Interviewer: If someone has already received workers comp previously, does that disqualify them from receiving it again at another job?
A Previous Claim Does Not Prohibit a New Claim in Missouri If You are Injured in the Workplace
Kevin Roach: No and I'll see this. That's another misconception that people have. Say they injured their hand or their shoulder or their back previously. Maybe there was a previous workers comp claim for that injury. If they injure that same body part again, they think that maybe they're barred from filing a claim, but in Missouri you're not.
It can be something that can be taken into consideration when it comes time to settle your case, resolve a dispute over causation, or determining whether it's the prevailing factor or not. It absolutely does not bar your case if it's the same body part that you previously received a settlement on.
Interviewer: What about long-term illnesses like cancer?
Missouri Allows for Two Types of Claims: Permanent Partial Disability and Total Disability
Kevin Roach: There are two types of claims in Missouri. You can make a claim for permanent partial disability, meaning you’re able to return to work, or you can make a claim for total disability, meaning you are permanently and totally disabled, that's if you're unable to return to work.
Proving Permanent Disability Requires Serious Injury
The total permanent cases are really a whole different ball game. You could potentially receive lifetime benefits for the rest of your life, kind of like social security, if you can prove up your case. You would have to be seriously injured to prove those claims. Typically I'll see people and maybe they have a lot of pre-existing injuries and then maybe their most recent injury finally rendered them from being able to return to work. Normally, it's a cumulative thing where you have numerous injuries.
Maybe you injured your back at work and then maybe you had pre-existing knee, pre-existing diabetes, pre-existing hypertension, or just a whole laundry list of pre-existing problems. Then the combination of the two, rendered you unable to return to work.
Small Businesses May Lack the Knowledge of the Proper Protocol in Reporting Workplace Injuries
Interviewer: What happens if the employer fails to file proper notice?
Kevin Roach: The employer is required to report the injury. I've seen this routinely where the employer fails to file proper notice and don't file a Report of Injury with the state. A lot of times, it has to do with a scared increase of rates or inadequate training in what they need to do following an injury. Many small employers just don't deal with work injuries on a regular basis. Maybe the supervisor didn't know he had to file a Report of Injury, but the law in Missouri requires employers to fill out that Report of Injury and file it with the state.