Legal Question in Disability Law in Missouri

Well here it is i fell leaving work last week mainly because my bad knee went out on me. i have worked there for 34 years i had a knee replacement may 2010 and it has been getting worse i maybe rejecting it so alot of times it is hard for me to get up and down out of my chair and just walking. anyway i have not filed work comp yet but now my boss who told me to take this week off to recoup is now saying before i can come back to work i need a release from my ortho specialist saying i can get around without getting hurt, his response was he is not sure i can still work there. man do i need a lawyer or what???? mary jo

Asked on 4/15/11, 7:05 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Harvath Harvath Law Offices-INJURY case representation
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Hi. I am a Missouri injury attorney that handles workers' compensation claims, as well as employment related issues throughout most parts of the state. I am sorry to hear about the fall at work.

Under the Missouri workers' compensation statutes, you are entitled to compensation in three forms for injuries occuring on the job. First, you are entitled to payment of your wages for time missed from work due to the injury. Second, you are entitled to payment of medical bills incurred for treatment relating to the injury. Third, if the injury results in any on-going, or longer term disability, you are entitled to a lump sum settlement from the employer's insurer to compensate you for the disability.

Your employer is required by law to file a Report of Injury whenever a work accident occurs. Regardless of whether you are ultimately found to be entitled to compensation, the employer must file this form with the Division of Workers' Compensation. An attorney can verify with the Division that the form was properly filed, and it should be looked into immediately, because the failure to file can end up precluding you from getting any compensation in the future, if it turns out that you need another knee replacement or physical therapy or other treatment.

Also, your employer is placing you in a difficult situation at this point. They are asking you to get a letter from your own ortho specialist saying you are fine to return to work. They also can potentially use this letter against you in the future and say that you are not entitled to your benefits because your specialist said you were "fine to work". Obtaining workers' compensation benefits does not mean you cannot continue to work. Many, many people continue to work full time at the same job while receiving payment of their medical bills through workers' compensation. Also, your employer is required by law to refer you to an ortho specialist at their cost, not your cost.

Finally, you are protected from being terminated from your position by the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) for a certain period of time, but there are procedures for invoking these rights. At this point, without FMLA protection, your employer could take action against you.

A few additional details would be needed to determine what your options are to protect your employment, as well as your right to payment of lost wages and medical bills.

For convenience, I can be reached via e-mail at mth2000@yahoo.com. I hope this helps to some extent at least.

NOTE: This answer is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. The use of this site does not establish an attorney-client relationship or privilege between the user and the attorney responding.

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4/21/11, 11:45 pm

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