Under the Missouri workers comp law, there are a variety of benefits that may be provided. This page provides a number of interactive calculators that you can use to help estimate the benefits that may be available under the Missouri work comp law. Users should take care that these calculators only provide a generally guide and are no substitute for competent legal advice. There are other factors which could impact the benefits owed to an injured worker depending on that individual’s particular situation.
Generally speaking, and as discussed on the Benefits Overview page, there are several types of benefits available. This page should help you to calculate the benefits that are available under the workers compensation law.
One of the hallmarks of the worker compensation system in Missouri is the use of equations to calculate most of the various benefits that are available. These equations are an outgrowth of the “Grand Bargain” that forms the backbone of the workers compensation system. That is, an employer is strictly liable for accidental injuries arising out of an employee’s work, regardless of negligence or fault. In exchange, an employee cannot seek tort damages through the court system. Rather, the employee is limited to specific, statutorily-scheduled benefits which are usually calculated through an equation.
The basis for most benefits in the MO workers compensation system is the compensation rate (or “comp rate”). The compensation rate is a function of the employee’s average weekly wage. Section 287.250 of the workers compensation act sets out how an employee’s average weekly wage is calculated. Specifically, the average weekly wage is calculated by looking at the thirteen weeks prior to the date of injury (assuming the employee had been working for the particular employer for more than thirteen weeks on the date of injury).
To calculate the average weekly wage, all of the employee’s wages earned during the thirteen week period are added up and then divided by thirteen. If the employee had not been working for the employer for a full thirteen weeks, then the employees total wages are added up and divided by the number of weeks that the employee had worked for the employer.
Once this calculation is complete, you have the average weekly wage (or “AWW”). An employee can use this figure to begin the calculation for most benefits recoverable in a Missouri worker related injury.
The next step is to determine the applicable compensation rate for the type of benefits being analyzed. As a general rule, the compensation rate is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage as of the date of injury up to a certain maximum amount. The maximum amount is adjusted each year and is different for permanent partial disability than from temporary total disability, permanent total disability, or death benefits.
This calculator can help you determine your compensation rate for the various benefits available under the Missouri Workers Compensation law:
Permanent Partial Disability is calculated in Missouri using a three-variable equation:
[Compensation Rate] x [Level] x [percentage of disability] = [Permanent Partial Disability Award]
The first variable, compensation rate, is described above. The “level” of the injury is the part fo the body suffering the disability. The Missouri Division of Worker’s Compensation has a chart which shows the “values” that were assigned to the various body parts by the legislature when it crafted the workers compensation law. When calculating a Permanent Partial Disability Award it is important to certain on which body part is at issue. The general rule is that you use the body part on the leg, foot, arm, or hand if applicable. If the injury does not fit within one of the “scheduled” levels, then the disability can be analyzed based on the whole person (sometimes called “Body as a Whole”).
The final variable is the percentage of disability. This is a percentage that us usually set by a medical expert. It is not uncommon for experts to disagree on the correct percentage of disability and there are many times with an Administrative Law Judge must review the evidence in a Hearing to make a determination of the proper percentage of disability.
Once all three variable are determined, the equation is a simple matter of multiplication. This calculator will help you to determine the dollar-value of a permanent partial disability award.
Temporary Total Disability benefits are monies paid to an employee during “healing periods” when the employee is unable to return to work. TTD benefits are not payable unless the employee has been unable to work for three or more days. After that, the benefits are payable until the employee either returns to work or reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (sometimes called “MMI”).
The compensation rate calculator above can help you determine the amount of TTD benefits you may be owed for each full week you are unable to work (after the three-day waiting period).
Permanent Total Disability and Death Benefits are more fully described on other pages of this website. The Compensation Rate Calculator above can help you to determine the weekly benefit amount owed for each week since the employee either became permanent disability or was killed as a result of a work accident.
As mentioned above, these calculators are only general approximations of the benefits available. There are penalties both for and against employees that can significantly impact the amount of benefits available. A full analysis of these penalties is beyond the scope of this web page and injured workers should seek legal advice from a competent and experienced Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer in order to be certain the amounts of benefits that may be owed.
For additional information about how you can maximize the amount of benefits you receive, call 573-875-1991 to speak with a Missouri workers’ comp lawyer at Lear Werts LLP.