Most workers who are injured on the job or develop a work-related illness are covered by workers’ compensation insurance paid by their employer. Workers’ compensation pays for medical care, part of lost income, and permanent disability. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system. Injured workers are covered regardless of who caused the accident.
Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for most businesses in Missouri and Illinois. Still, some supervisors try to discourage workers from reporting workplace injuries. Some companies and their insurance providers even try to deny valid claims for medical care and other benefits. If you are running into problems obtaining workers’ compensation benefits after suffering a work-related injury or illness, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer at Sansone, Sumner & Lauber about your legal options.
Workers’ compensation is set up as a no-fault insurance system to provide medical care and benefits to injured workers. But many changes to the law regarding eligibility criteria have made the process more complicated. If your claim for benefits has been disputed or denied, your first step should be to understand your legal rights.
You should have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney review the specific facts of your workplace injury and advise you of your legal options for obtaining benefits. It will not cost you anything to have a workers’ compensation lawyer explain your rights and answer your questions.
A workers’ compensation claim is a legal proceeding and pursuing a claim can be complicated. It is normal for you to feel intimidated by the process and to be confused about how to proceed. As an injured worker, it is stressful to pursue a workers’ comp claim on your own if you are unfamiliar with the process. You do not want to do anything or say anything to jeopardize your claim. You should talk with a lawyer who handles workers’ compensation cases on a regular basis and keeps up with changes in this complex area of law. You have a right to consult with a lawyer at any stage in the process.
If the insurance company has refused to pay bills for authorized medical treatment for a workplace injury or won’t talk with you, our workers’ comp attorneys can request that an administrative law judge order the insurance company or employer, if self-insured, to pay the bills. The Missouri workers’ compensation law, with only a few exceptions, applies to employers that have 5 or more employers and to construction industry companies that employ one or more workers.
We will file a formal claim for compensation to initiate a contested case hearing before an administrative law judge.
We will review your medical records and gather evidence to support your workers’ compensation claim. We can work to help you receive the medical care that you need. In some instances, it may be helpful for you to have an independent medical evaluation to support your injury claim and its effect on your life and ability to return to work.
We will negotiate on your behalf with the workers’ compensation insurer for full benefits. If the insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, we will represent you at the evidentiary hearing before the administrative law judge and guide you through the appeals process.
You may have questions about how you can afford to hire a lawyer. The attorneys at Sansone, Sumner & Lauber, who handle workers’ compensation cases regularly, take cases on a contingency fee basis. You do not owe any upfront payment and no payment unless we secure compensation on your behalf. If we are successful in obtaining compensation for you, then we are paid a percentage of the money we obtain for you as our legal fee. A contingency fee arrangement allows you to have experienced legal representation without upfront expenses when you can least afford them.
Your employer or their workers’ compensation insurer will have lawyers representing their interests. You should have an experienced lawyer advocating on your behalf for the benefits you need to recover after a serious accident.
Any serious workplace injury may keep you out of work for an extended period of time. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Sansone, Sumner & Lauber handle injured workers’ claims in Missouri and Illinois involving many types of workplace accidents including:
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company pays your medical bills and disability payments for work-related injuries. Too often, however, injured workers who try to navigate the workers’ compensation system on their own receive workers’ compensation settlements that are far less than they should receive based on their injuries and lost wages. We can advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.
Most workers’ compensation cases are settled through negotiation without a hearing. For cases in which the parties cannot reach a compromise, an administrative law judge conducts a hearing and determines whether the injured worker is eligible to receive benefits. According to the Missouri Division of Workers Compensation, administrative law judges held more than 1,700 hearings in 2015 and made nearly 800 compensation awards for work-related injuries. Most cases are settled without a formal hearing. Compromise workers’ compensation settlements were approved without formal hearings in nearly 18,000 workers’ cases in Missouri in 2015.
In Illinois, injured workers file 50,000 to 55,000 claims per year with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Most cases are settled. Arbitrators of the commission hold trials of disputed cases at sites across Illinois and issue 3,000 to 4,000 decisions a year. As an injured worker, you have the burden of proof to show that you are entitled to benefits. Therefore, injured workers may wish to seek the guidance of a work injury lawyer to protect their rights and keep track of their claim. Either the employee or the employer may appeal the arbitrator’s decision to the Commission.
Injured workers cannot file a lawsuit against their employer for injuries. In some accidents, however, a third party (other than the employer) may have caused the accident, such as a subcontractor working a a job site or the manufacturer of an unsafe piece of machinery that caused an accident. As part of our investigation of your workers’ compensation claim, we will evaluate the possibility of a third-party lawsuit that can provide compensation to you in addition to workers’ compensation.
Choosing a workers’ compensation attorney is an important decision. You want a lawyer experienced in workers’ compensation law who has represented injured workers and handled appeals in the Missouri and Illinois workers’ compensation system. You want a workers’ comp attorney who knows the law, so that you can focus on your health and recovery. Whether your injury occurred in a workplace accident in Missouri or Illinois, you want a lawyer who knows the system and has handled numerous workers’ compensation claims.
At Sansone, Sumner & Lauber, we have represented dozens of injured workers in Missouri and Illinois and achieved successful outcomes for our clients. Contact us for assistance with your workers’ compensation claim.