I represented a union plumber in 2005 who sustained an on the job injury to his low back that required surgery. We reached an excellent settlement of his worker’s compensation claim and my client recovered successfully from the surgery and continued in his career as a plumber.
He returned to see me in 2017 after sustaining a knee injury that also involved a related condition known as deep vein thrombosis. My client was now 61 years old, and after his knee surgery, he found it difficult to get back to work.
We went to trial before an Administrative Law Judge against the Employer/Insurer and the Missouri Second Injury Fund and alleged that my client could not return to any work based on his age, education and work experience, and was therefore permanently and totally disabled and entitled to lifetime benefits. Both opposing sides argued that my client could do other lighter work, and therefore, would only be entitled to a one-time payment of permanent partial disability benefits, not lifetime benefits. They also argued that if the employee was found to be permanently and totally disabled, it would be the responsibility of the other party. If my client was found to be permanently and totally disabled from the last injury (the knee injury and deep vein thrombosis), then the Employer would be responsible for lifetime benefits. If the total disability was found to be the result of the last injury in combination with the prior back injury, the Second Injury Fund would owe for lifetime benefits after the Employer paid for any disability related to the last injury.
The Administrative Law Judge found that my client was permanently and totally disabled and entitled to lifetime benefits and found the Employer/Insurer, not the Second Injury Fund, to be responsible for those benefits. The Employer/Insurer filed an appeal with the Industrial Commission of Missouri, which upheld the decision of the Administrative Law Judge.
Following the Commission’s decision, the Employer/Insurer agreed to pay a lump sum of $595,000.00 to my client in lieu of the future payments based on life expectancy tables, and in addition, also agreed to provide future medical treatment as needed for the injuries he sustained in the work-related injury as awarded by the Administrative Law Judge.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, please call Attorney Thomas Gregory at 314-241-4477.