People getting hurt while on the job is an unfortunate reality. Many workers will face this at some point during their careers. Fortunately, there are statutes about injured employees called Workers’ Compensation Laws.
All states have these types of employment laws. These laws include types of disability benefits employers must provide to their injured employees. Our experience is with the state of Missouri, so for the sake of this article, we’ll be referencing Workers’ Compensation Law in Missouri.
Evident by its name, Workers Compensation Laws define how injured workers are compensated during different time periods they cannot work. Then finally, guidelines for returning to work, including how to determine when and how much job related recovery is needed.
When it comes to workers’ compensation, the overwhelming majority of injured workers in all states are not found to be permanently disabled. That means they are not unable to ever return to work due to their job injuries.
Even the majority of the severely injured workers are not considered to be permanently totally disabled and instead will only qualify for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. Injured employees do not get rich on workers’ compensation claims, and the TTD benefits can only get them so far.
Who can get temporary total disability benefits?
The most common workers’ compensation benefit that injured Missouri workers are able to qualify for are temporary total disability (TTD) payments. This type of workers’ compensation payment is made for workers who are not permanently and totally unable to work. Meaning at some point, they will have healed from their injuries to go back to some type of job.
Still, sometimes, during the treatment process, they may be found to be permanently and totally disabled. This means they may continue to receive this same amount of temporary total disability on a permanent basis.
The injured worker is only classified as being permanently and totally disabled after they reach maximum medical improvement and are still totally unable to work for even set temporary periods of time.
Temporary total disability benefits, or TTD benefits for short, are paid to injured workers by the workers’ compensation insurance company of the company that hired them.
To qualify for temporary total disability payments, injured employees must first become authorized not to work by a doctor. The type of doctors who can make these decisions are called authorized medical examiners and must be selected by, or at least authorized by, the employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.
How to qualify for temporary total disability benefits?
Injured employees can qualify for temporary total disability payments by meeting the following conditions:
- Their employer’s authorized doctor released them to work with specific light duty restrictions.
- No light duty jobs that met the light duty restrictions are available with the employer that the injury occurred.
When are temporary total disability benefits not enough for injured workers?
Unfortunately, temporary total disability payments are often not enough for injured Missouri to live on. This is because workers on temporary total disability only receive 66.6% of their gross weekly pay. There is a max amount of weekly TTD benefits that can be paid to injured employees by law.
Even though the TTD benefits limit is increased slightly once a year, they will still be less than 66% gross weekly pay for high earning Missouri workers.
To make matters worse, injured Missouri workers do not receive payments for the first three days they miss work. However, they can get paid for the first three days if they remain off work long enough with the doctor’s authorization.
Workers’ Comp Laws prescribe the number of missed days needed. Injured workers who are temporarily totally disabled in Missouri are always left with making 33% less in salary per week at best. However, people who are employed at more than one company are often set to lose much more than just 33% of their weekly income.
Can you get TTD benefits from more than one company?
Nowadays, more people are working two or more jobs solely because they must in order to survive. In virtually every situation, people with two jobs make significantly more money at one of those jobs. Workers who suffer injuries at work are often in too much pain to perform any of their jobs. Workers’ Comp Laws make this an extra challenging situation.
Unfortunately, in Missouri, neither the employer nor the workers’ compensation insurance company is responsible for the loss of income from the other jobs of the injured employee. This means an injured worker will not receive temporary total disability payments for their other jobs, as they were injured while working for another company.
So a worker can be put in a situation where they can only get TTD benefits from their lower paying job, which is only 66% of a lower gross weekly pay and not any income from their top paying job.
Most people do not realize it until it is too late, which means they are even less prepared for the lost income that comes with this type of workers’ compensation claim. Many situations like this can also happen to injured workers with only one job. Insurance companies try to use every possible legal loophole to avoid paying TTD benefits to injured workers.
What happens after the Temporary Total Disability Benefits Stop?
One way an employer is allowed to stop sending temporary total disability payments is that the authorized treatment provider determines the injured worker has reached what is known as “maximum medical improvement.” This means no additional treatment will help to cure and relieve the injured employee from the effects of the work injury.
The workers’ compensation insurance companies that operate in Missouri stop sending temporary total disability checks at this point. In Missouri, insurance companies are legally allowed to stop paying injured workers at that point.
That holds true even if the injured employee whose doctor designated them at maximum medical improvement is not yet authorized by that same doctor to return to work based. This leaves a worker in no man’s land without any form of money from the workers’ compensation insurance company or any form of income from the employer.
Can you get fired after temporary total disability payments stop?
Many Missouri workers still end up losing their job after they are done with treatment. One common way is for the employee to finish medical treatment and get authorized to return to work with permanent job duty restrictions. Unfortunately, this often leads to workers losing their jobs.
Companies are not obligated to have their injured employees return to the original position they were had at the time of the work injury. In most situations, an employer is not even allowed to give its injured worker their original jobs back.
This inherently leaves an employee without a paycheck and the temporary total disability (TTD) payments they were relying on. Even when a company wants to allow its employee to return to that same job, this can still be the case.
Suppose an employer wants to keep an injured worker employed within the company after being released by the authorized doctor with permanent restrictions. However, those restrictions make it impossible to do the tasks they did when the injury happened.
In that case, the employer can place the injured employee in a different role that conforms with the permanent job restrictions. Unfortunately, this is not always a realistic goal to have. It’s the choice of the company, and a different job might not be available or cost effective for the company to offer.
Employers are not required to offer employees these lighter permanent jobs unless they are members of a union that requires it.
Employers are responsible for notifying injured workers if they do not have a job position that meets the permanent job restrictions. That employer would have to inform the injured employee that they are no longer employed. So sadly, this employee would permanently lose their job and become unemployed.
This holds true even if the employer likes and highly values that employee for the previous work they performed leading up to the job injury. The injured worker must wait until the end of their workers’ compensation claim to be settled or tried to a conclusion to get paid.
In Missouri, these court trials are called hearings. Many times the first hearing is not the end of the case. Both the workers’ compensation attorney and the insurance company’s attorney can file an appeal of the case. Appeals always slow the case down and make the injured worker wait even more time to get paid for the permanency of the injuries.
Not even the best workers’ compensation lawyer can know how long a case will take or how long until the injured worker can get paid at the end. There is no metric by which this can be measured.
Can you lose Family Medical Leave Act time while on workers’ compensation?
Surprisingly, companies that are required to follow the Family Medical Leave Act are allowed to count days missed as Medical Leave Act time. Not all employers are required to offer Family Medical Leave Act time to their employees. The law is based on a minimum number of employees in a company.
One startling example of a workers’ compensation claim restricting an employee’s Family Medical Leave Act rights can be when an employee needs to miss work after delivering their baby. Suppose a pregnant employee is injured on the job before delivering the baby. The parent may have already used up all of her Family Medical Leave Act time due to their job injury.
In that case, the parent may not have any days left under the Family Medical Leave Act to take time off of work after delivering their baby or babies. While that seems very unfair and even cruel, that is the law, and insurance companies are happy to use it to save money.
These situations can put parents and their newborn baby’s health at risk. It’s either the parent who loses their job or returns to work immediately after giving birth, as they have no Family Medical Leave Act days left to use. The above are just a few examples of the unlimited ways of how legal technicalities can leave injured workers further in a financial bind.
Fortunately, injured workers’ compensation claimants in Missouri can benefit from what is called a pre-settlement loan from Express Legal Funding.
Can you get a lawsuit loan on a workers’ compensation claim?
Express Legal Funding provides workers’ compensation loans to injured workers that meet three basic qualifiers.
- The injured worker applying for the loan is a Missouri resident.
- Has a non-federal Workers’ Compensation claim that is pending.
- Is being represented by a workers’ compensation attorney on that case.
No one expects or plans to get injured on the job. Regardless, accidents and injuries happen at companies big and small. Fortunately, Missouri workers can know if an accident occurs at work, they can apply for a consumer litigation loan supported by their Workers’ Compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation Lawsuit loans in Missouri do not have to be repaid until the case ends. That means money is theirs to use until the claim reaches a settlement, trial, or appellate award, which nobody ever knows how long that will take.
Plus, getting a worker’ comp loan will not disqualify you from receiving TTD benefits on your workers’ comp injury claim. If you would like to learn more about how pre-settlement loans work in Missouri, you can call us or apply online anytime.
One very important thing to note is that loan companies have to be licensed by the Missouri Division of Finance to provide loans on workers’ compensation claims. Express Legal Funding is licensed. However most pre-settlement lenders advertising to Missouri residents are not. So be careful.
At Express Legal Funding, we are looking forward to answering your questions. It’s our mission to provide all of the honest facts about legal funding and lawsuit loans to the consumer. We are passionate about helping Missouri residents injured on the job and will do our best to help you.
About the Author
Aaron R. Winston is the Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding. As "The Legal Funding Expert," Aaron has more than ten years of experience in the consumer finance industry. Most of which was as a consultant to a top financial advisory firm, managing 400+ million USD in client wealth.
As Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding, he has devoted thousands of hours to advocating for the consumer. Aaron's "it factor" is that he is a tireless and inventive thought leader who has made great strides by conveying his legal knowledge and diverse expertise to the public. More clients and lawyers understand the facts about pre-settlement funding because of Aaron's legal and financial service SEO mastery.
Aaron has a scholarly approach to business. In early 2022, Aaron Winston gained the Search Engine Optimization and the Google Ads LinkedIn skills assessment badges. He placed in the top 5% of those who took the SEO skills test assessment.
Aaron's work has been granted copyright protection by the United States Copyright Office. He has gained positive notoriety via interviews and case studies, which are a byproduct of his successes. Aaron R. Winston was featured in a smith.ai interview (2021) and company growth case study (2022).