We frequently refer to workers’ compensation in Missouri as a “trade-off” involving employers and employees. But what gets traded, and why?
What Employees Give Up for Workers’ Compensation
The biggest thing that employees give up is their ability to sue their employers in court with a personal injury lawsuit. In many workplace injury situations, the employer contributed to the injury at least in part. For example, they may have failed to fix a hazardous situation, or refused to provide an employee with a working environment that would not lead to a repetitive motion injury.
What Employers Give Up for Workers’ Compensation
On the other hand, the biggest thing that employers trade in the workers’ compensation deal is the provision of workers’ compensation insurance. Employers have to pay a premium to a workers’ compensation insurance company in order to maintain insurance coverage. This coverage is meant to pay for the costs of workplace injuries, like the hurt worker’s medical expenses and lost wages.
The Implications of This Trade
Giving up the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in exchange for workers’ compensation coverage comes with a lot of implications.
First, it means that injured workers can receive compensation for their injuries without having to sue their boss. This avoids a very awkward situation that, no matter the outcome of the personal injury lawsuit, is going to create a stressful workplace or lead to a termination.
Second, though, it means that injured workers will receive less than what they could have received, had they won a personal injury lawsuit. A successful personal injury case can recover compensation for the victim’s past and future medical expenses, lost wages and missed business opportunities, reduced ability to earn a living from the debilitation of their injuries, as well as pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation, however, does not cover pain and suffering – elements that could, in some cases, double the amount of compensation you are owed.
Third, it means your compensation package is going to come far more quickly. Personal injury lawsuits can take years to move from the initial complaint to the final verdict. Workers’ compensation decisions are frequently made in a matter of months, though appeals can take longer.
Finally, this trade means that the Missouri state government is much more in control of your future. They have the power to alter the statutes that create a hurt employee’s workers’ compensation rights. Unfortunately, recent years have shown that they are intent on shifting the balance of power in workers’ compensation law away from hurt workers and towards employers.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in St. Joseph at the Smith Law Office
The personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at the Smith Law Office represent injured workers in St. Joseph and Kansas City every day. Call them at (816) 875-9373 or contact them online if you have been injured on the job and want to make sure you get the compensation you need and deserve.