Legal Terms – Missouri Workers Compensation Lawyer

The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann has put together some important legal terms with definitions to help our clients better understand Missouri Workers Compensation Laws.

Key Terms

Temporary Total Disability: Compensation paid to workers who are only temporarily unable to work

Permanent Partial Disability: Compensation paid to workers who have permanent physical injuries but are able to continue with some sort of work

Permanent Total Disability: Compensation paid to workers who have reached maximum medical improvement but are left with the complete inability to return any substantial or gainful employment.

Third-Party Liability Claims: Compensation that can be secured in cases involving negligent third-parties

Second Injury Fund: The Second Injury Fund compensates those who had a preexisting disability before you were injured at work. Certain requirements relating to the current injury and prior disability must be met to qualify for this benefit.

Hardship Hearings: If the Employer/Insurer refuses to provide a medical treatment or refuses to pay Temporary Total Disability, the Claimant’s attorney can request a Hardship Hearing. In the hearing, evidence is presented to the Judge who decides if the Claim is justified and whether the Employer/Insurer has wrongly refused to pay the benefits. These hearings are usually expedited so as to prevent a hardship to the claimant.

Final Hearings: In most cases of permanent total disability benefits, workers compensation claims are settled prior to a Final Hearing. Such a hearing is similar to a trial except that juries are not permitted. The decision is made by an Administrative Law Judge, who only hears workers compensation cases.

Authorized Physician: The authorized physician is the doctor chosen by the employer/insurer and he/she is the actual treating doctor. Initially, this doctor will likely be specialized in occupational medicine and be part of a clinic that only sees and treats work-related injuries. Such doctors are notoriously known to diagnose serious injuries as simple strains or sprains regardless of the symptoms. Do not get discouraged, we see this all the time. Contact our experienced workers compensation attorney James M. Hoffmann to help you navigate through the workers compensation process.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI): This is the point where the treating physician declares that there is no further medical treatment that will improve the condition. At this point in time, the injured worker is released, and the Employer/Insurer is no longer required to pay Temporary Total Disability compensation. MMI is commonly declared prematurely when, in fact, more medical treatment is necessary. Do not wait until MMI is declared before you retain an experienced workers compensation lawyer at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann.

Disability Rating: After you have reached maximum medical improvement, the authorized doctor will give you a disability rating. Typically, the authorized physician’s disability rating will be extremely low, even where there has been extensive surgery. Your settlement or award will be largely based upon this rating and therefore it is highly recommended that you retain an attorney who can arrange for you to be evaluated for a 2nd opinion regarding the disability rating.

Independent Medical Exam: When the authorized physician releases you, they will provide a disability rating. If this is the only rating, and it will be unless you hire a workers compensation attorney, the judge will award you with permanent disability compensation that may only be ¼ of what it should be. Your experienced workers compensation attorney will arrange an Independent Medical Exam to have you evaluated by another doctor for a second opinion. The second opinion on the disability rating will be from a doctor who will be an advocate for you and not an advocate for the Insurance Company.

Free Workers Compensation Consultations

Our attorney has a strong history of helping injured workers get the medical attention and financial compensation that they need. Based in St. Louis, and handling workers compensation cases throughout the entire State of Missouri, our law firm will ensure that your rights are protected. Please call (314) 361-4300 or toll free at (314) 361-4300. You can also complete our Online Case Evaluation Form.

All communications are returned promptly.