Every state has its own laws that determine how to apply and qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you get hurt or sick on the job in Missouri, you may qualify for workers’ comp benefits. Learn the steps to file your application for Missouri workers’ compensation below. Then, explore our interactive chart showing how the state’s claim data changed from 2015-2019.
Which Employees Automatically Have Missouri Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
State law requires all employers with five or more employees carry Missouri workers’ compensation insurance. This includes all full-time, part-time, and most contract-based employees. However, Missouri workers’ compensation law specifically excludes these workers from automatic insurance coverage:
- Farm laborers
- Domestic servants (i.e., housekeepers and live-in nannies)
- Certain real estate agents working on commission-only basis
- Direct real estate sellers (i.e., owners selling their residences)
- Commercial motor-carrier owner-operators (i.e., tour bus operators, commercial truck drivers)
- Sole proprietors
Is Covid-19 Considered an Occupational Disease in Missouri?
Last year, the Missouri state legislature passed an emergency rule that covered first responders going back to February 1, 2020. This temporary rule presumed any first responders that contracted Covid-19 were likely eligible for Missouri workers’ compensation benefits. However, that order expired on February 1, 2021, and only applied to:
- Law enforcement officers
Any Missouri first responders who tested positive for Covid-19 prior to that date may still apply for workers’ compensation. However, this emergency rule doesn’t apply to healthcare workers that contract Covid-19 in the workplace (i.e., doctors, nurses, hospital staffers).
Steps to Apply for Missouri Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Follow these steps to apply for Missouri workers’ compensation benefits:
- Notify your supervisor in writing within 30 days of your accident or diagnosis date. Miss this deadline and you may not qualify for Missouri workers’ compensation benefits. Include the date, time, location, and nature of your injury, your name and current mailing address in your written notice. You must file a claim for compensation within two years of your diagnosis or injury date to qualify for benefits.
- Ask your supervisor which healthcare provider is authorized to treat your injury or illness, then seek medical treatment. Going to a doctor without your employer’s prior approval leaves you on the hook for those medical bills. If you refuse to seek medical treatment, you likely won’t qualify for Missouri workers’ compensation.
- Your employer has five days to notify their insurer and 30 days to inform the Division of Workers’ Compensation. To do this, they’ll file a First Report of Injury (FROI) form. Your employer’s insurer is directly responsible for paying all medical bills upon claim approval.
- You must miss at least three work shifts before you’re eligible for lost-wage benefits. If you’re not hurt badly enough to need time off, Missouri workers’ compensation covers only your medical bills. Once you miss more than 14 days of work, they’ll compensate you for those first three unpaid days off.
- To dispute your claim’s denial or resolve any disputes involving those payments, contact your employer’s insurer first. If you still need more help, contact the Division to use their dispute management services. You can also request a conference before an Administrative Law Judge or consult an attorney.
Every Missouri workers’ compensation claim is different, so your own experience may vary.
Missouri Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2015-2019
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues an annual workers’ compensation report highlighting program data from most states. It includes total claims filed, how many employees missed work or received job restrictions, and claims data by job sector. See how the Missouri workers’ compensation program changed from 2015 to 2019 in our interactive chart below:
As you can see, service-industry workers file the most Missouri workers’ compensation claims each year. This job sector makes up anywhere from 58%-63% of total claims filed during this five-year period. Total claims rose 9% between 2016-2018, showing that workplace injuries are growing more common in Missouri. The most interesting stat we see here is in injured workers who missed work or received job restrictions. That group increased 17% from 2017-2018, indicating more workers needed at least three days off to recover or had limitations.
It’s interesting to see that in 2019, 1 in every 5 claims (20.3%) came from healthcare and social assistance employees. This includes home health aides, nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and residential care facility workers. In addition, 21% of claims in 2019 came from injured workers who filed directly with the Division. That indicates either their employers rejected their claims, never filed them in the first place or denied those workers benefits. Of those, ALJs dismissed about 23% (1 in 4) claims.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Missouri workers’ compensation law says your employer can deny you benefits if you test positive for drugs or alcohol. You may also notice from the above numbers that 75% of appealed cases result in paid settlements or awards. If you’re not totally confident you have an open-and-shut claim, consult a workers’ compensation attorney about your case.
Not sure where to find a good lawyer near you, or how much they’ll charge? Click the button below to sign up for a free, no-obligation phone call with a local attorney today. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get free legal advice without ever leaving your home! All the workers’ comp lawyers in our network provide contingency-based legal assistance. That means you pay the lawyer $0 if your employer doesn’t pay you a cash settlement. And if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.