Has your employer refused your Missouri workers compensation claim?
IF YOU HAVE A DIFFICULT EMPLOYER/BOSS WHO IS FIGHTING YOUR CLAIM, DOCUMENT ALL OF YOUR CONVERSATIONS BY WRITING A SHORT NOTE TO CONFIRM WHAT EVERYONE SAID. DATE IT, SIGN IT, AND GIVE IT TO ALL OF YOUR BOSSES. KEEP COPIES FOR YOUR ATTORNEY.
It’s great to hear a client say that his/her supervisor filled out an incident report and provided the name of a physician for medical care. But that is not always the case. Clients have informed us about situations where supervisors have refused to fill out an incident report because the injury is not severe or because you didn’t know the exact date/time your pain started despite your explaining that the repetitive nature of your job causes your pain every day. Many employee’s feel intimidated by the supervisor and continue working in pain. Others believe the supervisor who said you don’t have a claim if you don’t know the exact date and time. Then you seek treatment from your doctor, but the receptionist won’t schedule an appointment because you said it is a workers’ compensation injury. Or, you seek treatment from your doctor and tell him that it is not a work comp injury (because you believed your supervisor).
To protect yourself and your claim: you can put your claim in writing even though your employer refused to do so. Type a letter or write a note. Confirm that your conversation with your supervisor: “yesterday, on December 10, 2012, I reported a work injury to you. You refused to give me an incident report. I asked for medical care and you refused that too. As I told you, I hurt my back lifting box after box, day after day. You said I didn’t have a workers’ compensation claim because I couldn’t tell you the exact date and time of my injury. I have not hurt my back outside of work. All of my back pain started at work lifting boxes. I have told you in the past my back hurts from lifting boxes and asked for breaks. Again, please send me to a doctor.” Give a copy to his boss and keep a copy yourself. Missouri Workers’ Compensation strictly forbids an employer to retaliate in any way against an employee for pursuing a work comp claim. If you think your supervisor is mad at you for pursuing your claim, type another note: “John, I have always been a hard worker. We have gotten along for years. I have great record here. Recently, and after filing my work comp claim, you and the other bosses are treating me with disrespect. I feel harassed and put down. I believe this is due to my work comp claim and ask that you stop this immediately.” Keep a copy and deliver copies to all of the bosses.
Injuries can be traumatic where the exact date and time are known. Other injuries/pain are caused over time by repetitive work duties: daily sore back from lifting boxes; sore shoulder from overhead work; knee pain from constant squatting. Both types of injuries are valid claims under Missouri Workers Compensation law. Missouri Work Comp law mandates the employer to file a report of injury with the Division of Workers Compensation in Jefferson City for every employee who is injured. For injuries or pain caused by repetitive work conditions, no one knows the exact date. Missouri only requires that you provide the month and year: for example, you’ve been seeing your doctor for 6 months for a sore back. You’ve complained that carrying concrete and tools at work is hard on your back. Finally, in December of 2011, your doctor says for the first time: your work is wearing out your back and causing you pain; yes you have degenerative changes in your back, but your job is making it worse and causing the degenerative changes to be symptomatic. In that scenario, your claim would be for a repetitive use back injury with a date of injury: December 2012.
Free Workers Compensation Consultations for your Injuries
Our legal team has a strong history of helping injured workers get the medical attention and financial compensation that they need. Contact our St. Louis, Missouri workers compensation law firm to ensure that your rights are protected. Please call (314) 361-4300 or toll free at (888) 872-6795. You can also complete our Online Case Evaluation Form.
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