April 21, 2016
For those with workers compensation injuries in Springfield, Joplin, or throughout Missouri, you will be likely be entitled to a lump-sum payment for the permanent effects of that injury. Permanent partial disability is based on three factors: location of the injury (e.g., shoulder, low back), percentage of disability, and the permanent partial disability rate. At The Pitts Law Firm, we strive to ensure that you receive the best possible settlement for your Missouri workers compensation injury, Critical to that process is our thorough understanding of case law and the Missouri workers compensation statute concerning average weekly wages and disability rates.
First, Employers and insurers have 30 days to respond to a claim filed by a Missouri workers compensation claimant. In that claim are various factual allegations, including where the injury occurred and wages in the 13 weeks prior to an injury. If an insurer fails to file a claim within 30 days, all “statements of fact in the Claim for Compensation shall be deemed admitted” by the Missouri Workers Compensation Division. 8 CSR 50-2.010(8)(B). Courts have held pleading the maximum rate allowed under Missouri’s workers’ compensation statute (RSMo. §287) is a issue of fact, not a legal conclusion. T.H. v. Sonic Drive In of High Ridge, 388 S.W.3d 585 (Mo.App. 2012). This decision was recently upheld in King v. American Employer Group III (LIRC 12/30/14).
When filing claims for workers compensation claimants in Springfield, Joplin, and throughout Missouri, alleging the maximum possible rate allowed by law can, in some cases, lead to our clients receiving significant compensation for time spent recovering from an injury (TTD) and for the permanent effects of that injury (PPD). The current maximum weekly TTD/PPD rates set by the Missouri Workers Compensation Division are $886.92 and $464.58.
Second, injured workers in Springfield, Joplin, and throughout Missouri that work part-time may be entitled to a higher compensation rate based on the wages of full-time coworkers. RSMo. §287.250.3 states that if a Missouri worker is employed for less hours than the employer classifies as full-time, permanent partial and total disability compensation is based on the wages of full-time workers “engaged by the employer to perform work of the same or similar nature.” The statute also sets 30 hours as the minimum numbers of hours an employer can classify as full-time (this is frequently and incorrectly referred to as the 30 hour rule).
At The Pitts Law Firm, we ensure our part-time workers receive the highest possible compensation rate for their serious injuries. This includes obtaining Employers’ definitions of full and part-time and the wages of appropriate coworkers. Insurers and their attorneys frequently object to this process, and we will fight through the Missouri Workers Compensation system to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injury.
Third, insurance companies frequently miscalculate wages in the 13 weeks prior to Missouri workers compensation injuries. They may use estimated wages (instead of actual wages) or ignore scheduled absences. We carefully review the wages provided by the insurer, perform our own calculations, and look for any legal basis to maximize the settlement or award you receive.