In response to rising workman’s compensation insurance premiums, many companies have adopted safety training programs in an effort to keep the incidence of accidents to a minimum.
In addition, insurance carriers will also offer special discounts to a business that has these programs in place. Workman’s compensation law dictates that if an employee knowingly violates a standard safety practice that results in his injury, his benefits could be cut in half. If this happened to you after you were injured on the job, a Missouri workman’s compensation attorney may be able to help. There are some loopholes in the law that could be applicable in your case.
Safety Policies and Procedures
Recently in Missouri, the workman’s compensation board denied an employer’s request to reduce one of its employees benefits by half. Their argument being that every employee knew the hazard in carrying items up a ladder and had been trained not to do it. The fatal flaw in the defense was a failure of the company to follow up on its safety policy. Many employees were able to testify that although they had been taught not to hold items while climbing a ladder, many still did in order to get the job done faster. None were ever fired or reprimanded for not following the company rule.
The board decided that it was not enough to just put a safety policy in place. In order for that policy to disqualify a portion of benefits, it would have to be enforced, either with discipline or termination. Since this company admittedly failed to follow through with their safety procedures the employee was allowed his full benefits in accordance with the law.
Worker Safety Programs
There are large companies who do a better job at instilling worker safety programs. They not only educate the employees on how to avoid an accident, they follow up with disciplinary action if one violates a safety policy. If your workplace accident occurred under these circumstances, it will be harder for a workman’s compensation attorney to fight a reduction in your benefits.
The best advice we can offer is to follow procedure while on the job to avoid an accident. You will be eligible for full compensation if all proper measures were taken and you were still injured.
Reduction of Benefits
There are four criteria an employer must meet in order to justify a reduction of benefits:
- The employer must have an established rule to ensure employee safety.
- The injury was a direct result of the employee disregarding that rule.
- The worker had knowledge of the rule.
- The employer made an effort to enforce the rule with disciplinary techniques.
As you can see, workman’s compensation cases can be extremely difficult to prove. Insurance carriers will try to avoid large payouts by investigating the nature of the accident the same way a Missouri workman’s compensation attorney will. You cannot fight these large insurance companies by yourself. By having an experienced attorney at your side, you will be working towards reversing the reduction and collecting your full benefit.
Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.
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