Workers' Compensation - a Brief Summary of Missouri Workers' Compensation Laws and Changes

Workers' Compensation - a Brief Summary of Missouri Workers' Compensation Laws and Changes

The Missouri Legislature and Governor Blunt revised the Worker's Compensation Law. These changes took effect August 28, 2005.

Revised Definitions:

Injury: Under the old law, to be compensable the employment must be "a substantial factor in causing the injury." After August 28, 2005, to be compensable, the accident must be "the prevailing factor in causing the injury."

Prevailing Factor: the "primary factor, in relation to any other factor, causing both the resulting medical condition and disability."

Accident: "An unexpected traumatic event or unusual strain identifiable by time and place of occurrence and producing at the time objective symptoms of an injury caused by a specific event during a single work shift."

Occupational diseases and injuries due to repetitive motion "are compensable only if the occupational exposure was the prevailing factor" in developing the disease.

Permanent Partial Disability: Permanent Partial Disability or permanent total disability shall be demonstrated and certified by a physician. Medical opinions addressing compensability and disability shall be stated within a reasonable degree of medical certainity. In determining compensability and disability, where inconsistent or conflicting medical opinions exist, objective medical findings shall prevail over subjective medical findings. Objective medical findings are those findings demonstrable on physical examination or by appropriate tests or diagnostic procedures;

Any award of compensation shall be reduced by an amount proportional to the permanent partial disability determined to be a preexisting disease or condition or attributed to the natural process of aging sufficient to cause or prolong the disability or need of treatment.

Heart Attacks: "A cardiovascular, pulmonary, respiratory or other disease, or cerebrovascular accident or myocardial infarction suffered by a worker is an injury only if the accident is the prevailing factor in causing the resulting medical condition."

Repetitive Motion: An injury due to repetitive motion is recognized as an occupational disease, but is compensable only if the occupational exposure was the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability. Gradual deterioration, or progressive degeneration of the body caused by aging or by the normal activites of day-to-day living shall not be compensable.

Last Exposure: Under the former law, the employer who last exposed the employee to the hazard prior to the claim being filed was liable. Now, the employer who exposed the employee to the hazard prior to evidence of disability, is liable.

Objective symptoms: Black's law dictionary defines as "Those which a surgeon or physician discovers from an examination of his patient; "Subjective symptoms" being those which he learns from what his patient tells him.

Ideal Medical Opinion Language from Claimant's Perspective

Within a resonable degree of medical certainty and based primarily on objective findings of [state objective finding] the prevailing factor of claimant's injuries and resulting disability are [an injury caused by an unexpected and single traumatic event on date] or [an occupational disease caused by__]. Also within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, based on my examination, objective findings, a review of the medical records, and my training and practice in the field of medicine, Claimant is now at maximum medical improvement from his work injury and has permanent partial disability at the level of the (state body part) in the amount of percent.

Claimant will require future medical care, including prescriptions for his entire life.

Mark Cantor’s opinion – I believe these changes in Missouri law, signed and promoted by our former Republican Governor, are wrong and went too far. As a result, I am filing many more civil lawsuits as well as aggressively pursuing our work comp claims. Call us if you need us at 314 542 9999 and we will personally handle your case.

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