QUALIFYING FOR WORK STRESS-CAUSED INJURY IS HARD

In the case of Linda Mantia v. Missouri Department of Transportation decided September 12 2017, the Missouri Supreme Court made it clear that the worker claiming mental injury caused by work stress had to present evidence proving more than just that she as an individual suffered stress from her work sufficient to cause a disabling mental injury.

The Missouri Workers Compensation Law requires that “mental injury resulting from work-related stress [requires the worker claiming benefits to demonstrate] that the stress is work related and was extraordinary. The amount of work stress shall be measured by objective standards and actual events.” Section 287.120.8. Thus mental injuries from stress are extremely difficult to prove. Don’t expect it to be easy. Expect insurer to fight back, so consult an attorney.

Mantia’s attorney filed a workmen’s comp claim and went to trial. The workers comp judge denied it, then Employer appealed the denial to Industrial Commission which allowed the claim. Then the employer appealed it to the court of appeals, from which it was transferred to the Missouri Supreme Court, which agreed with the original administrative law judge who denied the claim. What was the Supreme Court’s reasoning?

The Supreme Court held that her “…individualized, subjective reactions to those circumstances are irrelevant. Employee need not show the subjective experiences of her fellow workers were not as severe as her experiences, but rather, she must demonstrate the actual events she experienced were such that a reasonable highway worker would experience extraordinary and unusual stress.” The Court pointed out that Ms. Mantia had failed to prove that the mental stress caused by her job would have been extraordinary and unusual for similar MoDOT workers other than her. Otherwise the standard of proof for such stress would not have been “objective” but based only on her own personal sensitivity to such mental job stress.

Saying how could my injury not have been work-related is not going to prove your case. You have to prove you qualify for benefits and overcome all defenses they raise. You must prove that you legally qualify for workers compensation benefits. Increasingly employers and their insurance companies will fight you on everything. You really need a good Missouri workers compensation lawyer to file and fight your claim in order to overcome all the legal roadblocks the insurance company will raise.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will never work. Whenever they can they will go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on all the legal defenses the Missouri Workers Compensation Law give them to play with to deny your claim.

They will rely on the doctors they choose to evaluate and treat you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you’d get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as difficult as possible for you the worker injured on the job to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988. Ask him any questions you might have and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits from your employer and their workers comp insurance for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us.) All consultations are free of charge.

Your workers compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at Missouri’s St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard for you on every possible issue. He can fight to keep your employer and their workers compensation insurance company from getting away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body. They are denying more and more claims these days and throwing more and more roadblocks in your way in an attempt to deny you some or all your benefits.

Our consultations are completely free of charge. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away at no charge. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you.

It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for your treatment, off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer like Tom Hyatt constantly by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

A workman’s compensation claim almost always involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper Missouri workers compensation benefits. Expect that. Tom Hyatt can locate your own medical experts to examine you and hopefully diagnose what the injuries from the work accident you suffered and rate you for permanent disability if necessary. It takes your attorney’s determination and persistence to get any much less full workers compensation benefits.

Non-Work Risk & Unknown Causes Bar Benefits

In the case of Conagra Foods, Inc. v. Jon Phillips decided September 5, 2017, the Western District (Kansas City) Court of Appeals upheld a Missouri Labor & Industrial relations Commission (LIRC) decision decided on August 16, 2017. The appeals court held that a worker who whose leg gave out on a ramp at work and fell down onto his hip and leg but was unsure how he came to fall was entitled to Missouri workers compensation benefits over his employer and their comp insurer’s heated objections. But he only got the benefits after a long legal fight.

The Missouri Workers Compensation Law provides that any accident that causes what is claimed to be a work injury which would entitle the injured worker to workers compensation benefits has to 1.) “not come from a hazard or risk unrelated to the employment to which workers would have been equally exposed outside of and unrelated to the employment in normal nonemployment life” and 2.) not “result… directly or indirectly from an idiopathic causes.” “Idiopathic causes” are unknown causes.

Employers of injured workers and their workmen’s compensation insurance companies that want to make pay the benefits raise those legal defenses all the time. This forces the worker who was injured on the job to prove that the risk or hazard that was the main cause of the accident and injury from the accident was related to the job and not just as likely to exist outside of his work and that the cause of the accident was not unknown (“idiopathic”).

Phillips testified before the workman’s comp judge that he thought but was not sure that his heel caught on the angled ramp. He had suffered multiple knee fractures years back and Employer/Insurer contended that he fell because his previously fractured knee just gave out. They appealed the judge’s decision that found his injury compensable (entitled to workman’s comp benefits) to the Industrial Commission, which upheld the judge’s decision, and then further appealed it to the court of appeals, which upheld the Commission’s decision agreeing with the judge.

The administrative law judge hearing the case, as affirmed by the Labor Commission and then appeals court, found Phillips had met the legal burden of proving his hip injury was not caused by a risk or hazard unrelated to his employment to which he would not have been equally exposed in her non-employment life, was the main (primary) factor causing his injury and disability from it, and was not of unknown cause but instead was caused by his heel catching on to ramp.

The way the Missouri Workers Compensation Law is written, with new amendments to it year after year making it harder and harder to qualify for workers compensation benefits, makes it more and more difficult to get them and encourages employers and their workmen’s compensation insurance to deny more and more claims. They fight back and force you to prove that your injury on the job was truly work-related, which can be a lot harder than you might ever think.

Saying how could my injury not have been work-related is not going to prove your case. You have to prove you qualify for benefits and overcome all the defenses they raise, making you prove that you legally qualify for workers compensation benefits. Increasingly employers and their insurance companies are doing just that. That’s why you really need a good Missouri workers compensation lawyer to file and fight your claim in order to overcome all the legal roadblocks the insurance company will raise.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. Whenever they can they will go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on all the legal defenses the Missouri Workers Compensation Law give them to play with to deny your claim.

They will rely on the doctors they choose to evaluate and treat you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as difficult as possible for you the worker injured on the job to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988. Ask him any questions you might have and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits from your employer and their workers comp insurance for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us.)

Your workers compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at Missouri’s St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard for you on every possible issue. He can fight to keep your employer and their workers compensation insurance company from getting away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body. They are denying more and more claims throwing more and more roadblocks in your way in an attempt to deny you some or all your benefits.

Our consultations are completely free of charge. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you.

It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for your treatment, off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer like Tom Hyatt constantly by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

A workmen’s compensation claim often involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits. You should expect that. Tom Hyatt can locate your own medical experts to examine you and hopefully diagnose what the injuries from the work accident you suffered and rate you for permanent disability if necessary. That is what it takes to get any workmen’s compensation benefits or full benefits.

Foot Fracture While on Break Playing Basketball Compensable: How?

In the case of Kayla Gruender vs. Curators of the University of Missouri, the Missouri Labor & Industrial relations Commission (LIRC), which hears appeals from workmen’s compensation judges, decided on August 16, 2017 that a worker who fell and injured her foot while playing basketball during a 15-minute paid break was entitled to workers compensation benefits. This might sound strange. Just how did the employee’s attorney win her workmen’s compensation benefits, overcoming all the many legal obstacles built into the law, with new ones being added every few years?

Kayla was a University of Missouri-Columbia (UMC) custodial employee who cleaned campus dorm rooms. The University allowed its employees a 15-minute paid break in the morning and another in the afternoon. She was required to remain on campus during those breaks and was paid during break time but was not told what she could do with her break time.

Right outside a dorm she was cleaning was an outdoor blacktop basketball court and she and her group leader decided to play basketball during it. Kayla was wearing slip-resistant shoes, which her employer required her to wear for her custodian’s job. While playing basketball during a break her left foot got stuck, her ankle pivoted and she fractured a foot bone. UMC denied her compensation saying “non-work-related.”

Missouri Workers Compensation Law provides that employees injured during recreational activity are not compensable (entitled to workers compensation benefits) unless the injured employee was either ordered by their employer to engage in such activity, was paid during the activity, or the injury occurred on employer premises due to an unsafe condition and that employer had actual knowledge of the employee’s participation in the activity and the unsafe condition but did nothing to cure it. You also have to meet the burden of proving the accident that caused your injury came from a hazard or risk not unrelated to your employment to which the employee would not have been just as likely been exposed off work. That could be a huge burden for the injured worker to carry.

The administrative law judge hearing the case, as affirmed by the Labor Commission on appeal, found that Kayla had met the legal burden of proving that her foot fracture injury, resulting from he playing basketball during a break while wearing slip-resistant shoes on a campus basketball court during her paid break, was not a risk or hazard unrelated to her employment to which she would not have been equally exposed in her non-employment life and was the main (primary) factor causing her injury and disability from it. Proving all that could be a very tall order indeed.

The way the Missouri Workers Compensation Law is written, with new amendments to it year after year making it harder to qualify for workers compensation benefits, makes it more and more difficult to get them and encourages employers and their workmen’s compensation insurance to deny more and more claims. They fight back and force you to prove that your injury on the job was truly work-related, which can be a lot harder than you might ever think. Saying how could my injury not have been work-related is not going to prove your case. You have to prove you qualify for benefits; they do not and can just deny you benefits and sit back and make you prove that you legally qualify for workers compensation benefits. Increasingly employers and their insurance companies are doing just that.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. Whenever they can they will go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on all the legal obstacles the Missouri Workers Compensation Law give them to pay with. They will rely on the doctors they choose to evaluate and treat you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as difficult as possible for you the worker injured on the job to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988, ask him any questions you might have, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits from your employer and their workers comp insurance for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us.)

Your workers compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at Missouri’s St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard for you on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body.

Our consultations are completely free of charge to you. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for your treatment, off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer like Tom Hyatt constantly by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

A workman’s compensation claim often involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits. You should expect that. Mr. Hyatt can locate your own medical experts to examine you and hopefully diagnose what the injuries from the work accident you suffered and rate you for permanent disability if necessary. That is what it takes to get any workmen’s compensation benefits or full benefits.

Horseplay at Work Resulting in Injury Disqualifies You For Benefits

In the case of Romero Grayson v. Thorne and Son Asphalt Paving Co., the Missouri Labor & Industrial relations Commission (LIRC), which hears appeals from workmen’s compensation judges, decided that a worker who fell and injured his shoulder while on the job was not entitled to any workers compensation benefits because the accident was caused by horseplay of the injured worker. Another case making the same point is Hedrick v. Big O Tires. I will discuss both cases here.

Romero Grayson was waiting for asphalt to arrive so he could rake it evenly so it could be rolled over by heavy equipment. He and a worker began grappling and wrestling one another. Both men fell to the ground and Grayson landed on his right shoulder. Shortly before the asphalt arrived, Grayson started wrestling with a coworker Fernandez, both men fell to the ground, and he injured his shoulder. He filed a workers compensation claim on the shoulder injury.

His employer and their insurer claimed he was not entitled to workmen’s comp benefits because Grayson’s wrestling with the fellow employee was horseplay and thus did not arise out of his employment even though it occurred at the worksite. Grayson claimed Fernandez had been harassing him and grabbed him around the waist. The case went to trial before a workman’s comp judge and Fernandez testified that he had not assaulted Grayson but that the wrestling that led to the fall causing the accident was just horseplay. Other coworkers testified that Grayson and Fernandez did not seem to be angry at one another and that he heard Grayson agree to wrestle Fernandez and heard a supervisor yell “no horseplay” at both of them.

The administrative law judge hearing the evidence held that since Grayson and Fernandez were engaged in horseplay that led to the fall that caused Grayson’s shoulder injury, Grayson had not suffered a work-related injury employer/insurer had to compensate him for. On appeal the LIRC agreed. Employee lost. Employer won.

In Hedrick v. Big O Tires, the Southern District Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the administrative law judge, as affirmed by the LIRC, that Hedrick was not entitled to any workers compensation benefits because the accident and injury were due to horseplay Hedrick had taken part in, just as in the Grayson case. The judge had found that Hedrick had “intentionally [lit] a can of glue held in a co-worker’s hand on fire with a lighter at Big O Tires. His startled coworker dropped the flaming can, which exploded on impact, severely burning both men. Hedrick claimed that he used the lighter to help dry tire glue during tire patching.

Employer Big O argued that Hedrick’s using his own lighter to set the glue on fire was horseplay and thus his burn injury did not arise out of a work-related accident and was not work-related, entitling him to no workmen’s compensation benefits. Hedrick testified that he had previously engaged in “horseplay on the job” at employer’s shop, including “squirting people with the washer fluid hose, putting stuff on door handles to make them slick, snapping a rag or something.”

A supervisor testified that Hedrick had engaged in different types of horseplay on the job including wrestling with coworkers before the injury occurred and had warned him to cut it out and never do it again. For some reason claimant Hedrick figured that just because such dangerous horseplay on the job was common that if he got hurt as a result his injury would be legally compensable with workers’ compensation benefits.

The two cases discussed in this posting show pretty clearly that any workers who engage in horseplay on the job and get injured as a result of it will not be entitled to workman’s compensation benefits. Period. The incident that resulted in the injury, even if it occurred on a worksite while working, will not qualify as a work-related accident because horseplay, NO MATTER HOW COMMON, is not considered part of the job and thus not work-related!

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. Whenever they can they will go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on any legal loopholes the Missouri Workers Compensation Law gives them. They will rely on the doctors they choose to evaluate and treat you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as hard as possible to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us.)

Your workers compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at Missouri’s St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard for you on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body.

A workman’s compensation claim involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits. You should expect that. Mr. Hyatt can locate your own experts to examine you and hopefully diagnose what the injuries from the work accident you suffered and rate you for permanent disability.

Our consultations are completely free of charge to you. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for your treatment, off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer like Tom Hyatt constantly by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

GETTING JUDGE TO ACCEPT YOUR MEDICAL EXPERT’S REPORT

In most workers compensation cases your employer’s workmen’s comp insurance will send you to doctors and medical specialists they select. If you choose your own doctors to treat you after they’ve chosen a doctor for you they will refuse to pay for any treatment they did not authorize. Your own health insurance will no pay for any work-related injury, either, so if you refuse to go to the company doctor they chose you will end up paying their bills yourself. No regular doctor would ever treat you unless they got a guarantee of payment by the workers comp insurance company.

In order to fight back against a company-chosen treating doctor or specialist they send you to you would need to get your own expert willing to read all the medical records, evaluate you and write a report giving his opinions about whether a work accident caused your injury you filed a workers compensation claim on, what your injuries were from the work accident, and what kind of treatment and tests would still be needed. An experienced workman’s comp attorney would know medical experts to refer you to. Such doctors would normally evaluate and write a report on you but not treat you. The lawyer you hire to file and fight your claim for benefits should know the names of such doctors willing to examine and evaluate you and write and defend his report at a deposition against cross-examination questioning from the insurance company lawyer. Just writing a report would normally not be enough. Otherwise you’d be stuck with what the company doctor expert says about you!

To be able to use your expert’s evaluation and disability rating report at the trial of your case under Missouri Workers Compensation Law you would have to give the defense attorney notice (including a copy of his report and all other doctors’ records your expert relied upon = “complete medical report”) at least 60 days before a contested hearing and make your expert available for questioning at a deposition by the insurance defense attorney at least seven days before your trial. But what happens when your own doctor expert who examined you and wrote a report dies before the defense attorney gets to question him? Well, whether you use his report against the company at trial all depends on whether and when you gave the defense attorney the required notice and the opportunity to question your expert before trial.

The case of McDowell v. Missouri Department of Transportation was decided by the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission on March 3, 2017. In that case the claimant employee suffered an ankle injury from an accident on the job and could no longer work given the combination of her ankle injury with the preexisting injuries to other parts of his body. The ankle injury gave McDowell constant pain and he was also diagnosed by a psychiatrist with injury-related depression that together with his pre-existing injuries made him unable to work.

McDowell’s attorney sent him to neurologist Dr. Stilling as his main medical expert, who rated McDowell for disability for the ankle accident while a psychiatrist his lawyer sent him to diagnosed and rated the psychological depression from it. Dr. Stillings came up with a report finding that he could not work due to a combination of those injuries with his past injuries. In August 2014 Mr. McDowell’s attorney sent a copy of Stillings’ examination + evaluation report and disability rating (with all of the medical records Stillings had relied on) to the defense attorney within 60 days of any trial and offered to made the expert available for defense’s questioning. He also promptly notified the insurance defense attorney that due to Dr. Stillings’ poor health he would be closing his medical practice and discussed different dates when both attorneys would be available to take Stillings’ deposition testimony to preserve it.

However, unfortunately Dr. Stillings died in the meantime because the defense attorney wanted to first get his own contrary expert examination of and disability rating on McDowell. By the time the case was set for trial Dr. Stillings had died. The defense attorney tried to keep his report out of evidence by claiming that McDowell’s attorney had never given him the opportunity to question their expert Stillings before trial. The Missouri workers compensation judge rejected that argument and allowed employee’s expert Dr. Stillings’ report into evidence. Employee McDowell won permanent disability benefits for the ankle & depression injuries.

The reason the judge gave was that the injured worker’s attorney had sent the defense attorney a copy of the doctor’s examination report with disability rating and of the medical records he relied on within the required 60 days of any trial and made Dr. Stillings available for a deposition within 7 days of a trial date. By waiting so long after receiving the injured worker’s expert Dr. Stillings’ report and then not arranging to take his deposition though they had plenty of time to do so and then trying to keep it out of evidence by claiming the defense was denied the right to cross-examine the expert, the insurance attorney had squandered the opportunity to take his deposition and should not be allowed to have the judge refuse to consider the Stillings’ report.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. Whenever they can they will go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on any legal loopholes the Missouri Workers Compensation Law gives them. They will rely on the doctors they choose to evaluate and treat you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as hard as possible to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us.)

Your workers compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at Missouri’s St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard for you on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body.

A workman’s compensation claim involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits. You should expect that. Mr. Hyatt can locate your own experts to examine you and hopefully diagnose what the injuries from the work accident you suffered and rate you for permanent disability.

Tom will fight tirelessly to win you your denied, underpaid or unpaid benefits that you are legally entitled to under the Missouri Workers Compensation Law. You always have to fight to win and keep all your proper benefits because state law gives your employer so many ways of denying you or underpaying your Missouri workers compensation benefits, either outright or by choosing doctors who favor them. If you decide you want him to represent you he can get your claim on file with the state before the filing deadline runs out and your claim is legally barred from consideration. You should act fast because strict legal time deadlines apply.

Our consultations are completely free of charge to you. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for your treatment, off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer like Tom Hyatt constantly by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

In most workers compensation cases your employer’s workmen’s comp insurance will send you to doctors and medical specialists they select. If you choose your own doctors to treat you after they’ve chosen a doctor for you they will refuse to pay for any treatment they did not authorize. Your own health insurance will no pay for any work-related injury, either, so if you refuse to go to the company doctor they chose you will end up paying their bills yourself. No regular doctor would ever treat you unless they got a guarantee of payment by the workers comp insurance company.

In order to fight back against a company-chosen treating doctor or specialist they send you to you would need to get your own expert willing to read all the medical records, evaluate you and write a report giving his opinions about whether a work accident caused your injury you filed a workers compensation claim on, what your injuries were from the work accident, and what kind of treatment and tests would be needed. An experienced workman’s comp attorney would know medical experts to refer you to. Such doctors would normally evaluate and write a report on you but not treat you. The lawyer you hire to file and fight your claim for benefits should know the names of such doctors willing to examine and evaluate you and write and defend his report at a deposition against cross-examination questioning from the insurance company lawyer. Just writing a report would normally not be enough.

To be able to use your expert’s evaluation and disability rating report at the trial of your case under Missouri Workers Compensation Law you would have to give the defense attorney notice (including a copy of his report and all other doctors’ records your expert relied upon = “complete medical report”) at least 60 days before a contested hearing and make your expert available for questioning at a deposition by the insurance defense attorney at least seven days before your trial. But what happens when your own doctor expert who examined you and wrote a report dies before the defense attorney gets to question him? Well, whether you use his report against the company at trial all depends on whether and when you gave the defense attorney the required notice and the opportunity to question your expert before trial.

The case of McDowell v. Missouri Department of Transportation was decided by the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission on March 3, 2017. In that case the claimant employee suffered an ankle injury from an accident on the job and could no longer work given the combination of her ankle injury with the preexisting injuries to other parts of his body. The ankle injury gave McDowell constant pain and he was also diagnosed by a psychiatrist with injury-related depression that together with his pre-existing injuries made him unable to work.

McDowell’s attorney sent him to neurologist Dr. Stilling as his main medical expert, who rated McDowell for disability for the ankle accident while a psychiatrist his lawyer sent him to diagnosed and rated the psychological depression from it. Dr. Stillings came up with a report finding that he could not work due to a combination of those injuries with his past injuries. In August 2014 Mr. McDowell’s attorney sent a copy of Stillings’ examination + evaluation report and disability rating (with all of the medical records Stillings had relied on) to the defense attorney within 60 days of any trial and offered to made the expert available for defense’s questioning. He also promptly notified the insurance defense attorney that due to Dr. Stillings’ poor health he would be closing his medical practice and discussed different dates when both attorneys would be available to take Stillings’ deposition testimony to preserve it.

However, unfortunately Dr. Stillings died in the meantime because the defense attorney wanted to first get his own contrary expert examination of and disability rating on McDowell. By the time the case was set for trial Dr. Stillings had died. The defense attorney tried to keep his report out of evidence by claiming that McDowell’s attorney had never given him the opportunity to question their expert Stillings before trial. The Missouri workers compensation judge rejected that argument and allowed employee’s expert Dr. Stillings’ report into evidence. Employee McDowell won.

The reason the judge gave was that the injured worker’s attorney had sent the defense attorney a copy of the doctor’s examination report with disability rating and of the medical records he relied on within the required 60 days of any trial and made Dr. Stillings available for a deposition within 7 days of a trial date. By waiting so long after receiving the injured worker’s expert Dr. Stillings’ report and then not arranging to take his deposition though they had plenty of time to do so and then trying to keep it out of evidence by claiming the defense was denied the right to cross-examine the expert, the insurance attorney had squandered the opportunity to take his deposition and should not be allowed to have the judge refuse to consider the Stillings’ report.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. Whenever they can they will go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on any legal loopholes the Missouri Workers Compensation Law gives them. They will rely on the doctors they choose to evaluate and treat you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as hard as possible to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us.)

Your workers compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at Missouri’s St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard for you on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body.

A workman’s compensation claim involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits. You should expect that. Mr. Hyatt can locate your own experts to examine you and hopefully diagnose what the injuries from the work accident you suffered and rate you for permanent disability.

Tom will fight tirelessly to win you your denied, underpaid or unpaid benefits that you are legally entitled to under the Missouri Workers Compensation Law. You always have to fight to win and keep all your proper benefits because state law gives your employer so many ways of denying you or underpaying your Missouri workers compensation benefits, either outright or by choosing doctors who favor them. If you decide you want him to represent you he can get your claim on file with the state before the filing deadline runs out and your claim is legally barred from consideration. You should act fast because strict legal time deadlines apply.

Our consultations are completely free of charge to you. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for your treatment, off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer like Tom Hyatt constantly by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

WHEN CAN INJURED WORKER SUE COWORKERS FOR NEGLIGENCE?

The case of Bierman v. Violette was decided by the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals on February 14, 2017. Sheri Bierman was injured while on the job when the ladder she was on at the Mexican restaurant she worked for did not fully open and lock, causing it to fold up and collapse underneath her. She fell to the concrete countertop below and was seriously injured. Bierman sued her coworker Violette for negligently causing the accident and her injury from the fall.

Missouri Workers Compensation Law usually bars a worker injured on the job from filing a negligence lawsuit against their employer, any manager or coworker. Their only legal remedy to get compensation for their work injury would be to file an administrative workmen’s compensation claim with the State of Missouri’s Division of Workers’ Compensation and get the case before a workers’ compensation administrative law judge. The employer provided a defense attorney to represent the sued coworker and that attorney filed a motion to dismiss Bierman’s negligence lawsuit against the coworker, saying Bierman was entitled to nothing but workers’ compensation benefits and was barred by Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law from filing a negligence lawsuit against the coworker.

The circuit judge— NOT the workers’ compensation judge— the negligence lawsuit was assigned to ordered dismissal of her negligence lawsuit because workman’s compensation was her only (exclusive) remedy to get compensation for her injuries from the fall. Bierman’s attorney. Missouri Workers Compensation Law gives employers of workers injured on the job nearly complete protection and immunity from any lawsuit by the injured workers for damages based on the employer’s negligence in creating conditions (wet floor, defective tool, unsafe equipment) that resulted in the accident that injured their employee. This immunity from negligence lawsuits has been extended to the injured worker’s coworkers whose negligent act(s) caused his injuries.

However, there is an exception to the coworker immunity rule in Missouri Workers Compensation Law. It’s when the coworker’s negligence goes beyond the scope of the employer’s non-delegable duty to its workers to maintain a safe workplace and in the course of carrying out her work. The Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals, which covers appeals of St. Louis workers compensation cases and those of the whole eastern side of the state, analyzed Bierman’s case as follows.

Ms. Bierman needed a 12-foot ladder on top of the concrete kitchen counter of the restaurant she and the coworker worked for to climb from on top of the counter into a lofted space. Once Bierman was in the lofted space the coworker unlocked, closed and moved the ladder to a place where the worker in the loft space could access it. However, the coworker failed to fully fold open the ladder and to fully lock and secure it. When Ms. Bierman left the lofted space and stepped on to the ladder to climb back down onto the counter the ladder was sitting on, it suddenly collapsed underneath her without warning, causing her to fall and strike the concrete countertop, injuring her seriously.

When the injured worker who fell sued her coworker for negligently causing her fall injury, the coworker’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming her immunity from being sued. He argued that maintaining a safe work environment was a nondelegable duty of their common employer and part of the coworker’s regular job. the trial court agreed with the motion to threw out the lawsuit against the coworker. The injured worked appealed to the Missouri Court of Appeals, which reversed the decision to dismiss the lawsuit and allowed it to proceed ahead.

The basis for appeals court’s decision was that it found that the coworker’s decision to remove the ladder and then set it back up but failed to lock or secure it was what caused the ladder to collapse under unsuspecting Ms. Bierman. This independent negligent act by the coworker was distinct from and not a part of the employer’s nondelegable duty to provide a safe workplace to Bierman. Instead it constituted an independent negligent act of the coworker in removing and folding up the ladder, then failing to lock it in place when she put it back up on the concrete counter and then failed to warn Ms. Bierman that she had done so and failed to secure the ladder. Ms. Bierman’s lawsuit against coworker was reinstated by the court of appeals.

Ms. Bierman also filed a worker’s compensation claim, which was held not to be her exclusive legal remedy to seek compensation for her work accident. In this rare instance she was allowed to file both an administrative claim for workers’ compensation against her employer and their insurer and a parallel civil lawsuit for negligently causing her fall injury against her coworker Violette. She could not have sued her employer the restaurant for negligence, since they had immunity from such lawsuits. However, she was in this instance permitted to also sue her coworker for their independent act of negligence separate and distinct from going beyond the restaurant’s duty to Bierman to maintain a safe workplace.

Remember that in your workmen’s comp claim your employer and their workmen’s compensation insurance do not have to prove that your work accident did not cause your occupational disease. You would have to prove it did. All these rules for deciding claims come straight out of The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law passed by the Missouri legislature. That law is clearly slanted in favor of employers and their workers’ comp insurance companies that would have to be made to pay your benefits and not allow you to double dip. Even if you were allowed to sue the coworker for negligence their worker’s comp insurance has a lien to get back all the money it spent for workers’ compensation benefit it paid out on your comp claim. They just don’t want you to be able to double dip and keep both all your workmen’s compensation benefits and your negligence damages recovered from your coworker. Another problem with such a case would be the likely lack of the coworker’s insurance to pay off your damages from the accident the coworker negligently caused. Perhaps the employer restaurant had other insurance covering its employees and got them to cover the coworker’s damages in court.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. Whenever they can they will go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on any legal loopholes the Missouri Workers Compensation Law gives them. They will rely on the doctors they choose to evaluate and treat you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as hard as possible to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us).

Your worker’s compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at the St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard for you on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body. A workman’s compensation claim involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits. You should expect that.

Tom will fight tirelessly to win you your denied, underpaid or unpaid benefits that you are legally entitled to under the Missouri Workers Compensation Law. You always have to fight to win and keep all your proper benefits because state law gives your employer so many ways of denying you or underpaying your Missouri workers compensation benefits, either outright or by choosing doctors who favor them. If you decide you want him to represent you he can get your claim on file with the state before the filing deadline runs out and your claim is legally barred from consideration. You should act fast because strict legal time deadlines apply.

Our consultations are completely free of charge to you. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for treatment and off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

 

PROVING LONG-TERM EXPOSURE ON JOB AS WORK-RELATED CAUSE

 

The case of Lankford v. Newton County was decided by the Southern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals on January 17, 2017. It is a funny but kind of sad case that shows that any employer will fight you on every issue possible to deny you and make you fight for workers compensation benefits on almost any kind of claim you the injured worker might file on injuries you suffered from prolonged exposure to either a toxic chemical, repetitive motion work, or prolonged standing.

To get those workers compensation benefits you the injured work have the burden of proving that your exposure on the job to those work conditions was the main reason (“primary factor”) and medical cause of the medical condition you want compensation for. To win that battle you would need a skilled and dedicated lawyer to represent you and medical experts he found willing to write detailed reports causally linking your injuries to being exposed to those conditions on the job. Many doctors you go to for treatment of such work-related exposure injuries will tell you they think your medical condition is work-related but refuse to get involved in a legal dispute, write such a detailed report linking your work to your medical condition, and stand behind it under questioning from the insurance company’s defense attorney.

You the injured worker seeking workers compensation benefits for your injuries from prolonged exposure on the job to conditions you believe caused your work injury have the legal burden to prove that your work injury was caused by long exposure on the job. Your employer and their workmen’s compensation insurance do not have to prove that your exposure to chemicals or repetitive motion work did not cause your occupational disease. You would have to prove it did, and they will almost always deny your claim and force YOU to prove it. All these rules for deciding claims come straight out of The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law passed by the Missouri legislature. That law is clearly slanted in favor of employers and their workers’ comp insurance companies that would have to be made to pay your benefits.

Missouri workmen’s compensation claims for benefits for over-exposure to repetition motion work, toxic chemicals, or any other part of your work environment are called “occupational diseases”. It is hard enough to prove your right to workers’ comp benefits from a work-related accident, such as from slips and falls, lifting, things and people running into you and falling on you, wrenching and twisting your back, neck, shoulders, knees, crushing or lacerating parts of your body, and so on. Proving your entitlement and right to workman’s compensation benefits from repeated and extended exposure to repetitive motion, toxic chemicals, or prolonged stress and strain on your body from your work is much more difficult. However, it can be done given the right facts about your work exposure and strong medical expert support.

In the Lankford case Terry Lankford brought a workmen’s comp claim for pneumonia and COPD from exposure to pigeon droppings that he claimed damaged his lungs and made him very short of breath. In 2002 he got COPD from exposure to ammonia from a meth lab he was testing. Before that he had never suffered any kind of breathing problems.

He was also a big smoker. At first the prosecutor allowed him to smoke in the basement of the building he worked in. Eventually they told him he would have to go outside the building to smoke. The place he went to smoke was the roof of the courthouse. He did his work there, meeting prosecutors and witnesses there, but the roof it was full of pigeon droppings. Pigeon droppings contain bacteria that are known to cause lung infections and lung damage such as COPD and pneumonia. While his Missouri workers’ compensation claim was being fought Mr. Lankford died and his wife stepped into his place to get workers comp widow’s benefits.

Lankford’s medical expert his attorney sent him to testified that while the smoking made him more susceptible, the prevailing, primary medical factor causing his COPD and pneumonia was long daily exposure to the pigeon droppings on the courthouse roof. The prosecutor’s office’s workers’ compensation defense medical expert testified that such bird droppings could be found and could have exposed him just as easily and frequently to their bacteria away from his work on the courthouse roof.

A Missouri workman’s comp administrative law judge heard Lankford’s case and ruled in his favor that his excessive exposure to the pigeon droppings while at work on the roof of the courthouse was the main, prevailing factor that caused his COPD and pneumonia that infected him and eventually killed him. The Missouri Labor & Industrial Relations Commission heard the initial appeal by employer Newton County and affirmed the trial judge’s finding of compensability (entitling him to benefits). The Southern District Missouri Court of Appeals, hearing employer Newton County’s appeal of the Commission decision, affirmed that decision. It also found that the occupational disease contracted by Lankford was not “an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed outside of the employment.” It was a difficult, hard fight but in the end Lankford and his widow won comp benefits.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. Whenever they can they will go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on any legal loopholes the Missouri Workers Compensation Law gives them. They will rely on the doctors they choose to evaluate and treat you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as hard as possible to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us.)

Your worker’s compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at the St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard for you on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body. As you can see from Lankford’s case, a workers compensation claim involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits. You should expect that.

Tom will fight tirelessly to win you your denied, underpaid or unpaid benefits that you are legally entitled to under the Missouri Workers Compensation Law. You always have to fight to win and keep all your proper benefits because state law gives your employer so many ways of denying you or underpaying your Missouri workers compensation benefits, either outright or by choosing doctors who favor them. If you decide you want him to represent you he can get your claim on file with the state before the filing deadline runs out and your claim is legally barred from consideration. You should act fast because strict legal time deadlines apply.

Our consultations are completely free of charge to you. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for treatment and off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

HOW CLAIM FILING DEADLINE FOR CARPAL TUNNEL IS DETERMINED

The case of Lisa Cook v. Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission was decided by the Southern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals on October 25, 2016. The injured worker was a secretary who spent 85-90% of her work time at the computer doing data entry for her government agency she worked for. She developed wrist problems in 2005. Eventually in 2011 she was given a nerve conduction test that showed nerve damage in her wrists and diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Ms. Cook’s employer the State of Missouri sent her to their own doctors who denied “compensability”, meaning they denied that her carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists was work-related and refused her any treatment and any disability benefits, forcing her to go to her own doctors for treatment. The orthopedic hand surgeon she went to did carpal tunnel release surgery on both wrists (“bilateral”) and was of the opinion that her bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome was primarily caused by her repetitive motion data entry work for the state.

After depositions were taken by each side’s doctor experts the case went to trial before an administrative judge, who after the hearing found that Cook’s carpal tunnel syndrome she had developed in each wrist was primarily caused by her repetitive motion work as a secretary for the state. Employer appealed the judge’s decision in favor of compensability to first to the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, which agreed with and affirmed the trial judge’s decisions finding compensability of her injuries as work-related and that she had filed her claim before the statute of limitations time filing deadline had run out. The state appealed that decision up to the Missouri Court of Appeals, arguing both that Ms. Cook’s repetitive motion work was not the primary factor causing her carpal tunnel syndrome in either wrist and that she had filed her claim for benefits after the legal deadline had passed.

The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the trial judge and the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission both in agreeing with them that Ms. Cook’s repetitive motion work was the main cause of her carpal tunnel syndrome and that she had not filed her claim with the state too late after the statute of limitations filing deadline had run out. I am going to focus on the Court of Appeals’ reasons for agreeing with the trial judge and Commission’s conclusion that she had not filed her claim too late after the legal filing deadline had already past.

The part of the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law that sets all the rules for the system says that the statute of limitations claim filing deadline does “not begin to run on an occupational disease such as carpal tunnel until it becomes reasonably discoverable and apparent that an injury has been sustained relative to such exposure [to repetitive motion work].” The State of Missouri’s attorneys argued that, as earlier appellate cases on the same issue had held, the statute of limitation started running as soon as the injured employee who later files a claim finds out that they have contracted carpal tunnel syndrome does not start the time clock running on the statute of limitations claim-filing deadline.

The court held that the legal test for when the clock on the filing deadline begins to run is not when the employee first realizes they have come down with carpal tunnel syndrome, but when the worker should first become aware that their carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by their exposure to repetitive motion work. The company-selected hand surgeon Ms. Cook was sent to by the state had told her that she had carpal tunnel syndrome but that it was not primarily work-related from her exposure to repetitive motion data entry work.

The court held that the proper determination of when the time clock starts the statute of limitations running for filing a claim on carpal tunnel syndrome is not just when the injured worker is diagnosed with carpal tunnel but when it become reasonably apparent to the employee that the carpal tunnel syndrome was work-related as having been mainly caused to the exposure to intensive repetitive work motions on the job. Otherwise how could the injured worker who know he has come down with carpal tunnel syndrome know that he has a potentially compensable injury to file the claim for workers compensation benefits on in the first place? Keep in mind that if you file your claim once the filing deadline has passed, your claim will be barred and thrown out.

After visiting our website that this blogpost is on, feel free to call Tom Hyatt at (314) 298-9988 or (636) 928-6767 for a free consultation, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper medical treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email Mr. Hyatt at or fill in the contact information on the contact page of this website. The best way to get information is simply to call those numbers, tell him about your case, and ask him questions and advice at no charge to you. It would be totally up to you whether to hire him to file and fight your claim, which he would do for a modest percentage of all the benefits he would fight to get you.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. Whenever they can they will always go out of their way to deny you or underpay you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on any legal loopholes the Missouri Workers Compensation Law gives them and by relying on the doctors they get to pick to treat and evaluate you who will not just find little or nothing wrong with you but claim that your work injury wasn’t primarily work-related, meaning you get nothing: no medical treatment, no temporary off-work benefits, and no permanent disability benefits. A lot of legal loopholes are written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it as hard as possible to quality for workmen’s compensation benefits.

Attorney Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of legal appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of our website. (See Contact us.)

Your workman’s compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at the St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body. A workmen’s compensation claim involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits. A lot of legal technicalities are involved.

Tom will fight tirelessly to win you your denied, underpaid or unpaid benefits that you are legally entitled to under the Missouri Workers Compensation Law. You always have to fight to win and keep all your proper benefits because state law gives your employer so many ways of denying you or underpaying your Missouri workers compensation benefits, either outright or by choosing doctors who favor them. If you decide you want him to represent you he can get your claim on file with the state before the filing deadline runs out and your claim is legally barred from consideration.

Our consultations are completely free of charge to you. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for treatment and off-work and permanent disability benefits. You need a lawyer by your side advising you and fighting for you. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

 

RISK SOURCE CAUSING ACCIDENT MUST BE FROM JOB

The case of Bonnie Jensen Price v. Encompass Medical Group was decided by the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals on August 23, 2016. The injured worker was a nurse practitioner who worked in an office building for her employer. To leave from her employer’s office on the fourth floor of the building Bonnie had to walk down a hallway from her employer’s office to the elevator, enter the elevator and go down to the ground floor and then out the building. There was no other normal way of leaving the office to exit the building.

As Ms. Jensen-Price was walking into the elevator after crossing the hallway on the fourth floor she saw no one coming out of the elevator. She was carrying her purse in one hand and her laptop computer in the other and intended to do work on the laptop once she got back home. However, when the elevator door opened a maintenance cart came out, collided with her leg, and caused her to fall to the floor. She injured her back, head and the back of her neck in the fall, fracturing a lumbar vertebra and herniating a disc in her lower back.

When Jensen-Price requested treatment for her injury from her employer, they denied it. This forced her to seek treatment for her injuries from the fall with doctors of her own choosing paid for by her regular health insurance. She hired an attorney, who filed a claim for her and got it before a state administrative law judge who held a hearing on it. The attorney demanded payment for all her medical treatment, rehabilitation, temporary off-work lost wages benefits, plus major permanent disability benefits.

The administrative judge, who heard the case and took testimony from witnesses including each side’s medical experts, concluded that her injury was not work-related and compensable as a work injury because 1.) her employer the medical clinic had no control over the common areas of the building such as the hallway and elevator, and 2.) she had left work, was no longer working when the cart hit her, and was on the way home when the accident occurred that injured her. The judge decided that the risk that caused the accident was simply walking and could just as well have occurred anywhere outside of her workplace in the clinic office.

The injured nurse practitioner’s attorney filed an appeal of the judge’s complete denial of her workers compensation claim to the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. The Commission agreed with the judge’s decision and did not find her injuries work-related, compensable and entitled to workers compensation benefits. It decided that even though she might have faced a greater risk of such a slip and fall injury entering the elevator down the hall from her office, there was not enough evidence on the hearing record to prove a greater risk there than she faced off the job.

Ms. Jensen-Price’s attorney appealed the denial of her claim further up to the Missouri Court of Appeals. The appeals court pointed out that for an accident to a work-related, compensable injury her employer would be responsible to pay benefits for (medical, off-work lost pay, and permanent disability), the “employee must show a causal connection between the injury at issue and the employee’s work activity,” meaning “the employee must demonstrate that she was injured because she was at work and not simply while she was at work.”

The court held that the hazard of the injured nurse’s collision with the maintenance worker’s cart as it pushed out of the darkened elevator was not present in her normal nonemployment life. It also held that it was irrelevant whether pulling her briefcase might have affected her balance after the cart ran into her, why she fell, the darkness of the elevators, or the frequency of maintenance workers with carts exiting elevators down the hallway from her office during or after business hours.

The deciding factor was whether she would have been equally exposed to such a risk source in her normal nonemployment life. Since she would not have been exposed to such a risk except down the hall from where she worked, the court held the injury to be compensable. There was no such risk source of running into a maintenance cart in her nonemployment life.

The appeals court held that since she was carrying her laptop to go home and do further work on it for her employer, she was travelling from one worksite to another when she fell and was hurt. It also concluded that the compensability of her injuries as work-related entitling her to benefits hinged on whether he employment exposed her to a greater risk of injury than she would have faced in her normal nonemployment life, as Missouri law requires.

After visiting our website that this blogpost is on, feel free to call Tom Hyatt at (314) 298-9988 or (636) 928-6767, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper medical treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email Mr. Hyatt at or fill in the contact information on the contact page of this website. The best way to get information is simply to call those numbers, tell him about your case, and ask him questions and advice at no charge to you. It would be totally up to you whether to hire him to file and fight your claim, which he would do for a modest percentage of all the benefits he would fight to get you.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. They will always deny you any kind of medical treatment benefits, off-work lost pay benefits, and permanent disability benefits based on any possible loopholes the Missouri Workers Compensation Law gives them. There are a lot of such loopholes written into the law by the Missouri state legislature to make it harder to get.

Tom Hyatt can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once Tom files a claim to get your case in front of a judge and fight the case to a hearing and several levels of appeals. Feel free to call him at (314) 298-9988, (636) 928-6767, or toll free at (877) 949-9988, ask him any questions, and tell him all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email him at tomhyatt@sbcglobal.net or fill in the contact information on the contact page of this website.

Your workman’s compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at the St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with refusing to treat, ignoring and undertreating injuries you suffered on your job from a work-related injury, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body. A workmen’s compensation claim involves a lot of fighting back and legal appeals in order to win all your proper workers’ compensation benefits.

Tom will fight tirelessly to win you your denied, underpaid or unpaid benefits that you are legally entitled to under the Missouri Workers Compensation Law. You always have to fight to win and keep all your proper benefits because state law gives your employer so many ways of denying you benefits, either outright or by choosing doctors who favor them.

Our consultations are completely free of charge. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay any of your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for treatment and off-work and permanent disability benefits. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact us.)

WHY WORKERS INJURED ON JOB NEED ATTORNEY TO FIGHT FOR THEM

This is Attorney Tom Hyatt, owner of St. Louis Workers Compensation Center and Workmen’s Comp Legal Clinic. I have helped many people over the years fight to get all their proper workers compensation benefits after they were injured on the job.

Anybody who is hurt on the job in a work injury will inevitably face either having their employer or boss ignore their injuries from their accident or from repetitive motion work developing over time. Often they will refuse to send you out to a doctor, clinic or hospital for treatment or authorize your treatment that they agree to pay for, leaving all your medical bills unpaid.

Even when they or their workers compensation insurance agents do send you to a doctor they choose for treatment, they will always send you to doctors who won’t treat your full injury, ignoring and undertreating your problems so you don’t get paid for being off work. After failing to authorize a doctor to treat you, they will refuse to pay you lost pay benefits for being off work because their doctors are usually refuse to listen to you and will try to send you right back to work with no restrictions or only a few restrictions. After refusing to treat or send you to doctors they choose who send you, the boss will often fire you for missing work due to your work injury they refused to treat you for even after you asked them for it.

I can help you fight to get proper and full treatment, off-work lost pay benefits and permanent disability benefits. However, it will usually take a long fight and struggle once I file a claim to get your case in front of a judge and send you to our own expert who will try to find out what is really wrong with you from your work injury and write and stand behind his report on it. After visiting my website that this blogpost is on, feel free to call me at (314) 298-9988 or (636) 928-6767, ask me any questions, and tell me all about the problems you’ve been having getting proper treatment and money benefits for your work injuries. You can also email me at or fill in the contact information on the contact page of this website.

Waiting for your employer, ex-employer or their workmen’s compensation insurance agents to do the right thing for you and take care of your needs and all your injuries will get you nowhere. They have the right to send you to their own treating doctors, who will always work exclusively in their own interests to save them money at your expense. They work for them, not you, and will ignore many or most of your injuries and problems. I can give you the most information and best answer your questions and put you on the right track if you call me at the phone numbers I list above. If I am not there leave a message and I will call you back soon. (See Contact Us).

If anybody but the company or their insurance agents or nurses chooses your treating doctor (including you or an urgent care you went to on your own) without their approval, you could be left holding the bag to pay all your doctor bills for unauthorized treatment. You need to hire an attorney to file a claim with the state, eventually get your case before a judge, and FORCE them to do the right thing. You can accept whatever they decide to give you— never enough— or hire a good attorney to fight for all your proper rights and benefits. Strict legal time deadlines apply to notify your employer about your injuries and request treatment. Letting those deadlines pass means they don’t owe you any treatment or money benefits.

Your workers compensation attorney such as Tom Hyatt at the St. Louis Workers Compensation Center can fight hard on every possible issue. He can make sure that your employer and their workman’s compensation insurance company do not get away with ignoring and undertreating many of the injuries you suffered from your work accident, underpaying you money benefits for being off work unable to work on doctor’s orders, or compensating you for permanent disability loss to your body.

Your workers compensation lawyer can also constantly be on the lookout and on guard to enforce all your rights to full benefits you deserve. He can fight to make sure the insurance company follows through on its promises to pay you weekly benefits for lost wages at the correct rate based on what you earned in the months leading up to your injury.

Often they will try to short change badly you on the rate. Your attorney can get all your wage data together either from your pay records or the insurance company that gets it from your employer, make sure they are paying you at the correct rate you deserve and not underpaying you at too low a compensation rate. This rate would usually be the rate they would use to calculate your permanent disability benefits at the end of the case.

Please call me for legal advice at not cost to you. It is totally up to you whether to hire me. I charge a percentage of whatever money I recover for your disability, which you would never get properly compensated on your own since they will always try to get off as cheaply as possible, paying little or no treatment or disability compensation benefits. I CAN HELP YOU FIGHT BACK THE RIGHT WAY TO MAKE SURE YOU GET WHAT’S COMING TO YOU THAT THEY WON’T EVER PAY IF YOU LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT.

Our consultations are completely free of charge. We can fight to keep the company from cancelling or underpaying or refusing to pay your benefits. Tom Hyatt will talk to you about your case right away. He will fight as hard he can to enforce all of your rights to Missouri workers compensation benefits. Our attorney’s fee would be a modest percentage of the Missouri workers’ comp disability benefits we get for you. It would be worth it since your employer you were injured working for or their insurance will always try to pay nothing or as little as possible for treatment and off-work and permanent disability benefits. Please call now for a free consultation. (See Contact Us).

Please call Tom Hyatt for advice and assistance on any work-related injury suffered on the job in either St. Louis County, St. Louis City, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, Franklin County, Lincoln County, Warren County, Montgomery County, Ste. Genevieve County, St. Francois County, or any other counties in eastern Missouri within 150 miles of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. Tom will fight tirelessly to win you your denied, underpaid or unpaid benefits that you are legally entitled to under the Missouri Workers Compensation Law.