The lawyers of Kennedy, Kennedy, Robbins & Yarbro, LC, have handled all types of claims for over 75 collective years. In this time, we have been asked many questions regarding the process of handling a claim, whether a it is an injury claim or a child custody case. We have answered some of the most frequently asked questions below for your convenience. We have made every effort to make sure that the information provided is current and accurate. The FAQ answers do not constitute legal advice and readers should not rely on them to solve their individual legal problems. Call our law firm and schedule a consultation of your case to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case.

You can be assured that your employer, and its workers compensation insurance carrier, will have an attorney on their side. Your claim may present issues that require legal expertise. A workers compensation attorney can discuss the facts of your claim and let you know what benefits are available to you. We offer a free initial consultation, so if won’t hurt you to see what your options are and how we can help.

If you cannot return to work in any capacity because of your injuries, you may receive permanent total disability benefits for life.

A Missouri workers’ compensation claim must be filed within two years following the date of injury, or the date the last payment was made on account of the injury. In some very limited circumstances, if your employer failed to file the required Report of Injury on time, you may have three years from those dates to file your claim. The important thing to know is that you have a limited time to file a claim and you should discuss your claim with an attorney sooner rather than later.

Workers’ compensation benefits include payment of your medical expenses, lost wages (temporary total or temporary partial disability) and any permanent partial disability following an on the job injury. If you are permanently and totally disabled from returning to work, you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits for the rest of your life.

The system is a compromise between the injured employee and the employer. If you have been hurt in the course and scope of your employment, your are entitled to benefits without having to show your employer was negligent. You must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of the injury or your claim may be barred. Familiarize yourself with your employers’ policy on reporting of claims and report your injury immediately. After notice, your employer must then file a Report of Injury with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. Your employer has the right to pick and choose the doctors that treat you and is also able to pay your wages and compensation for permanent injuries at a lower rate than would be true if you were able to file a civil lawsuit.

Employers who have five or more employees are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance in Missouri, unless your employer is in a construction business, in which case they must have insurance if they have one or more employees. There are exemptions from the insurance requirement for farm laborers, commercial motor-carrier owner operations and other classes of employers.

If you were acting within the scope of your employment at the time you were injured, you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Stated another way, you are eligible to file a claim for benefits if you were hurt while performing your job duties. There are some areas where it is not clear if your injuries occurred in the course and scope of your employment, for example, if you were hurt while driving to work or walking into the building to begin your work day. These situations need special attention and must be discussed with a work comp attorney to determine if you have a claim.

A workers compensation claim is almost always the exclusive remedy for injuries that occurred on the job. There are very limited circumstances where you can sue your employer outside of the workers compensation system. An experienced workers compensation attorney can review your claim to see if you fall into one of the exceptions, but generally, you will be compensated through the workers compensation system.

In our experience, a child should testify in very rare circumstances. You should consult with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case.

A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney that is appointed to be the legal representative for the child. The court is required to appoint a GAL if child abuse or neglect is alleged. A GAL may be appointed at other times where custody is in dispute and the parties request one be used.

Under Missouri law, there must be a continuing and substantial change in the circumstances of the child or the child’s custodian, that is necessary to serve the best interests of the child for an order to be modified. You must show new information that was not available at the prior hearing. You should consult with an attorney concerning the specifics of your situation to determine if you have grounds for a modification.

Custody issues are decided by the court in the absence of an agreement. The court will make a determination after hearing testimony and evidence from both parents.

A parenting plan is a required document. The parenting plan should outline how much time the parties will spend with the children, how they’ll share decision-making power, how disputes will be resolved, and child support among other things. A parenting plan that is agreed upon by both parents will likely be granted unless the court feels the plan isn’t in the children’s best interests.

Only in limited situations. There is no guaranteed right for a grandparent to have visitation with a grandchild. Custodial rights are even more limited.

In our experience, courts will start to give some consideration to a child’s wishes at age 10. As the child ages and matures, the court will give more weight to the child. In our experience, it is rarely preferable to have a young child testify.

No.

It is possible, even with equal custody time, one parent may still be required to pay child support. The court will determine the appropriate amount of child support based upon Missouri rule 88.01 and Form 14. You should consult your child custody attorney concerning the specific details of your situation.

Sole custody means that only one of the parents has custody. When referring to legal custody, this means that only one parent has the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to issues concerning the health, education and welfare of the child. When referring to physical custody, this means that the child would reside with one parent.

Joint custody means that the parents share custody of the child. When referring to legal custody, this means that unless the court orders one parent to have specific decision-making rights over a particular issue, the parents must confer with one another in making decisions on that issue. When referring to physical custody, this means that each parent has significant time during which the child resides with him/her. This does not require equal time.

Missouri courts are required to determine what is in the “best interests” of the children. In determining the best interests of the child, the court considers a number of factors, including:

Fitness, stability and preferences of the parents with regard to custody of the children
Children’s preferences (weighted by age of the child)
Living arrangement of parents
Child-parent bonds
Children’s schools and activities

As part of that analysis, the court must determine legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody involves which parent will have, or how both parents will share, the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education and welfare of the child. Physical custody involves where the child will live and how the parents will share the physical time with the child.

By taking advantage of a firm’s free case evaluation, you can determine if an attorney is right for your case. We invite you to take advantage of our free case evaluation to find out why we are the right firm for you.

The first thing you should know about the accident you were just involved in is that the insurance company and the at-fault party that they represent are not on your side. They will say and do anything they can to prevent you from pursuing a claim. The insurance company is solely interested in their bottom line, and they are willing to short you the money that they owe you to meet the bottom line. Always talk to an attorney for a free case evaluation if an insurance adjuster has told you this.

No. Before speaking with your personal injury lawyer, you should never sign any documents or even speak with an insurance agent. These actions may be regarded as admitting fault or waiving your rights to pursue a settlement. If you have already given your statement, however, you may be able to secure a copy of the statement to correct any errors before any permanent harm has been done to your case.

No. By doing so, you may give the insurance company access to medical records that have no relevance to your case. When an insurance company has this information, they may use it to claim that you were injured before the accident or make another false statement. If you have already signed this release, your attorney can try to revoke the medical authorization to protect your rights. These past records are nobody’s business but your own, and the insurance company and at-fault party should not be given access to them.

According to state law, you do not have to repay your carrier out of your recovery if your health insurance coverage is provided by an insurance company. In most cases, the only time that you will have to repay your health insurance provider is when the coverage is not provided through an insurance company.

Yes. We strongly advise you to use your health insurance to obtain the medical care that you are entitled to. If you do not use this, it is likely that the medical expenses will be deducted from the settlement, which will in turn reduce the recovery amount for you in the end.

Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis, and we will only charge a fee if we have recovered financial compensation on your behalf.

Not always. The only time we will take our case to trial is if we know that we can secure a settlement much higher than the one we are currently being offered and this is what the client wants. With a well-prepared case, however, it is likely that the case will resolve before trial.

In most personal injury and wrongful death claims, there are two different types of damages that you are able to recover, economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that include true financial damages, such as medical expenses, loss of income, loss of income capacity, and physical property damages. Non-economic damages are those such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and emotional distress.

The value of your case will depend entirely on the facts of the case: liability and injuries. If you have been injured, we suggest that you bring your claim to our law firm for a free consultation so that we may review the circumstances of your case to determine how much it may be worth. How much a case may be worth is never set in stone, and having the right attorney can help you obtain a more favorable outcome.

All personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims have a statute of limitations. Additionally, you will be pressed for time in the sense that some of the evidence may disappear or be cleaned away by the at-fault party in a swift manner. Statutes of limitations will differ depending on the specific incident and where you have been injured, and your attorney will be able to inform you on that topic. You will need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible to learn your legal rights and to ensure that an investigation into your accident or injury takes place right way.

If you have suffered from the negligence of another person or a medical professional, our law firm strongly suggests that you look into hiring a lawyer. Most law firms, including ours, provide a free consultation for potential clients to decide for themselves as to whether they wish to pursue a claim. You should consider whether the attorney you choose to hire will create a substantially better outcome than you would have on your own. Our law firm is ready to take your case to trial if necessary. This puts pressure on the insurance company to resolve your claim. In the end, this may be the most beneficial thing for your case.

You should return to work only if your doctor has cleared you to return and you feel that you are well enough to go back to work. If your doctor has not authorized you to return to work or has instructed you not to go to work, you should refrain from doing so. Our law firm suggests that you try to work if you are authorized to work and comfortable doing so because we have seen that many jurors will be fairer with an injury victim who has attempted to work despite their injuries. If your employer has released you or filled your position, we advise you to begin looking for a new job as soon as you have been released to work.