Springfield Rehabilitation Lawyers
Standing Up for the Rights of Injured Workers in Missouri
After a job-related injury, workers' compensation insurance should cover your medical bills and lost wages from your injuries. However, many injuries can have long-term effects and cause physical limitations that make it difficult to work or engage in usual daily activities. In addition to providing financial compensation for your costs of treatment, the Missouri Department of Labor (DOL) also works to facilitate the rehabilitation of injured workers so they can become self-supporting as soon as possible. If you are interested in learning more about your rights to rehabilitation benefits as part of a work injury case, contact our workers' compensation lawyers in Missouri right away.
In certain situations, the Missouri DOL will supervise physical rehabilitation for seriously injured workers. A worker might be eligible for rehabilitation benefits from the Second Injury Fund if they are receiving rehabilitative therapy in a state-approved facility, and they have one of the following conditions:
- Foot, leg, hand, or arm amputation
- Atrophy due to non-use or nerve damage
- Back injuries that cannot be treated by surgery or other medical procedures
- Crush injuries classified as severe
- Severe burn injuries
Rehabilitation benefits may be available to eligible workers for up to 20 weeks or longer in rare situations.
The Division of Workers' Compensation also administers a program for the vocational rehabilitation of severely injured workers. When the Division identifies a worker who might qualify, it will provide a vocational assessment. This assessment will include many components, including:
- Review of medical records and physician restrictions and ratings
- Demographic and family background
- Educational history
- Work experience
- Current and past injuries
- Functional limitations
- Daily activities
- Results of a vocational test
- Ability to work assessment
- Determination whether the worker needs vocational rehabilitation services
After the assessment is complete, and if the Division of Workers' Compensation decides the worker qualifies for services, the Division will create a vocational rehabilitation plan. The plan can involve:
- Estimated earning abilities if the worker completes the plan
- Whether the worker will stay with the same employer with the same job, a modified job at the same employer, a new job at a different employer, or other scenarios
- Vocational goals for the worker
- Responsibilities of the worker and rehabilitation consultant
- Time frame of the rehabilitation program
- Coordination of physical rehabilitation, vocational counseling, skill training, independent living, job placement, and other services
Qualifying for this rehabilitative program can benefit many seriously injured workers who need additional services to return to work.
Discuss Your Claim with a Missouri Workers' Compensation Lawyer Today
Even if your medical expenses are covered and you receive wage replacement benefits from workers' compensation insurance, you still might want to determine if you qualify for rehabilitation services from the State of Missouri. At The Law Firm of Webster & Carlton, our Missouri workers' compensation attorneys can help with every aspect of your claim.
If you want to discuss your legal rights, please contact us to schedule a free consultation at our office in Springfield or Joplin today.
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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