a slight burn to the outer layer of the skin

An individual who suffers from a first degree burn will typically observe redness, inflammation, and dry skin.

Second-degree burns– this is more severe than a first degree burn as the burn actually penetrates through the top layers of skin.  The result is a wet appearance similar to a deep scrape.  Recovery time is anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks for a second degree burn.

Third-degree burnsthis is the most severe type of burn (apart from fourth degree burns. Some sources say that the burn can be so severe that nerves are actually damaged.  In such a case, the burn victim will not have any feeling in the burned area and it will essentially be numb.

Third degree burns often run the risk of infection or shock.  In some cases third degree burns can result in death—however, this would require extremely severe burning in one area or extensive burning all over the victim.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

What’s Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The manifestation of carpal tunnel syndrome is often accompanied by numbness or tingling that occurs in the middle finger, the pointer, the thumb, and the palm—in severe cases Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is marked by pain that can extend up into the arm.

What’s the cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by uneven distribution of the median nerve due to squeezing or pinching in the wrist area.

Certain occupations are more prone to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome because the onset usually results from repetitive stress to the wrist area.

Any injury that results from continuous use over a period of time is considered a repetitive stress injury or what is sometimes referred to as a repetitive motion injury.

Individuals who work in the following occupations are frequently the victims of a repetitive stress injury, specifically Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

·         Carpenters

·         Construction Workers

·         Office Workers

·         People whose work requires frequent use of the hands

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

There are generally two types of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

Type 1: Reflex Sympathetic Disorder or Dystrophy

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is marked by a malfunction in the nerves of the face or other extremities in which the employee feels pain, inability to control the affected area, and swelling.

A few causes of Reflex Sympathetic Disorder:

·         Trauma

·         Neural disease

·         Stroke/Heart attack

Some employees affected with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy complain of sweating in the affected extremity/area, changes in the skin color, and/or hypersensitivity.

Type 2: Causalgia

Causalgia is marked by intense burning due to nerve damage.  This often results in neurogenic inflammation and will typically be accompanied by changes in the muscle and skin tissue.

The inflammation created by the nerves decreases blood flow, decreases flexibility in that area, and generally makes the area more painful.

Contagious and Communicable Disease

There is a specific statute under the Missouri Workers’ Comp laws that address situations where an employee contracts a contagious and communicable disease at work.

A disease is contagious and communicable during the period in which it is susceptible of transmission to another person.

The following is the relevant statutory language: “Any employee who is exposed to and contracts any contagious or communicable disease arising out of and in the course of his or her employment shall be eligible for benefits…”

R.S.Mo. § 287.067.7 (2016).

Many of these contagious diseases occur most frequently among hospital staff and other workers who work closely or in the general vicinity of infected patients.

The most common manner of transmitting an infectious disease in the healthcare industry is by:

·         contact,

·         droplet, and/or

·         airborne agent.

See https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthcarefacilities/infectious_diseases.html for more information.

Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)

Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) or sometimes known as Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis.  DJD is basically the degeneration or deterioration of the cartilage in the joints, which causes them to become inflamed.

As most people are aware, DJD onset can occur from age.  However, in the workers’ compensation world, DJD is seen frequently when an individual’s occupation consists of consistent repetitive motions.

The most common places that Osteoarthritis occurs is in the:

·         Hands

·         Knees, &

·         Spine

Causes of Osteoarthritis include:

1.       Repetitive Motion Injury

OSHA performed a study that showed that repetitive motion injuries accounted for several hundred thousand in injuries to U.S. workers and north of $20 billion in workers compensation claim payouts.

Repetitive Strain Injuries are discussed in depth throughout this article, and for the sake of avoiding redundancy, we will refrain from further discussion here.

 2.       Obesity

“Two in three people who are obese may develop symptomatic knee [osteoarthritis] in their lifetime.” See http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis-related-stats.htm

3.       Aging

“Nearly 1 in 2 people may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis by age 85 years. See http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis-related-stats.htm

4.      Sports

“One in 4 people may develop painful hip arthritis by age 85 years.” http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis-related-stats.htm

Disease of Lungs or Respiratory Tract

When an employee is working on a job that constantly subjects him/her to gases, smoke or other airborne irritants, the outcome can result in damage to the lungs or respiratory tract.

Damage to the lungs is discussed below under the section entitled pulmonary disease. One of the most common diseases of the lungs is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is typically accompanied by chronic bronchitis or emphysema or some combination thereof.

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000091.htm

A worker can become affected with COPD from smoking, gases, or other inhalation of damaging substances.

As a result of the epidemic of lung disease and respiratory issues amongst firefighters and police officers, the Missouri legislature created a statute in the Workers’ Compensation laws that specifically protects firefighters and police officers. R.S.Mo. § 287.067.6 (2016).

If you are a firefighter or police officer who has suffered from a lung disease or infection of the respiratory tract, please consult with one of our attorneys today to help determine your rights to compensation.

Electrocution or Electrical Accidents

According to a 2010 study performed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 160 deaths were reported as a result of electrocution.

It should be no shock that the electrocution of a worker can cause serious or even fatal injuries.  For this reason, OSHA has implemented strict safety precautions that employers are supposed to follow to protect the safety of their employees.

In the event that an employer is not following OSHA’s Safety Rules or Federal or Missouri law, the employee may be entitled to additional compensation under the Missouri workers comp statutes.

If you or a loved one is injured as a result of non-existent safety procedures, please contact one of our attorneys, so we can discuss your rights with you.

Epicondylitis

Epicondylitis is basically inflammation at the end of the humerous bone. The humerous bone is the bone that connects your shoulder and your elbow. Epicondylitis is typically seen in the elbow region where the humerous bone ends at the elbow.

The inflammation can be located on the outside (lateral) region of the bone in your elbow or the inside (medial) region.

Tennis elbow – When the inflammation is located on the outside part of the humerous (elbow side).

Tennis Elbow is marked by pain over the end of the bone which can radiate out to the forearm and to the area above your elbow.

Golfer’s elbow – When the inflammation is located on the inside of the elbow

Causes of epicondylitis include:

·         Sports

·         Jobs with Repetitive Motion

·         Trauma

Epicondylitis can occur when workers continuously lift objects over a period of time and repeated stress is caused in the elbow region.  Many jobs that require lifting or physical motion that causes trauma or stress to the elbow result in cases of epicondylitis.

If you are dealing with pain or chronic inflammation in your elbow, and you are running out of options to resolve the problem, call one of our attorneys today to see if you may have a potential workers’ compensation claim.  We provide free consultations to determine whether your case may be compensable under the Missouri statutes.

Head Injuries

Head injuries can occur from a plethora of stimuli.

A few examples include slip and fall cases, falling objects, car accidents, machine accidents, injuries from equipment malfunction, as well as a number of other potential ways.

The consequences of a head injury run the gamut as to the effects it might have on the employee. Head injuries could include minor concussions to unconsciousness to even death. We experience cases in which even the unthinkable can occur, and workers can fall from heights, suffer from a vehicle accident, collide with a machine or heavy equipment, or suffer trauma from heavy machinery. Many of these accidents occur on a construction site.

For that reason, OSHA has strict safety regulations to protect workers on construction sites from these potential harms.

When the employer does not comply with OSHA regulations, the employee likely has another remedy in addition to any compensation to which s/he would normally be entitled. It is important to fully exhaust your remedies under the Missouri Workers’ Compensation statutes as any injured worker is entitled to be compensated for his or her sufferings.

Many workers work their whole lives for a company, and as soon as that worker is injured, the employer is quick to turn its back on them.  This is the very reason why Workers’ Compensation statutes are in place.  The worker has to have some way to recover for the pain s/he has suffered.

Additionally, employers cannot retaliate against a worker for utilizing his/her rights under the Workers’ Comp laws.  Do not hesitate to explore your options for recovery if you are suffered on the job.  Remember, any contact with an attorney with regards to these injuries is typically protected by the attorney-client privilege.  Thus, your employer will never know if you consult with an attorney or not.

Accordingly, if you have suffered a head injury at your place of work, we urge you to contact one of our attorneys, so you can explore your rights and at least be able to protect yourself against your employer.

Hearing Loss

There are several types of hearing loss.  Each type of hearing loss differs based on the stem of the problem.  The following are the three types of hearing loss:

1.      Conductive Hearing Loss

2.      Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)

3.      Mixed Hearing Loss

Each type of hearing loss arises due to certain deficiencies, ailments, or trauma.  Below we will discuss each type.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is the result of issues with the ear canal, ear drum, or the other components of the inner ear.

Some examples of conductive hearing loss arise from foreign bodies obstructing the ear, ear infections, and other deformations of the ear.

Many jobs cause exposure to trauma and other dangers that could damage the bone structure or adversely affect the composition of the ear.  Any such damage can harm the ear to a point where an individual’s suffering begins to decline.  In certain situations where trauma has affected the bone structure of the ear, doctors can typically provide relief and rehabilitation through surgery on the affected areas.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss refers to issues with the neurons located in the inner ear.

A few stimuli that can lead to sensorineural hearing loss is trauma to the ear, excessive or continued high pitches, frequencies or loud noise over a prolonged period of time (or short period of time if intense enough), aging, tumors, infections, diseases, and a number of other causes.

What are some of the most common professions in which hearing loss is experienced?

·         Tradesmen (carpenters, plumbers, industrial machinists, et al.)

·         Farmers & agriculture workers

·         Military personnel

·         Mining workers, and

·         Persons working in the transportation industry

Heart Attack

A heart attack, also known as an acute myocardial infarction in the medical world, is an incredibly serious event.  A heart attack occurs when there is necrosis of living heart muscle due to the blockage of the coronary artery.

On average, more than one million people suffer from heart attacks each year, and around 350,000 of those cases result in fatalities.

So, the question is, does a worker have a workers’ comp claim for a heart attack that occurs at work?

The answer is general as it depends on the factual circumstances, but the heart attack would have had to occur in the course of employment.  The elements are the following: “(a) It is reasonably apparent, upon consideration of all the circumstances, that the accident is the prevailing factor in causing the injury; and

(b) It does not come from a hazard or risk unrelated to the employment to which workers would have been equally exposed outside of and unrelated to the employment in normal nonemployment life.” R.S.Mo. § 287.020.3(2) (2016).

Heart Disease

Heart disease refers to any pathological disease that affects the heart or its surrounding components, including the arteries, valves or the electrical systems that control the heart.

Heart disease generally refers to diseases of the heart which could include coronary artery disease, problems with the heart’s rhythm like arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation, and even birth defects like congenital heart disease.

Workers with heart disease may have claims for recovery in Missouri under certain circumstances.  The operative language is the following: “if the occupational exposure was the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability.”

Fortunately for affected workers, heart disease has been found to be a fairly prevalent claim made under the workers’ compensation statutes—so much so that its specifically included in a statute for workers who are subjected to an inordinate amount of exposure.

Specifically, heart disease is accounted for in the Missouri statutes as a disease that is specially protected in certain occupations, which include firefighters and police officers. R.S.Mo. § 287.067.6 (2016).

Hip Injury

Hip injuries can be debilitating.  A dislocated or fractured hip can prevent an individual from performing everyday tasks like tying their shoes or any prolonged sitting or standing.  The hip is such a vital part of the body that workers who are injured on the job have to have some recourse for injuries affecting their hip or the surrounding region.

Hip injuries come in a variety of different forms including dislocation of the hip which can be posterior or anterior, the hip can suffer from a fracture, and/or full break.  To repair the same, a doctor may suggest partial or full hip replacement surgery.  In this procedure the doctor will replace the hip with wholly synthetic parts or utilize artificial components to supplement the current hip structure.

When a worker suffers from a hip injury on the job in Missouri, that person should immediately contact an attorney to preserve their rights to compensation.  An experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you recover monetarily and physically to where you can figuratively and literally get back on your feet.

Hypertension

·         Missouri has a specific statute that protects firefighters and police officers that suffer from hypertension. R.S.Mo. § 287.067.6 (2016).

Knee Injuries

 Knee injuries may be one of the most common injuries that occur on the job.  We use our knees everyday from walking up and down stairs to bending over to pick up your keys.

The reality is that with the complex composition of the knee, its not surprise that workers require surgery, operations, or rehab to assist with knee injuries that occurred in the workplace.

In some cases the injury results from a hard trauma such as falling or running into some heavy object or machinery or in other cases it results from continued up and down motion that wears the ligaments out in the knee and causes so much overexertion that your knee gives out on you.

Some of the most common knee injuries are a tear of mcl or tear of the acl.  Both of these injuries are more fully described in this article.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a workplace knee injury, we can evaluate your case and help you pursue any and all legal remedies you might have.

Ligament Tears

Loss of Hearing Due to Industrial Noise

The term Loss of Hearing Due to Industrial Noise is defined as “loss of hearing in one or both ears due to prolonged exposure to harmful noise in employment.” R.S.Mo. § 287.067.4 (2016).

The term harmful noise is defined as “sound capable of producing occupational deafness”. R.S.Mo. § 287.067.4 (2016).

Because loss of hearing as a result of industrial noise occurs so frequently in the workplace, the legislature believed it was necessary to specifically include a statute that addresses such a situation.  For that reason, this type of ailment is specifically recognized as an occupational disease under Missouri Workers’ Comp Statutes.

If you work an industrial or commercial setting where the exposure to high decibels of sound is frequent or if it occurs over a prolonged period of time, and you believe your hearing has suffered as a result, our lawyers can probably help you recover under the applicable Missouri workers’ compensation statutes.

See Hearing Loss generally for other causes and explanations regarding the decline or loss of an individual’s hearing.

Mesothelioma

 Mesothelioma is most associated with exposure to asbestos.  In certain workplaces, employees are subjected to prolonged asbestos exposure and suffer from Mesothelioma.

In its simplest explanation, Mesothelioma is the formation of a cancerous tumor that forms in the outer lining of the lungs (or in the mesothelial cells of the pleura) .  The pleural are two cavities (visceral and parietal) in the chest that are lined with mesothelial cells.

Mesothelioma is not incredibly common relative to other diseases.  Doctors diagnose about 3000 people with mesothelioma on an annual basis.  Currently, the scientific and medical community have not found a cure for Mesothelioma.  It is incredibly sad and there is no  just solution.

However, if you or a family member is suffering from  Mesothelioma, you owe it to yourself to pursue the employer or company that subjected you or your loved one to this horrible cancer.  Our lawyers will do our best to find you and your family retribution and compensation to at least allow you and your family to live comfortably and best pursue any potential treatment.

MCL Tear

Neck Injury

Nerve Injuries

 Nerve injuries can be one of the most painful injuries that a worker can experience.  Nerves are essentially a group of neurons bundled together that send impulses to the central nervous system.

When the nerves are sending pain impulses the pain can be excruciating.  In some situations the pain from nerve injuries can be so bad that the employee may no longer be able to perform the daily work functions.  At this point, the worker needs some way to be able to support his family in the event that this time away from work is not properly accounted for.

In these situations, the worker’s only form of retribution may be to make a claim against the employer.  In the event that you or someone you love is suffering from nerve damage that was the result of a work accident or injury, please contact one of our attorneys to learn more about your rights.

Pulmonary Damage

Pulmonary comes from the Latin word Pulmonarius and refers to the lungs.  There are a number of irritants, diseases, and other factors that can lead to pulmonary damage.

When a worker’s lungs are damaged in the workplace due to exposure of toxic gas or other irritating substance, the results can be devastating.  Doctors can determine the extent of the injury to your lungs using a variety of studies and research.

However, it doesn’t take a doctor to know that our lungs give us the ability to intake oxygen, which is one of the fundamental elements humans need to nourish cells. Without the ability to intake oxygen or with a reduced capacity, the affected worker could suffer consequential ailments or diseases. We can help you get compensated for these types of injuries.

If you believe that you have suffered pulmonary damage (lung disease) as a result of some exposure in the workplace, please contact one of our workers’ compensation attorneys today.

Radiation Disability

The term Radiation Disability is defined as “disability due to radioactive properties or substances or to Roentgen rays (X-rays) or exposure to ionizing radiation caused by any process involving the use of or direct contact with radium or radioactive properties or substances or the use of or direct exposure to Roentgen rays (X-rays) or ionizing radiation.” R.S.Mo. § 287.067.5 (2016).

Repetitive Stress Injury

Repetitive Stress Injury is sometimes referred to as Repetitive Motion Injury, cumulative trauma syndrome, or some variation thereof.  It generally refers to trauma to soft tissue in the worker that is caused by repetitive movements.

The soft tissue that can be affected includes: tendons, muscle, and synovial sheaths.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is probably the most prevalent repetitive stress injury.  However, any injuries that compress the nerve can similarly occur from repetitive motion.

Even outside the construction industry, there are hundreds of jobs that require continuous, repetitive movements that slowly wear down a specific part of your body over time.

So long as these repetitive movements do not pose the same threats to the general public, then you likely have a strong argument for compensation under the Missouri Workers’ Compensation statutes.

Retrobulbar Neuritis

Retrobulbar neuritis, sometimes referred to as optic neuritis, is the inflammation of the nerve that is seated at the back of the eye.  The inflammation causes a hindrance in the nerve at the back of the eye and blocks the nerves ability to communicate information to the brain.

What are Symptoms?

·         Partial Blindness

·         Complete Blindness

·         Pain in the eye(s)

What are some different causes of retrobulbar neuritits?

·         Allergies

·         Chemical Exposure

·         Adverse Reactions to Drugs

·         Multiple Sclerosis

·         Bacterial or Viral Infections

In the workplace the most obvious cause of retrobulbar neuritis is due to exposure to hazardous or irritating chemicals.

What are some chemicals that have been known to cause retrobulbar neuritis?

·         Lead

·         Quinine

·         Arsenic

·         Antibiotics

·         Poisonous or toxic gases

In general, women inexplicably have a higher susceptibility to retrobulbar neuritis than men.  Retrobulbar neuritis is slightly different from papillitis as papillitis is the result of a swollen optic disk.  Individuals with retrobulbar neuritis do not have a swollen optic disk.

How do doctors test for retrobulbar neuritis?

Typically doctors will perform neuroimaging.  Many times a gadolinium enhanced MRI is performed to diagnose retrobulbar neuritis.

If you believe you might have retrobulbar neuritis due to chemical exposure in the workplace, you should get an individual consultation with a doctor of your choice.

An experienced Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you of your rights to use your own doctor and can protect you from employers attempting to avoid their obligations.

Shoulder Injury

Shoulder injuries are some of the most commonly suffered injuries by employees in the workplace.  Within that category, one of the most frequent shoulder injuries is the torn rotator cuff.

Slip and Fall Injury

Frequently we hear about slip and fall cases at a grocery store or in a public place, but we don’t usually hear about slip and falls that occur in the workplace.  The fact that workers are literally dropping left and right in restaurants, hospitals, and warehouses should come as no surprise.

With the ever growing trend to optimize return on investment, commercial establishments are letting safety in the workplace fall by the wayside in an attempt to increase profits.

This approach not only leaves employees exposed to potential injury, but also any persons visiting these establishments.  Employees with a better awareness surrounding slip and fall injuries, coupled with the gall to pursue compensation for the same, can deter employers from “stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime.”

If an injury occurs at an employer’s place of business, something needs to be done to not only provide recourse to the injured person, but also to protect future victims from the same type of harm.

The potential workplace hazards that pose slip and fall risks are present and widespread.  Many workers who experience a slip and fall at work are unaware of their rights and often miss out on compensation after suffering injuries from the falls.

If you are injured at your workplace from a slip and fall, or if you are a patron injured at a commercial establishment, we’d like to hear your story.  We will get you the recovery you are entitled to, and if the situation lends to it, we will ensure that the employer implements necessary safeguards to prevent these occurrences from happening in the future.

<

Spinal Cord Injury

Stroke

A stroke occurs when blood flow to your brain is hindered or obstructed which results in deprivation of oxygen to the brain.  Even just a few seconds of oxygen deprivation to brain tissue can cause catastrophic damage in the cerebral region such as necrosis of the brain tissue and even death in severe cases.

Strokes often result from clogging of arteries due to plaque build-up or from a blood vessel bursting.  When an artery is clogged, it is clinically referred to as an ischemic stroke.  The World Heart Federation states that approximately 80% of all strokes are Ischemic.

The other type of stroke that occurs when a blood vessel bursts is called an hemorrhagic stroke. Hemorrhagic strokes are typically caused by an aneurysm, or blood vessels that are diseased and/or have weak walls.

One of the most common arteries that contributes to strokes is the carotid artery.  That’s the artery that is found in the neck region.  For some off reason this artery accumulates an inordinate amount of fat.  This fat narrows the path which blood (and oxygen) can flow. In addition to fatty deposits blocking arteries, a blood clot can also be responsible for blocking the same.

Many studies provide a potential method of preventing strokes.  These studies suggest that one of the most effective treatments may be tocotrienols and tocopherols (natural vitamin E).  The tocotrienols and tocopherols appears to play a role in naturally cleaning the carotid artery of plaque.  In some cases, however, the carotid artery is severely diseased and the infected person will inevitably suffer from a stroke.

Vision Loss

When an individual loses there vision, usually it is attributable to three direct causes that may arise from a variety of different stimuli.

Those three direct causes are: 1) issues with the retina, such as abnormalities or injuries; 2) issues that impede nerve signals between the brain and the eye; and 3) abnormal clouding or cataracts in the eye structure that impair vision.

Our ability to see is based wholly on light passing into the back of the eye, so the brain can process the image that is perceived.  When the passage of light is hindered, an individual loses the ability to see.  The bottom line is that light has to be able to reach the retina for an individual to be able to have clear vision, or any vision for that matter.

There are other situations where disorders or accidents can cause impairment in the areas of the brain that process the visual signals or interpret visual impulses.

What are some Examples of causes of Vision Loss?

·         Glaucoma – glaucoma is pressure in the eye that is derived from an overabundance of fluid in the eye.  Surgery can alleviate the problems if performed early enough in the process

·         Cataracts – Cataracts make up the leading cause of blindness in the world.  Cataracts are caused by clumping of proteins in the eye which hinder light from passing through the retina, thereby limiting one’s ability to see clearly.  Typically doctors can restore vision by performing cataract surgery

·         Refractive Errors – There are numerous refractive errors.  This includes the everyday problems arising with eyesight, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and other issues.  These errors are caused by the improper refraction of light to the retina—without concentrated light on the retina, individuals will suffer from blurred vision or inability to perceive clearly

·         Macular Degeneration – Macular degeneration occurs when the layers of the macular area are affected by degeneration.  Debris begins to form under these atrophied photoreceptors causing individuals to lose the ability to process images.  To date, science has not discovered a viable cure for macular degeneration

With respect to workers compensation claims, one of the most common causes for vision loss occurs from accidents in the workplace.  Injuries at work occur frequently–the institute of health states that approximately 2000 people are treated for eye trauma or eye injuries that were sustained in the workplace.  Specifically, contact with sharp or blunt objects or hazardous chemicals that are harmful to the eyes can be a cause of vision loss as a result of a work injury.

Vision loss in the workplace often occurs as a result of chemical or toxic exposure.  Vision loss occurring from exposure to chemicals is ripe for compensation under the Missouri Workers’ Comp Statutes.

If you, or a family member, are suffering from vision loss due to a work accident or work-related cause, please contact one of our Missouri workers compensation lawyers now to learn more about your rights.

Work-Related Car Wreck

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) around 1.3 million people die from car wrecks each year.  That amounts to almost 3,300 deaths per day.  In the United States there are approximately 37,000 fatalities a year as a result of car crashes.

Because majority of Missouri individuals work during the course of the week, many of these car accidents will inevitably occur during work hours.

This raises the question as to what are an individual’s rights after suffering from a work-related car accident.  Do you have additional rights because an accident happened while you were at work?  Is your employer liable for the damages that you suffered? Can anyone else be liable for the damages you have suffered from the crash?

These are all legitimate questions, so how do you know the answer?

Like many legal questions, the answer depends on the specific facts surrounding the incident.

If the car accident occurred during work hours and the individual was considered to be in the course and scope of his/her employment, then there is potential recovery from the employer on the basis of the workman’s compensation statutes. This is possible regardless of who is at fault during the accident.  That means that even if the worker/driver was negligent during the car accident, there is still potential grounds for the driver to recover against the employer under the Missouri worker’s comp statutes.

There also may be other avenues of recovery such as from a negligent third party who causes the accident.  For example, if a driver/non-worker/third party is going too fast for conditions and causes an accident, the worker may be able to seek compensation from his/her employer and also may be able to seek compensation from the third party who negligently caused the car accident.

There are many nuances, and the above explanations are simple explanations that cannot fully take into account the variety possible situations that could occur.  It is highly advised that you consult with an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation attorney to find answers to these questions and to fully and properly pursue your rights under Missouri workers comp laws.

7 Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries on Construction Sites

The construction industry is responsible for the largest quantity of workers compensation claims out of any other industry.

A study from 2002, which was conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, shows that the construction industry had the most missed days of work per year compared to other industries, as a result of occupational injuries or illnesses.

Injuries in Workplace - Missed Days of WorkThe above chart is reproduced using numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website, and shows the following missed days of work, using a sample of 10,000 full-time workers. See http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2004/mar/wk4/art05.htm

The statistics do not lie.  You can clearly see that the construction industry is particularly chock full of dangers that can cause injury to workers, which consequentially causes absence from work.

This is true because in the construction industry, workers are often dealing with heavy, powerful machinery.  When the stakes are high like that, the slip of a finger has the potential of causing a catastrophic accident.

If this happens, or even if it’s a minor accident, construction workers need to know their rights regarding compensation from their employers, as well as compensation rights regarding third parties that may be liable.

This website is filled with information designed to inform construction workers about their rights regarding workers’ compensation claims as well as safety tips to prevent these accidents and injuries from occurring in the first place.

This article specifically focuses on a number of common compensable injuries or accidents that occur on construction sites, their statistics, and it serves to alert the general public about the need for safety procedures and OSHA compliance in such situations.

In 2014, approximately 1 in every 5 worker fatalities in the private sector occurred in the construction context. 

OSHA specifically cautions employers about the “Fatal Four” types of accidents on construction projects:

  • Falls
  • Electrocutions
  • Struck by Object
  • Caught in/between

While these are the most fatal, there are a number of other common accidents that occur on construction sites, which will be discussed below.

1. Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding accidents can arise from collapsing scaffolding, objects falling from the scaffolding, or even from workers falling from heights, especially if the scaffolding is greatly elevated.

When the occupation requires the use of scaffolding at great heights, injuries can be very serious, and the aftermath can be devastating for the injured worker and his family.

If you are injured from a fall from heights, or if  you are a victim of a scaffolding collapse, you likely have recourse, and you should retain an attorney immediately to protect your rights.Scaffolding & birds

Depending on the cause of the accident, the employee may be able to seek compensation from his/her employer or from a third party who was negligent in constructing or maintaining the scaffolding.

In the event that an innocent bystander is injured in a scaffolding accident, that person has numerous options to recover for his/her loss. The statutory limitations governing Missouri Workers’ Compensation claims would not likely apply (assuming the innocent bystander’s injuries did not arise out of the course and scope of employment).

Liability may be easier to prove if OSHA violations are present (also recovery may be greater pursuant to Missouri statute).

Because the use of scaffolding poses so many dangers, OSHA regulations are also stricter.

Employers should implement safety procedures that ensure compliance with the requirements set forth by OSHA, and Employees should take care to follow the regulations.

If you think OSHA violations may be present on the work site, contact one of our attorneys to find out your rights.

2. Electrocution

On average, electrical accidents claim a minimum of 150 lives each year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The three most common causes for fatal accidents as a result of electrocution in the workplace arise from:

  1. Overhead power lines
  2. Wiring involving transformers and other electrical work
  3. Contact with electrically powered machines or tools

The statistics provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which were later compiled and organized by the Electrical Safety Foundation International, show an incredibly lopsided amount of electrical injuries occurring in the construction industry over any other industry.Electrical Fatalities by Industry

The construction industry dwarves all other industries with respect to fatalities resulting from an electrical accidents or electrocution. In fact, the construction industry accounts for more than 3 times the fatalities of the closest competing industry.

Additionally, it may come as a surprise, but many of the electrical accidents that are seen on construction projects come from the use of a crane and contact with overhead powerlines.  In fact, from 1992 to 2006, nearly 1/3rd of the 323 crane deaths involved overhead power line electrocutions.

Electrical accidents and electrocution can be serious and can clearly be fatal. Any construction worker dealing with electrical components or wiring should always ensure that OSHA safety procedures are followed.

In the event that an employer does not have an OSHA-compliant procedure in place, you should educate yourself on the regulations and be sure to comply for your own safety.

Additionally, you should take any necessary measures to prevent potential harm to yourself or your co-workers by reporting these issues to management or to the Division of Labor if management has deaf ears.  Make sure to document any complaints or communications regarding any OSHA violations.

If you or a family member is injured as a result of electrocution, you should contact a workers comp attorney immediately as your right to recover may be subject to certain time restrictions.

3. Crane Accidents

From 1992 to 2006, approximately 323 construction workers were fatally injured in crane accidents.

It doesn’t take statistics, however, to know that a crane can be an exceptionally powerful piece of equipment that can cause a lot of damage.  Construction crews use it to erect enormous skyscrapers and mobilize large materials to heights that would be impossible without the crane’s assistance.

However, this great power can also breed extremely dangerous situations for individuals working on the construction project.

Because cranes are so large and unwieldy, workers sometimes have difficulty controlling its movement, and people can be severely or fatally injured in certain circumstances.

Far Away Cranes at DuskObviously, the proper safety procedure can minimize these damages, but there will inevitably be workers who suffer the consequences of a crane accident.

These injuries are particularly ripe for recovery when they occur on a worksite, as the employer usually has insurance that will take responsibility for payment of any successful workers compensation claims.

In the event, that you are faced with such a situation, contact one of our construction accident attorneys as soon as possible.

4. Back Injuries

A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor showed that on average over 1,000,000 workers experienced back injuries per year.

The back is composed of a number of different muscles including the Trapezius, Deltoid, Infraspinatus, Teres Major, Teres Minor, and the Rhomboid Major.  Any of these areas are susceptible to injury, but OSHA states that on average 80% of back injuries occur in the lower back.

What types of movements in the workplace can cause back injury?

There are a number of movements that can cause back injuries including any or all of the following:

  • Twisting from side to side
  • Placing objects that have any appreciable amount of weight
  • Lifting
  • Carrying heavy objects
  • Operating heavy machinery

If you strain or pull a back muscle, you could be debilitated indefinitely, depending on the severity of the injury.

As noted above, these types of injuries occur more frequently on construction projects because of the manual labor involved, heavy lifting, as well as the involvement of machinery or tools that can cause strain to the back. Looking at the numbers gathered by OSHA, we see that it is not uncommon for a worker to face this type of injury.

Back Injuries 1,000,000 Per YearIf you require serious medical work, such as back surgery or rehabilitation as a result of a workplace injury, it is especially important to immediately contact an attorney because the quality of your medical treatment may not rise to the appropriate standard if the employer is responsible for choosing the physician.

Please contact one of our worker’s compensation lawyers to learn about your rights and potential means of recovery.

5. Repetitive Stress Injury

Depending on the worker’s responsibility on the construction site, many positions in the construction industry lend to repetitive bodily motions.  These repetitive bodily motions can cause trauma to the worker, resulting in his/her injury or incapacitation.

A number of different jobs in the construction field can result in this elevated trauma which focuses the stress on a specific body part, and ultimately leads to injury.

Although the most prevalent repetitive stress injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, the construction industry is filled with injuries from repeated trauma to certain targeted or susceptible parts of the body.

St. Louis Arch at SunriseSome repetitive stress injuries arise from repeated use of heavy machinery like a jackhammer or other equipment or tools that call for continuous and/or strenuous exercise over a period of time.

One more common example is when a carpenter is required to continuously use a hammer or power tools. If the carpenter is injured, s/he most likely has a reasonable shot at succeeding in a workers comp claim. The facts of each case should be evaluated by a knowledgeable attorney before determining the validity of your workman’s comp claim. 

Repetitive stress injuries vary widely, and each specific case should be evaluated by a competent workers’ compensation attorney.

If you believe you are suffering from a repetitive stress injury, please contact one of our lawyers today.

7. Accident Involving Vehicles or Heavy Machinery

From 1992 to 2010 there were a little over 400 deaths per year on construction sites on average, which resulted from vehicle accidents and heavy machinery/equipment.

Many of these deaths were not simply the result of a car accident or heavy equipment colliding with a worker.  The machinery and vehicles fatally injured workers in a number of different ways, including collisions between two vehicles, accidents involving one vehicle, laborers getting caught “in between” or the laborer is struck by the vehicle or machinery and wounded.

Vehicle Accident (Car Turned Over)In any case, the use of vehicles and heavy machinery on a construction site can pose serious dangers. As such, it is important for employers to implement a strict safety checklist for the workers to follow.  Failure to train laborers or to implement important safety procedures can unnecessarily put the employees in harm’s way.

In fact, from 2008 to 2010, laborers suffered the most fatal accidents out of any other occupation on construction sites amounting in approximately 63 fatalities over the three year period.  During that time period, construction managers were the most protected on the construction site with a mere 5 fatalities.

Accidents involving heavy machinery are common.  However, this does not have to be the case.  After reviewing the statistics, laborers and other individuals working on construction projects should recognize the great risk that machinery and vehicles pose when working in the construction field.

Noting this danger, workers should educate themselves on the proper safety protocol and take necessary precautions to prevent injuries to themselves and their co-workers.   OSHA has a vast amount of material that directs employers and employees on the suggested actions when involved in dangerous situations on a construction site.

Men & Excavator at DuskFor those that are involved in an vehicle or machinery accident, you may have rights to compensation from your employer based on the Missouri workers’ compensation statutes. You may also have a claim against a third party for negligence or some other cause of action that would allow you recover outside the limitations of the workers’ comp statutes.

If you are the victim of an accident involving a vehicle or heavy machinery, our attorneys would like to hear your story.  We can help you protect your rights.

7. Building Collapse

There are vacant buildings all over the St. Louis area, and as St. Louis continues to grow, these buildings are demolished and replaced with new structures.

The act of reconstructing a dilapidated building, however, can be an extremely dangerous process.

Demolition of BuildingOn top of that, many construction projects are lacking the necessary safety protocol, thereby subjecting the workers to unnecessary harm.

Accordingly, when dealing with construction on an old building, construction workers have to be on high alert because the potential injuries could be catastrophic.

In addition to the danger of the building collapsing, often times the deconstruction of a building requires the use of large machinery.  As we’ve seen from a number of the statistics cited in this article, which are derived mostly from OSHA studies, the use of large machinery creates a threat of potential worker endangerment.

For that very reason, employers need to have safety procedures in place and should be complying with OSHA regulations at all times. 

For those employers that fail to do so, the consequences may be severe, as the statute allows a worker to recover the ordinary amount plus additional amounts if the employer is found to be in violation of certain laws or regulations—contact a workers comp attorney to see if your situation qualifies.

Alternatively, if you have suffered an injury from a negligent worker or due to inadequate or improper safety procedures by your employer, please contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation.

References

http://files.esfi.org/file/Electrical-Safety-Then-and-Now.pdf

https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

http://ehs.okstate.edu/training/oshaback.htm

http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2004/mar/wk4/art05.htm

http://www.nccco.org/docs/default-source/crane-safety-studies/crane-related-deaths-in-construction-and-recommendations-for-their-prevention.pdf?sfvrsn=0

http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/osh/os/osch0054.pdf

http://www.cpwr.com/sites/default/files/publications/CB%20page%2046.pdf

Missouri Workers’ Comp Attorney Answers FAQs

Missouri workers’ Compensation laws are complex and extensive. If you suffer from a workplace injury, you should always consult competent legal counsel who can help you navigate through the workers’ comp claim process.

The statutes often have strict requirements, and an injured worker’s compensation depends on properly complying with the same. If the proper paperwork or proper procedure is not followed, the employee could be left with no remedy.

Below is a general overview of Missouri Workers’ Compensation law as well as a description of occupational disease and how it applies to workers.

This information should be used merely as a resource to familiarize yourself with the Workers’ Comp process:

The information contained in this article and throughout this website should not construed as legal advice. The authors of this website make no representation as to the accuracy, completeness, or applicability of any of the information cited herein. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Always consult with an attorney who can evaluate the specific facts of your case.

Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law Generally

What are the first steps I should take after a Work Related Accident?

Employees should strongly consider hiring an attorney immediately after a work-related accident occurs.  An employee has a short timeline to alert the employer in writing immediately after an injury occurs in the workplace.

An employee has up to 30 days to report from the time the accident occurred.

The applicable statutory section is R.S.Mo. § 287.420 and states the following in relevant part:

“No proceedings for compensation for any accident under this chapter shall be maintained unless written notice of the time, place and nature of the injury, and the name and address of the person injured, has been given to the employer no later than thirty days after the accident, unless the employer was not prejudiced by failure to receive the notice.”  R.S.Mo. § 287.420 (2016).
Back to top

How is Accident Defined in the Workers’ Compensation Statutes?

Accident is defined as “an unexpected traumatic event or unusual strain identifiable by time and place of occurrence and producing at the time objective symptoms of an injury caused by a specific event during a single work shift.” R.S.Mo. § 287.020.2 (2016).

Back to top

How is an Injury Defined in the Workers’ Compensation Statutes?

Injury is defined under the Workers’ Comp statutes as: “an injury which has arisen out of and in the course of employment” R.S.Mo. § 287.020.3(1) (2016).

The statute goes further by describing when an injury by accident is compensable: “only if the accident was the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability.” R.S.Mo. § 287.020.3(1) (2016).

Back to top

What is an Injury resulting from an Idiopathic Cause?

Idiopathic is defined as an illness or disease in which the cause is uncertain or undetermined.

Back to top

Are Injuries resulting from an Idiopathic Cause Compensable?

No.  In fact, Chapter 287 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, Worker’s Compensation Law, has a specific exclusion for injuries resulting from idiopathic causes.  Thus, an injury for which there is no known cause or in which the cause is uncertain would fall under the category of an idiopathic injury and therefore would not qualify as a compensable injury under the Missouri Workers’ Comp Statutes.

The applicable statute plain and simply states: “An injury resulting directly or indirectly from idiopathic causes is not compensable.” R.S.Mo. § 287.020.3(3) (2016).

Back to top

When does an injury arise out of the Course and Scope of Employment?

An injury arises out of the course and scope of employment when:

“(a) It is reasonably apparent, upon consideration of all the circumstances, that the accident is the prevailing factor in causing the injury; and

(b) It does not come from a hazard or risk unrelated to the employment to which workers would have been equally exposed outside of and unrelated to the employment in normal nonemployment life.” R.S.Mo. § 287.020.3(2) (2016).

Back to top

Are there Special Rules for Reporting Occupational Disease or Repetitive Trauma Claims?

The date differs from an ordinary workplace accident in that the report needs to be made within 30 days from the date that the condition was diagnosed, rather than from the accident date.  R.S.Mo. § 287.420 (2016).

Back to top

Notice

What Happens if the Employee Fails to give Timely Notice of the Injury?

In such a case, the Employer can assert a lack of notice defense.  If that happens, the employee has the burden of proving that the lack of notice or delayed notice did not prejudice the employer (or insurance company).

Back to top

What are the Reasons for the Workers’ Comp Notice Statutes?

There are several reasons, but the following are the most important:

  1. Give the employer an opportunity to provide medical attention to the employee to mitigate damages;
  2. Expedite the resolution of any workers’ comp claims by prompting the employer to file an injury report with the Division of Workers’ Compensation;
  3. Gives the employer notice so that it can investigate the matter.

Back to top

Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim

What is a Formal Claim in the Workers’ Compensation Context?

A formal claim is the document that institutes an employee’s claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. It could be compared to a petition in ordinary civil litigation.

It would be well-advised to seek counsel from an experienced attorney when completing the formal claim as it will serve as the framework of the employee’s workers comp claim.   Additionally, the formal claim could be subpoenaed in collateral proceedings (i.e., against a liable third party).  Thus, a wary attorney will make sure that the claim form is fully completed and that the elements are properly alleged.

A blank sample of the form is available at the Missouri Department of Labor’s website: www.labor.mo.gov/DWC/Forms/WC-21-AI.pdf

Back to top

What is the Statute of Limitations on a Workers’ Comp Claim?

Time Limit Triggering Event
2 years within two years after the date of injury or death, or the last payment made under this chapter on account of the injury or death” R.S.Mo. § 287.430 (2016).
3 years “[within three years of injury, death, or last payment] if the report of the injury or the death is not filed by the employer as required by section 287.380” R.S.Mo. § 287.430 (2016).

*The statutes set out a nuance in the triggering event if the workers’ comp claim is for an occupational disease.  See below for more information on the statute of limitations for occupational diseases. 

Back to top

Where do I mail a Completed Workers’ Compensation Claim Form in Missouri?

You should mail your completed worker’s comp form and any applicable documentation to the following address:

Division of Worker’s Compensation, P.O. Box 58, Jefferson City, MO 65102

Back to top

Is an Employee Required to Submit to a Medical Examination if s/he is making a Work Accident Claim?

Yes, if the employer requests that the employee submit to a medical examination.

“After an employee has received an injury he shall from time to time thereafter during disability submit to reasonable medical examination at the request of the employer, the employer’s insurer, the commission, the division, an administrative law judge or the attorney general…” R.S.Mo. § 287.210 (2016).

Back to top

Where does the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Commission hold Oral Arguments?

The oral arguments are held in Jefferson City, Missouri, but the Commission may approve oral argument via video conferencing from Kansas City, Springfield, or St. Louis, Missouri.

See https://molabor.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/283045-where-does-the-commission-hear-oral-arguments

Back to top

If I am Seeking a Hardship, Can my Case be Expedited?

Yes.

In fact, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has a specific procedure in place in which they specifically filter out the hardship cases, prepare the transcript expeditiously, and shorten the amount of time it takes to get the case resolved.

See https://molabor.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/283025-how-does-the-commission-expedite-hardship-cases-in for a more specific description of the process of handling expedited worker’s compensation claims.

Back to top

Does an Employee have the Right to receive a copy of any Written Statement made by the Employee?

Yes, if the employer wants to use the statement in any hearing or action to recover benefits under Missouri Worker’s Compensation law.

Pursuant to R.S.Mo. § 287.215, the employer must produce the written statement within 30 days of request by the employee, dependents in the case of death, or their attorney. R.S.Mo. § 287.215 (2016).

Back to top

Employer Responsibilities

Does my Employer have to report my Work Accident?

Yes.

The employer must report the accident or injury within 30 days after it learns of the same (if the injury requires the employer to provide medical aid beyond basic first-aid treatment).

The applicable statutory language is contained in Missouri Revised Statute section 287.380, and states the following, in pertinent part:

“Every employer or his insurer in this state …shall within thirty days after knowledge of the injury, file with the division…a full and complete report …of every injury or death to any employee for which the employer would be liable to furnish medical aid, other than immediate first aid which does not result in further medical treatment or lost time from work…” R.S.Mo. § 287.380 (2016).

Back to top

What does an Employer have to Include in its Workplace Injury Report to the Division of Workers’ Compensation?

All Injury Reports must include:

  • name of person injured,
  • address,
  • date of birth and
  • wages of the deceased or injured employee,
  • the time and cause of the accident,
  • the nature and extent of the injury,
  • the name and address of the employee’s and the employer’s or insurer’s attorney of record (if any)
  • the medical cost incurred in treating the injured employee,
  • the amount of lost work time of the employee as a result of the injury and
  • such other information as the director may require. R.S.Mo. 287.380 (2016).

Back to top

How long does an employer have to report a Workplace Injury to its Insurance Company?

An employer has 5 days to report a workplace accident to its insurance company.

The applicable statute states the following, in pertinent part:

“Employers shall report all injuries to their insurance carrier, or third-party administrators, if applicable, within five days of the date of the injury or within five days of the date on which the injury was reported to the employer by the employee, whichever is later.” R.S.Mo. § 287.380 (2016).

If the claim is timely made to the insurer, then the insurer is responsible for preparing the Injury Report to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. R.S.Mo. § 287.380 (2016).

Back to top

Settlement Agreements in Workers’ Compensation Context

Can an Employer and Employee enter into a Settlement Agreement in a Worker’s Compensation Case?

Yes. However there are certain conditions that must be satisfied for the settlement agreement to be valid and enforceable:

  1. The administrative law judge must approve the agreement; and
  2. “No such agreement shall be valid unless made after seven days from the date of the injury or death.” R.S.Mo. § 287.390 (2016).

Back to top

What are 3 questions an Administrative Law Judge must ask when approving a Settlement Agreement?

  1. Was the settlement the result of undue influence or fraud?
  2. Does the employee fully understand his or her rights and benefits?
  3. Did the employee voluntarily agree to accept the terms of the settlement agreement?

R.S.Mo. § 287.390 (2016).

Back to top

Occupational Disease

What is an Occupational Disease?

An occupational disease is defined as: “an identifiable disease arising with or without human fault out of and in the course of the employment.” R.S.Mo. § 287.067.1 (2016).

Back to top

What are the elements to prove an Occupational Disease in a Workers’ Comp Claim?

There must be some type of causation between the exposure that occurred on the job and the medical condition and disability.

The applicable statute is R.S.Mo. § 287.067.2 (2016), and the operative language is: “if the occupational exposure was the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability”

Back to top

How is “Prevailing Factor” defined as it pertains to an Occupational Disease in the Workers’ Comp Context?

Prevailing factor is defined as the “primary factor, in relation to any other factor, causing both the resulting medical condition and disability.” R.S.Mo. § 287.067.3 (2016).

The statute further defines prevailing factor by identifying what is not compensable: “Ordinary, gradual deterioration, or progressive degeneration of the body caused by aging or by the normal activities of day-to-day living [does not provide for a valid workers’ comp claim on the basis of an occupational disease].”  R.S.Mo. § 287.067.3 (2016).

Back to top

What are some Injuries or Disease that are Compensable under Missouri Workers’ Compensation Statutes?

Back to top

Appeals

How does the Missouri Department of Labor Determine the Filing Date of your Appeal?

The filing date is whatever date that is postmarked on the appeal.  If there is no postmark, it is the date that the appeal is received in the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations office.

Back to top

How long do I have to Appeal after the Administrative Law Judge’s Award?

After an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) issues a worker’s comp award, you have 20 days to appeal.

Back to top

Who Reviews the Appeal of the Administrative Law Judge?

The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission will typically rule on your appeal.

Back to top