How to Deal With the Workers Compensation Division in St. Louis

Often, questions arise about the scope of a work injury and what benefits an injured employee is entitled to. These questions may include whether the injury was work-related, the extent of the worker’s impairment, and monetary awards.

Contact the workers compensation division in St. Louis offers many resources to assist claimants and their attorneys. This article will break down the different units within the division.

Insurance Unit

Generally, all employers in Missouri must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees who are injured on the job. The division has an online tool that allows anyone to verify a business’s coverage. You can search by business name or FEIN. The state of Missouri also requires contractors to have coverage for their employees.

If you sustain an injury on the job, it is important to report it to your employer immediately. You then have 30 days to file a workers’ comp claim with the division. During this process, your employer will assign you to an authorized medical provider to receive treatment.

Sole-proprietors, partners and corporate officers are included in workers’ comp, but they can opt out of coverage by excluding themselves on the Acord 130 application for coverage. In addition, LLC members can reject coverage by filing a rejection form with the division. For more information about this process, contact a commercial or casualty insurance broker-agent.

Legal Unit

In Missouri, employers must obtain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This insurance pays for medical treatment and lost wages. In addition, it provides benefits for the death of a worker.

If you suffer a workplace injury, it is important to report the incident immediately to your supervisor or employer. You should provide written notice of the date, time, location and nature of the injury or illness. You should also seek treatment at an authorized facility.

Certain types of employment are exempt from the requirement to purchase workers’ comp coverage. These include farm laborers, domestic servants, real estate agents and some direct sellers. If an employer knowingly fails to secure coverage, it may face a misdemeanor charge of workers’ comp fraud. The legal unit oversees all legal matters in the division. It is responsible for reviewing and approving claims, enforcing decisions of administrative law judges and addressing any other legal questions that may arise. The unit also handles appeals from those who do not receive the benefits they are owed.

Docketing and Adjudicating Unit

Whether it’s an injury or illness that keeps you from working, or a dispute between you and the insurer over your benefits, you might find yourself dealing extensively with the workers’ compensation division. It is helpful to have an attorney to help you navigate the process.

This unit is responsible for processing claims and answers, lost time reports, medical reports and any other documentation necessary for the processing of a claim. They also set hearings and decide issues in disputes between you, your employer or the insurance company.

Brittany Wooten has worked for the Industrial Commission since 2006. She has served as a Full Commissioner, a law clerk and a research assistant to the Chairman of the Industrial Commission. She has litigated complex workers’ compensation matters and represented State agencies in noninsured cases and penalty enforcement actions in Superior Court. She also has extensive experience in appellate work. She has argued in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and in the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Appellate Commission

If your workers’ comp claim is denied by the docketing and adjudication unit, or if you disagree with a decision made by a Single Hearing Member of the Board, you may file an appeal. A qualified Missouri work injury attorney can help you navigate the complex appeals process and ensure that all deadlines and requirements are met.

After a pre-hearing conference, your case will be formally heard by an administrative law judge. The judge will consider all of the evidence submitted by both parties and decide your case.

If you disagree with the judge’s award, you may file a second appeal with the Board. This is a formal appeal with legal briefs and a check for the docket fee. If the second appeal fails, you can go to the Court of Appeals. However, this is rare and usually only happens in cases with significant legal issues. Moog Automotive, Inc. v. Division of Workers’ Compensation Appellate Commission, 2018 MO WRB 14-1287 (Mo. Court of Appeals, First District, Sept. 20, 2018).