If you are injured at work, having your medical expenses paid is only one portion covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ compensation is also expected to pay for any loss of wages due to the injury and the follow-up care that may be required. Long-term after care should also be included as part of your claim. If your employer is denying your right to additional medical treatment, a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help.
The Meaning of Maximum Medical Improvement
There are a number of work-related injuries that could require medical attention for months or even years after maximum medical improvement (MMI) has been declared. Most often this is meant to cover the need for pain relieving medications or treatments. MMI does not mean that you are completely cured from the injury; it only means that there are no other known treatments for your injury that could restore you back to your pre-injury condition.
Workers’ Compensation Law and Future Medical Expenses
In Missouri, the workers’ compensation law is clear on its inclusion for the coverage of future medical expenses. It is defined as being necessary “as may reasonably be required after the injury or disability, to cure and relieve from the effects of the injury.” This can be found in Section 287.140.1. It is interpreted by administrative law judges to mean that an employee does not need to present any conclusive evidence that treatment will be needed in the future. Only a reasonable probability needs to be shown. This probability can be presented by an expert medical witness. The physician will need to show how the future care required is a direct result of the accident.
Case Study – Pain Management
A case brought before the Missouri labor board on appeal provides an example. The employee, who had undergone extensive treatment for work-related carpals tunnels syndrome, was asking as part of her claim that the cost of controlling the pain she still felt be covered as part of her right to workers’ compensation benefits. The treatment required pain medications as well as stabilizing splints at the wrists to control their range of motion.
Missouri law supported the woman’s claim in this case and allowed for the payment of future medical care by the employer. When totaled with the other compensations allowed, the young woman was awarded a total of $28,111.16.
There are many similar types of injuries that may cause long-term pain, although the employee can return to work. A back injury can sometimes require years before the pain completely subsides or stops flaring up. All Missouri employees who are suffering from on-going pain as a result of a work-related injury may be entitled to compensation for the treatment.
When Your Claim Has Been Denied
If your claim for future medical care has been denied, a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in filing the appeal. The law in Missouri is clear on what is covered, and it is your right as an employee to receive the maximum amount of compensation applicable for your case.