A few years ago the law in Missouri changed regarding permanent total disability stemming from a work injury.
The term “total disability” is defined as the “inability to return to any employment and not merely the employment in which the employee was engaged at the time of the accident.”
If an injured worker is permanently totally disabled due to a current work injury, his or her employer pays the permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.
If an injured worker is permanently totally disability due to the combination of his current work injury combining with the employee’s pre-existing disability there is a question of who is responsible for paying PTD benefits. The Second Injury Fund may be liable to pay the PTD benefits. The Second Injury Fund is a Missouri governmental agency.
There are a number of recent cases denying PTD benefits from the Second Injury Fund. The standards for obtaining PTD benefits from the Second Injury Fund are strict.
First, the preexisting disability must be medically documented. That can be problematic. A number of hospitals and medical providers in the area have closed their doors. Getting medical records can take a good bit of perseverance and investigation.
The preexisting disability must equal a minimum of fifty weeks of permanent partial disability compensation. Missouri has a chart that shows the weeks assigned to body parts. It is based on that chart that the weeks of disability are determined.
To determine an employee’s prior disability a medical opinion is necessary.
Once those two prerequisites have been met, the pre-existing disability must be either
1) a direct result of active military duty; or
2) a direct result of a prior workers compensation injury; or
3) a preexisting disability that directly and significantly aggravates or accelerates the subsequent work-related injury; or
4) a preexisting permanent partial disability of an extremity, loss of eyesight in one eye, or loss of hearing in one ear that combines with a current injury to the opposite extremity, loss of eyesight in the other eye, or loss of hearing in the other ear.
If you need assistance with or legal representation for your on-the-job injury or have questions about the benefits available under workers compensation, call Dean Law Office LLC: 816-753-3100. No fee if no recovery.
Free initial consultation.
Claims in permanent total disability cases must be filed in a timely fashion. Because you have a claim number does not mean your claim has been filed. Insurance companies assign claim numbers which have nothing to do with a claim number provided by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
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