Every business in the state of Missouri that has over five employees is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. If you own a construction business in the Show Me State, you must have worker’s compensation insurance even if you have just one employee. Many small businesses carry this valuable insurance even though the law does not require it of them. 

According to Hipskind & McAninch, LLC  – St Louis Workers Compensation Attorney, when a company does not have workers’ compensation insurance, it can be sued by an employee who is injured on the job. This can be very costly, especially if a company employs workers who do physical labor.

Worker’s compensation will help pay for medical bills, lost salary, and future health care costs. The employee may also be entitled to either full or partial disability benefits. It can pay for funeral expenses if an employee dies on the job. 

History of Worker’s Compensation

Some sort of legally required compensation for injuries at work has been around for a long time. In 2050 BC, Ancient Sumeria required workers to be paid for their injuries. 

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When the industrial revolution came along, workers started getting injured on the job quite often because the equipment was new and the working conditions were cramped and dangerous. Workers had few rights. If a worker made any kind of mistake to cause their injury, if a co-worker caused their injury, or if they applied for a job involving risk, the company they worked for was not considered culpable if they got injured.

In 1884, Prussia put the Workers’ Accident Insurance system into place. It required employers to pay for workers’ injuries, and it forbade employees from suing their employers for those injuries. This law would inspire the rest of Europe and the United States to create similar laws. 

Georgia and Alabama were two of the first states to enact laws mandating compensation for injured workers. Other states soon followed suit. Although employers tried to fight these laws, the Supreme Court ultimately held up states’ rights to protect workers. 

Workers’ compensation laws exist in all states today. It is the best way to ensure workers are taken care of when injured and to avoid lawsuits. It is a benefit to the employees because they no longer have to prove their employer is at fault to get on-the-job injuries paid for.  Employers would rather pay a set amount for insurance than worry about being sued.

What Should I Do if I Am Injured on the Job in Missouri?

If you are injured on the job, you should fill out a report with your company’s human resource department and include the time and the date of the injury. The report should include your name and address, as well as the type of injury you sustained and the manner in which you sustained it.

An employer in the state of Missouri can use a third-party administrator for workers’ compensation insurance, or they can go directly through an insurance company. When you are injured at work, your employer must report your injury to the third-party administrator or the insurance company within five days of the occurrence.

The agent or insurance company will then report the incident to the Division of Workers’ Compensation within 30 days.

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Why You May Need a Lawyer

Even though workers’ compensation laws were enacted to avoid lawsuits and protect workers, some employers don’t comply with the law. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, or they are trying to deny that you were injured on the job, you may need to sue them.

If an employer and employee do not agree on a workers’ compensation issue, they can take the issue to the Division of Dispute Management for the state of Missouri. It is a good idea to be represented by a personal injury attorney who handles workers’ compensation issues if you go before this division. An attorney will have a greater understanding of the law, and they will be able to negotiate with your employers’ attorney and the division’s representative on your behalf.

In some rare cases, you may be able to sue an employer for having an unsafe work environment. If multiple people have been injured at your workplace, you may even want to consider a class-action lawsuit. A personal injury attorney can let you know if you have a valid case.