TORNADOS, LIGHTNING AND WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS FOR ON THE JOB INJURIES

Are you covered under workers compensation insurance if you are injured by a tornado at work?
What if you are injured by lightning at work?
You would think that the answer is yes. That might be the case or it might not be the case. (Typical lawyer answer.)
The first question that needs to be asked to determine if you are covered under workers compensation is: were you on duty?

Ordinarily, a tornado or a lightning strike is seen as an “act of God,” something that the employer has no control over.

But if the injury comes from a hazard which the worker would not have been equally exposed to apart from his or her employment, workers compensation benefits should be paid.

Decisions in states other than Missouri and Kansas shed light on whether workers compensation benefits would be obtainable.

In an Alabama case, an employee who was injured when the telephone he was using was struck by lightning was found by the court to be entitled to workers compensation benefits. The evidence indicted that the employee was required to be on the phone 15 to 18 hours a week and the Court concluded the worker experienced a greater than average risk of being struck by lightning as a condition of his employment.

In an Arkansas case, a worker in a trailer, who was injured after a tornado hit the trailer, was awarded workers’ compensation benefits. The Court emphasized the fact that while the trailer was destroyed by the tornado, other nearby buildings were not substantially damaged. Thus, the trailer exposed the worker to a greater risk of being injured.

An Illinois judge denied workers compensation benefits to an injured worker in a building that was hit by a tornado. There was evidence that many nearby structures were also destroyed. Thus, the worker was not exposed to a greater risk than the general population.

A Mississippi case held that a worker whose job required him to keep a tarp over the brake drums of a dragline during a storm so they remained dry, was exposed to an increased risk and, thus, received workers compensation benefits after being hit by lightning.

The common thread in all these workers compensation cases are that they are highly fact specific. Given that memories fade and information can be lost, it is extremely important to hire an attorney who can obtain statements quickly, obtain photographs of the scene of the injury, gather the weather data, hire experts, and get the evidence needed to make the workers compensation case.

If the evidence shows the employee experienced a greater risk than the general public, the Court most likely will grant compensation under workers compensation.

Dean Law Office, LLC has the staff necessary to act quickly to obtain the needed evidence and experts to make a compensable case.
Dean Law Office can help you with your workers compensation.
Call: 816-753-3100.
Licensed in Missouri and Kansas
No recovery, no fee
Free initial consultation.

The choice of a lawyer should not be based solely on advertisements.

Kansas workers compensation Disability should be rated using the AMA 4th Edition

In 2015, Kansas started using the AMA 6th Edition Guides for the evaluation of permanent partial disability in worker compensation cases.
Before that, Kansas was using the AMA Guides, 4th Edition.
The 6th Edition substantially lowered the evaluation an employee would receive for a permanent impairment. By lowering the disability rating, the compensation paid to the employee for his or her disability was lowered.
The Kansas Court of Appeals has ruled that the use of the AMA Guides 6th Edition is unconstitutional.
The facts in the case that led to finding the 6th Edition was unconstitutional were that a Kansas worker injured his shoulder in a 2013 work-related injury and, in March 2015, injured the same shoulder in another work-related accident. Because of language in the AMA Guides, 6th Edition (which applied to injuries after 1/1/2015), examining physicians were forced to issue 0% impairment ratings for the second shoulder injury in spite of the fact that both doctors testified that such an impairment rating was medically inaccurate and insufficient.
If you have a workers compensation in Kansas it should be rated under the AMA 4th Edition Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Partial Disability.
If you need legal representation after you have been injured on the job, please call Margaret E. Dean, Attorney at Law, 816-753-3100.
Free consultation.
No fee if no recovery.
The choice of an attorney should not be solely based on advertisements.

Permanent Total Disability in Workers Compensation Law

What is permanent total disability under Missouri’s workers compensation law?

In most cases, when a worker is injured on the job, he or she recovers from the injury and returns to work. There are cases where an injury is so severe that the worker may never be able to return to any type of employment. When an injured worker cannot return to any employment, the case is known as a permanent total case.

Total disability is the inability to return to any employment. It is not merely the inability to return to the employment in which the employee was engaged at the time of the accident. An example may help clarify the matter. I represented a person who did drywalling. The work involved a great deal of above-the-shoulder lifting. The employee fell from a ladder and badly tore his rotator cuff tear. Despite surgery and months of physical therapy, the employee was finally released but with a work restriction of no lifting overhead. The job that the employee was working at when he was injured was a union job with great wages and benefits. The employee could not go back to that job due to his work restriction and could only find jobs that paid substantially less.

The employer was not required to take him back and he was left taking a job that involved a significant cut in pay and no benefits. He was not permanently totally disabled.

Someone who cannot go back to any type of work, has a claim for permanent total benefits. An example may help clarify the matter. I represented a man who very early in his career lost his leg below the knee due to an electrocution. He continued to work. He then tore his right rotator cuff and needed a right shoulder replacement. He continued to work. He then tore his ACL, a ligament in the leg that had not had an amputation. He continued to work. He then badly injured his back. After that accident, he could no longer work. Thus, he was entitled to permanent total disability.

It is not only prior accidents that may contribute to someone being permanently totally disabled, it can be pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes.
If the on-the-job injury was catastrophic and in and of itself resulted in permanent total disability, the claim is made against the employer.
If the work injury combines with pre-existing injuries or medical conditions, the claim is made against the Second Injury Fund.
As in all workers’ compensation cases, the claim needs to be filed within the strict deadlines set by the law.
The law does allow lump sum settlements based on the value of a permanent total award.
On the other hand, some cases are paid out on a weekly basis for the employee’s lifetime.

Benefits received for permanent total disability can reduce an injured worker’s Social Security disability payment unless actions are taken on behalf of the injured employee to appropriately classify settlement monies.

Cases involving permanent total disability are cases where insurance companies frequently hire private investigators to obtain video surveillance evidence.

In the vase majority of cases in which it is alleged that the employee is totally disabled, it is necessary to obtain a doctor’s opinion and a vocational specialist.

If you have think you may have a permanent total disability workers compensation claim, you need an experienced attorney. We can help you, call now for a free consultation at 816-753-3100. No recovery, no fee. Dean Law Office, LLC The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.