In Missouri, the calculation of damages (money) for the same injury under general
negligence law (i.e. injured in a car or
truck accident) as opposed to the calculation under Missouri workers compensation (i.e.
work related injury) are very, very different.
A common reaction from clients injured at work, is the disbelief that
an injury, just because it occurs at work, can be worth less than that
same injury under a general negligence theory, typically meaning it was
caused outside of work or by a negligent driver, doctor, or business.
However, the benefit to workers' compensation coverage is that liability
(whose fault it is) does not matter. Even if it is the injured employee's
fault (in most cases), you still get the same compensation. Additionally,
in many cases if the work related injury was not the fault of a co-employee
or your employer (i.e. a 3rd party not employed by the same company) then
a 3rd party claim exists and the injured employee can recover under both
work comp and negligence claims outside the work comp structure and through
the jury trial system. Additionally, in certain situations, even if the
injury is caused by a co-employee, sometimes you can pursue the co-employee
for their negligence. Any liability the co-worker may have will be covered
by the employer's general liability insurance coverage; so don't
feel bad about making a claim against your co-worker, they're covered.
Calculating Damages in Missouri
Personal Injury Cases
(non work Comp)
Damages (money) for injuries under Missouri general negligence cases are
determined by the amount of medical bills incurred (past and future),
lost wages (past and future), prescriptions, property damage, other expenses
attributable to the injury, and finally, pain and suffering. Pain and
suffering is that uncertain dollar amount that a jury may award you for
the pain and suffering of having to go through the entire ordeal and the
future problems it will cause physically, emotionally and mentally. Except
if it is a
medical malpractice claim, under Missouri law pain and suffering in medical negligence claims
are capped at $350,000. Missouri medical damage caps have not been fully
challenged yet and it is still possible they could be found unconstitutional
by the Missouri Supreme Court.
Calculating Damages in Missouri Work Comp Cases
Under Missouri workers' compensation, the employer's work comp
insurance covers the medical expenses for your medical treatment, missed
work pay or "TTD pay" (Temporary Total Disability Pay) for the
days missed prior to the doctor releasing you to return to work, and then
finally a final settlement for the ongoing disability. The ongoing disability
is essentially the only amount the employee is awarded directly and is
calculated using the
Missouri "Permanent Partial Disability Schedule". This is a very specific calculation and does not take into consideration
any pain and suffering. However, the Missouri Work Comp Second Injury
Fund is also available for additional compensation in certain cases. See
Missouri's Division of Missouri Work Comp: State Website with information regarding workers compensation.
Regardless if you have a work comp or a general negligence case, the legal
procedure and all the ways to maximize compensation for your injuries
are very complex. If you need an experienced Missouri personal injury
lawyer handling cases Kansas City or the surrounding areas, call the attorneys
at Martin & Wallentine today.