Public Employees Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Springfield, MO
Public employees are individuals employed by local, state, or federal government entities. These professionals can work in various sectors, such as education and law enforcement, among others. Given their line of work and dealing with the public, these employees can face unique risks and hazards, potentially leading to a range of work-related injuries or illnesses.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an individual who works in the public sector can include an employee of the federal government, a state, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or possession, a city, a municipality, a township, a county, a parish, or a similar government entity.
If you have been injured while on the job or have contracted an occupational disease as a public employee, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Securing these benefits is not always easy; the workers’ compensation system can be complex and challenging. At Webster & Carlton, we have handled tens of thousands of cases related to all aspects of Missouri workers’ comp, from initial claims to appeals. Our team is detail-oriented, thorough, and are proven negotiators and litigators.
Public Employees in Springfield & Statewide
In Missouri, public employees hold a wide array of job roles in diverse industries.
They can include:
- Teachers and educational staff in public schools
- Healthcare workers in public hospitals
- Law enforcement, from police officers to correction officers
- Transit workers managing public transportation systems
- Maintenance workers for public parks
- Firefighters for cities, counties, and municipalities
- Sanitation workers for cities, counties, and municipalities
- Office workers in government administrative departments
Each of these roles involves particular occupational risks, underscoring the need for effective workers’ compensation.
Types of Injuries & Diseases Public Employees Can Sustain
Certain public employees are at a greater risk of injury based on the fact that they work in inherently more dangerous positions. These include firefighters, police officers, correction officers, park rangers, and sanitation workers.
Some threats that these workers face (depending upon the job) include transportation incidents, human and animal attacks, being hit by an object, exposure to dangerous materials, and of course all of the other traditional risks, such as the risk of a slip and fall (which is present in all industries).
The type of injuries or diseases public employees may sustain varies according to their specific job role. For example, law enforcement officers face a high risk of physical trauma, psychological stress, and exposure to hazardous substances. They can sustain gunshot wounds in criminal encounters, injuries from motorcycle or cruiser accidents, as well as resulting strokes or heart attacks brought on by stress.
Hospital workers can be exposed to infectious diseases, sustain back injuries from lifting patients, or cuts and lacerations from needlestick injuries and other sharp objects. They can also suffer emotional burnout from long shifts and in high-stress environments, such as emergency rooms.
Maintenance and transit workers can suffer from musculoskeletal injuries due to heavy lifting, repetitive tasks, or exposure to harmful chemicals. Mental health disorders resulting from high-stress environments can affect public employees across various sectors.
These jobs can lead to serious incidents that leave workers with tragic injuries, including crush injuries, burn injuries, diseases and infections, bone fracture injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, and other loss-of-use injuries. In some cases, accidents may be fatal.
Other public sector employees in less high-risk positions are not immune from injuries. A teacher could be attacked by a student; a government office worker could develop a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel; or a parking enforcement officer could be involved in a serious car accident.
Why Do I Need a Missouri Workers’ Compensation Attorney?A workers’ compensation claim can take several months, even years, to resolve, especially if you continue to suffer from the effects of your work-related injury. Your employer and its insurance company will be represented by highly skilled attorneys who know how to exploit an injured employee. You need to level the playing field by hiring a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer who will fight on your behalf.
What Happens If My Employer Denies Me Workers’ Compensation Benefits?In many cases, your employer or their insurance company will promptly pay any workers’ compensation benefits. But if they deny benefits–or stop paying them before you receive what you believe you are entitled to under the law–then you have the right to file a claim with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. An administrative law judge appointed by the Division will review your claim and either conduct mediation between you and your employer, or alternatively hold a formal hearing to determine your right to compensation.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Covered?
Under Missouri law, workers’ compensation only covers injuries that arise “out of and in the course of employment.” This includes accidents that occur during your work shift. It also includes “occupational diseases” contracted at work, provided workplace exposure was the “prevailing” cause.
Workers’ compensation is not necessarily limited to injuries suffered at your normal workplace. If your job requires you to travel–i.e., make deliveries or conduct on-site work with clients–you may be compensated for injuries sustained in the course of such travel. However, Missouri workers’ compensation law specifically excludes injuries sustained while commuting from home to work and back, even if you use a company-owned car.
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