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Missouri Workers Compensation Explained: What Is “Body as a Whole?”

Some legal terms you may encounter in your worker’s compensation case are self-explanatory, while others can create a lot of confusion.

Confusion is bad news for injured workers who are trying to receive compensation for their work injury.

One such example of a legal term that may confuse you is “man as a whole” or “body as a whole” as it relates to the disability benefits included in the compensation benefits. What exactly does it mean?

workers compensation body as a whole

What Does the Law Say?

The idea behind the worker’s compensation program is to help injured workers get back on their feet after a work injury by making sure they get the right medical treatment, and even time off work should they need it.

However, in some cases, you cannot fully recover from your injuries, which is when the term “body as a whole” comes into play. When you settle your worker’s comp case, that settlement must account even for future expenses that may result from your work injuries, known as disability benefits. These can be either permanent or temporary, partial, or total depending on your injury.

When you are totally or permanently disabled, you may be entitled to receive weekly benefits for the rest of your life, as these injuries generally prevent you from performing any kind of work.

For partial or temporary disabilities, you are usually out of commission only for a while, or not able to return to your initial job, but another form of employment would be suitable for you. These are the cases where “body as a whole” becomes relevant.

It Indicates the Number of Compensable Weeks

Under Missouri law, a “body as a whole” is a method the state uses to assign a specific number of compensable weeks to different types of permanent partial disabilities. Per the current law, the “body as a whole” is assigned 400 weeks, which is used as a baseline to estimate the number of compensable weeks for other schedules or non-scheduled injuries.

For instance, permanent partial disability in your foot is compensable for 150 weeks per the current guidelines. So, if you have a foot injury that may prevent you from going back to your initial job, but should not pose trouble with finding different employment, you are eligible for up to 150 weeks of compensation for this injury. Usually, you receive this in a lump sum, though in some cases the insurance company may agree to send weekly payments.

If you injure your “body as a whole,” however, you’ll not receive only 400 weeks’ compensation. This is just a method of helping the state calculate a fair number of weeks for other types of partial disabilities. 

Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyer

Missouri’s worker’s comp terms can be confusing, and the insurance company may not take the time to explain them to you. Speak with an experienced workers comp attorney today to ensure your legal right to compensation is protected.

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Updated: May 29, 2020