Articles Posted in Worker’s Compensation

firefighter.jpgThe Missouri workers compensation system provides certain benefits to Missouri workers who suffer on the job injuries and, under certain circumstances, who develop occupational diseases. Generally, however, workers compensation benefits are not provided to individuals who develop coronary artery disease.

An exception to this rule is set forth in RSMo. 287.067.6, which states that diseases of the heart and lungs can be considered an occupational disease in a paid firefighter if a direct causal relationship can be established between the disease and exposure to smoke, gases, carcinogens, or inadequate oxygen. Presumably, the Missouri Legislature wanted to extend benefits to firefighters for coronary artery disease and other types of heart disease because it is well recognized in the medical and scientific communities that firefighters have a significantly higher risk for coronary artery disease because of the unique and dangerous exposures they face through their job. Firefighters are exposed to dangerous inhalants, like smoke and particulate matter, and unique types of stress, that are dangerous to the heart.

If you are a firefighter suffering from coronary artery disease, contact the attorneys at Ponder Zimmermann LLC. We may able to assist you in obtaining workers compensation benefits.

Capita.jpgMissouri workers who have had an existing injury worsened by a workplace related injury are going to find it difficult if not impossible to receive compensation for their injury. Missouri’s Second Injury Fund (SIF), which compensates injured workers when their job worsens an already existing disability, has stopped paying any new claims since March 2011, when attorney general Chris Koster ordered that all compensation for new permanent total disability claims be withheld. As of today, 55 Missouri workers have been denied compensation owed to them, out of concern that the SIF would become insolvent.

Missouri’s Second Injury Fund has been in place since after World War II, to compensate returning veterans who might have already had some type of disability, but were able to work. Caps imposed on the Fund’s funding have reduced its balance, and claims against it have been steady, with nearly 700 new claims a month.

For more information about Missouri Workers’ Compensation, click here.

StreetCleaning.jpgThe Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, handed down an opinion on Tuesday that could have a dramatic effect on Missouri’s worker’s compensation and personal injury systems. The case arose from a workplace accident involving a street-cleaner employed by the City of Kansas City. The Court held that, because the legislature enacted a statute in 2005 dictating that courts use strict construction when interpreting the worker’s compensation statutes, the definition of employer no longer extended to fellow co-workers such that co-workers were no longer immune from personal injury lawsuits as employers. This means that an employee injured on the job can now file a personal injury lawsuit against any co-workers that negligently caused his or her injury under a general negligence theory. Previously, an injured employee was required to meet a heightened “something more” standard when attempting to recover against a co-worker. The case is Robinson v. Hooker, WD71207.