What Is My Missouri Workers Compensation Case Worth?
Under Missouri workers compensation law, there are several types of benefits that you may be entitled to receive as a result of your covered injury.
Generally speaking, and as discussed on Work Comp Benefits page from your Missouri workers comp lawyer, there are several types of benefits available.
The worker compensation system in Missouri uses equations to calculate most of the various benefits that are available. These equations are based on the rules that an injured worker is limited to specific, statutorily-scheduled benefits which are usually calculated through an equation. This does not mean they are simple. There is often a lot of disputes between lawyers for injured workers and the insurance defense lawyers about ratings of injuries.
The basis for most benefits in the MO workers compensation system is the compensation rate (or “comp rate”). The compensation rate is a function of the employee’s average weekly wage.
Section 287.250 of the Missouri workers compensation statutes set out how an employee’s average weekly wage is calculated.
The injured worker’s average weekly wage is calculated by reviewing the 13 weeks prior to the date of injury (assuming you had been working for the employer for more than 13 weeks on the date of injury).
Your average weekly wage (or AWW) is calculated by taking your wages earned during the 13 weeks before the injury and add those weeks up and then divide by 13. If you hadn’t been working for the employer for a full 13 weeks, then your total wages are added up and divided by the number of weeks that you did work for that employer.
Once this calculation is complete, you have the AWW. An employee can use this figure to begin the calculation for most benefits recoverable in a Missouri worker related injury.
The next step is to determine the applicable compensation rate for the type of benefits being analyzed. As a general rule, the compensation rate is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage as of the date of injury up to a certain maximum amount.
There are maximum amounts adjusted each year. They are different for permanent partial disability than from temporary total disability, permanent total disability, or death benefits.
This calculator can help you determine your compensation rate for the various benefits available under the Missouri Workers Compensation law:
Permanent Partial Disability
Disability Schedule and Benefit Limits – WC-110-AI-3
Permanent Partial Disability is calculated in Missouri using a three-variable equation:
[Compensation Rate] x [Level] x [percentage of disability] = [Permanent Partial Disability Award]
The first variable, compensation rate, is described above. The “level” of the injury is the part of the body suffering the disability. The Missouri Division of Worker’s Compensation has a chart which shows the “values” that were assigned to the various body parts by the legislature when it crafted workers compensation law.
The second variable when calculating a Permanent Partial Disability Award is level. It is important to determine which body part is at issue. The general rule is that you use the body part on the leg, foot, arm, or hand if applicable. If the injury does not fit within one of the “scheduled” levels, then the disability can be analyzed based on the whole person (sometimes called “Body as a Whole”).
The final variable is the percentage of disability. This is a percentage that is usually set by a medical expert. It is not uncommon for experts to disagree on the correct percentage of disability and there are many times with an Administrative Law Judge must review the evidence in a Hearing to make a determination of the proper percentage of disability.
Once all three variables are determined, the equation is a simple matter of multiplication. With minor injuries, you may not need an attorney. If you have had a surgery you will almost always do much better, even after paying the attorney fee from your settlement, than you would without an attorney.
You are entitled to Permanent Partial Disability injuries for your permanent injuries. You will be entitled to compensation for your permanent total disability if you are unable to work any job after the injury.
If you’ve had a relatively minor injury, sprain, strain, maybe a couple of stitches in your hand, or something like that, you probably don’t need a lawyer. You can most likely get a decent settlement on your own and it’s not worth hiring an attorney. However, if you have had a surgery, you are better off hiring a Missouri Workers Comp Lawyer.
There are certain situations and circumstances in which you should certainly think about hiring an attorney. If you’ve had a situation where you’ve been unable to work for an extended period of time, again, if you’ve had a surgery or you’re going to need future surgery, future medical care, if you were injured in a car accident while on company time, the injury due to a third party maybe, maybe it’s not a car accident maybe it’s something else where you’ve got a claim against someone other than your employer, that’s certainly something that you need to look at hiring a Missouri Workers Compensation attorney for.
If you would like more information about the Missouri Work Comp process, please request my FREE ebook report Understanding Your Missouri Workers Compensation Case.
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If you or a family member was injured at work or in an on the job accident, The Krebs Law Firm LLC offers a free case evaluation if you have questions. Many people may be worried that they do not have the money to pay for a work comp attorney when they were injured at work. But, we only handle work comp, accident cases, and Social Security Cases on a contingent fee basis. In other words, there is no fee unless we are successful in getting you the benefits that you deserve. Simply call (417) 883-5886 or statewide 1-800-345-0535 for your free case evaluation today.