in Missouri, the employee or their Chesterfield workers compensation lawyer has to show that the injury was the prevailing factor in causing the resulting medical condition. It can be very unclear what exactly constitutes the “prevailing factor” so it can be misinterpreted and used for grounds to unlawfully deny a Missouri workers’ compensation claim. For example, if someone has a pre-existing problem with their back and they strained their back at work again, the employer, their insurance company may say, ‘Well, your incident at work was not the prevailing factor. The prevailing factor was your pre-existing problems that you have with your back’. So that’s one example of where the employer could deny but the list is just infinite.
Interviewer: What if the injury lead to the death of an employee. What happens in that case?
Kevin Roach: In Missouri, there are specific death benefits and the death benefits would go to your spouse or your dependents when you pass away. The amount of benefits would be based on what your weekly wages were and generally, your spouse could get a weekly benefit, for the remaining of her life, but the benefits would depend on how much the worker was making at the time of the injury and generally they’ll pay you 66% of whatever he was grossing when he died and that benefit would go to your spouse.
Interviewer: Is it mandatory for an employer to have worker compensation insurance?
Kevin Roach: Yes, in Missouri, employers are required to have workers compensation coverage if they have 5 or more employees and if the employer is a construction company, they’re required to have work comp coverage if they have 1 or more employees.
Interviewer: What is an employer’s responsibility when it comes to reporting injuries? What are the employers responsibilities when it comes to reporting injuries?
Kevin Roach: Employers are required by law to report all work injuries to the Missouri Division of Workers’ compensation within five (5) days. The written notice should be sent to the Missouri Division of Workers Compensation after the report of injury is made. What happens a lot of times is the employers do not send that in because they don’t want it on their insurance. They may not be sure how serious the injury is going to be and what not, so they just hold off on reporting but they are required to send it to the Workers Compensation Division within 5 days of the date of injury.