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The Brown & Crouppen Legal Lens takes a closer look at everyday legal issues and gives you a better understanding of topics that may affect you.

ST. LOUIS — Following the tragedy at the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, more people are talking about workers’ compensation. Andrea McNairy, managing attorney at Brown & Crouppen has more on this in this week’s Legal Lens. 

What should we first know about worker’s comp?

“Workers’ comp is what they call an ‘exclusive remedy.’ That means if you are hurt at work, your only option is to file a workers’ comp claim, even if your co-worker was negligent. There are some exceptions, but it’s what we call an exclusive remedy,” said McNairy.

What are workers’ rights?

“Workers have rights, but there are some caveats,” she said. “Medical bills are paid, but the insurance company gets to choose treatment. If you miss time from work, you will be paid for missed time, but it’s only two-thirds of your pay — and it won’t kick in unless you miss three consecutive days. If you are permanently injured, you are entitled to a weekly or lump sum payment. But again, the workers’ comp insurance company chooses the doctor, and that doctor chooses how long-term and how serious yours are.”

How long does a worker have to file a claim?

“There are limits,” McNairy said. “In Illinois, it’s two years from the last date of compensation or three years from the date of injury. In Missouri, it’s two years from the date of injury or the last date of authorized treatment.”

Is there anything people would be surprised to know about this topic?

“I think people are surprised to find out how limiting the laws are,” she said. “There are a few exceptions if someone’s behavior is really egregious. But people are surprised to find out how difficult it is to navigate the situation and how limiting the compensation is under workers’ comp. If you are facing this situation, I encourage you to reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney and get some guidance.”