Workers are often injured on construction sites or are diagnosed with a disease related to their work. To address the financial needs that arise due to such incidents, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations offers certain monetary benefits under its Workers’ Compensation program.
Therefore, the very first step that affected workers and families need to take after a construction site injury or the diagnosis of a job-related illness is inform the employer about the injury within a period of 30 days so as to obtain the benefits that are available under the Missouri Workers’ Compensation program.
According to existing rules, disabled construction workers can obtain the following benefits:
- Temporary total disability: If a doctor determines that a worker is unable to return to work owing to an injury or to recover from a surgery, that worker is eligible for temporary total disability benefits. These benefits continue until the doctor determines that the worker is fully recovered and is fit to resume normal duty or until the end of the medical treatment—or in other words, when the worker reaches “maximum medical improvement”—whichever of the two is earlier.
- Temporary partial disability: If a worker, after recovering from a work-related injury or illness, rejoins at a pay that is lower than what he or she used to earn earlier, Missouri’s worker’s compensation law requires that worker to be paid temporary partial disability benefits.
- Permanent partial disability: Permanent partial disability benefits are applicable to workers who are able to return to work but the injury or illness has limited that worker’s capability to perform all the duties he or she used to perform earlier, thereby affecting his or her earning capacity.
- Permanent total disability: If the doctor determines that a worker is unable to return to any type of work in any capacity whatsoever, that worker becomes eligible for permanent total disability benefits. If this is the case, the affected worker can either agree to take lifelong weekly payments from the employer and its insurer or opt to settle for a lump-sum payment.
While it is true that the law in Missouri offers workers’ compensation benefits to construction workers in the event of an injury or illness, obtaining the benefits is often a challenging task for victims and their families. Therefore, it may be beneficial for them to seek professional guidance when pursuing a claim.