Workers' compensation laws vary state to state, and an employee that has been injured often finds his or herself attempting to navigate a complicated and confusing system. Generally, an employer owes three duties to an injured worker. First, the employer should provide medical treatment. Second, if the injury results in physical restrictions while treatment in ongoing, the employer must accommodate the restrictions, or pay the injured worker a weekly benefit known as temporary total disability. Finally, after the injured worker has completed medical treatment, the employer must compensate the worker for any permanent disability.
In Missouri, the first thing an employee should do is report the injury, even if the injury does not at first appear to be significant. The necessity of prompt reporting was recently reiterated by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District in Aramark v. Faulkner, ED99439. In the Faulkner case, the claimant's failure to timely report her injury, within thirty days of the date of the occurrence, pursuant to
R.S.Mo. Section 287.420, was deemed to have prejudiced the employer, and resulted in a denial of Ms. Faulkner's workers' compensation claim.
In the Faulkner case, the employer and employee stipulated to the fact that the injury did arise out of and in the course of Ms. Faulkner's employment, and was, therefore, work-related. Unfortunately, the court concluded that the fact that the injury was work-related was not sufficient to recover. The appellate court ruled that " before determining whether an injury is compensable under worker's compensation, the employer must receive timely notification of the injury or a claimant must prove an employer was not prejudiced by an untimely notification of the injury." The court also reaffirmed that an employer's actual knowledge of the occurrence resulting in the alleged injury to an employee will act as notice.
Based on the ruling in Faulkner and other Missouri cases, it is clear that an employee should always immediately report, in writing, any work-related injury. Failure to do so, may severely impact an employee's workers' compensation claim.
Cases like Faulkner demonstrate how difficult and complicated it can be to pursue a workers' compensation claim in Missouri. The
Montee Law Firm has been assisting individuals injured in on the job for decades. If you have suffered a work-related injury, and would like a free consultation to explain your rights, call 800-788-1996, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .