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Case Law Updates
Missouri Workers' Compensation

Simon Law Group, P.C. has established this page to inform clients and colleagues of recent, pertinent case law. This site is updated quarterly. Complete quarterly case law updates are available in Adobe Acrobat format (*.pdf) by clicking on the link next to each update. (Acrobat Reader required).
CASE LAW UPDATES Archives ( 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)
October 2014 - December 2014

Claim Denied Due to Inconsistencies Between Claimant’s Testimony and the Records

Repetitive Motion Claim Denied Because Employer/Insurer’s Expert Found More Credible Because He Reviewed More Records

Carpal Tunnel Claim Denied Because Employer/Insurer’s Expert More Credible Because He Reviewed the Claimant’s Job Duties

Pro Se Claimant Awarded Only 15% Disability of Shoulder Because His Expert’s Rating Did Not Distinguish Between Pre-existing and Current Disability

Video of Claimant’s Job Duties Must Be an Accurate Representation

Without Expert Testimony Claimant Can Not Establish Causation

Claim Compensable Because Lease Grants Exclusive Use of Parking Lot

Claim Compensable Because Employer Exercised Power by Removing Snow From the Parking Lot it Leased

Safety Violation by Employer Only Results in a Penalty if the Violation Caused the Claimant’s Injury

Under Old Law Employer Can Not Terminate Benefits on its own Because Claimant Refused to Submit for Medical Examination

Claim Not Compensable Because Accident Only a Precipitating Factor in Causing the Claimant’s Hypertensive Crisis

Unexplained Fall Found Not Compensable

ALJ Can Not Award PPD if Claimant Not at MMI; Occupational Disease Found Not Compensable Because No Symptoms Prior to Alleged Date of Injury

For Occupational Diseases, the Statute of Limitations Begins to Run When Diagnostician Connects the Condition to Work - Claimant’s Personal Belief That Condition is Work-Related Has No Effect

Employer/Insurer Responsible for Modifications to Vehicle and for Difference in Cost of Average Automobile and the Van Purchased

Employer/Insurer May be Responsible for Past Medical Expenses Even if Claimant Treated on Her Own Hernia Pre-Existing the Work Injury Not Compensable

Seasonal Workers Are Only “Employees” if They Were “Furnished” to the Employer by Third Party

Fund Not Liable if PTD from Last Injury Alone

Obesity Can Constitute a Pre-Existing Disability

July 2014 - September 2014

Absent a Showing of Fraud, Undue Influence, or Violation of a Party’s Rights, the Commission Must Approve a Voluntary Settlement

Returning to Work Post-Injury Does Not Preclude Finding of PTD

Despite Claimant’s Expert Testimony That He Was PTD as a Result of Prior Injuries and His Work Injury, Commission Can Still Find Him PTD as a Result of Work Injury Alone

Poor Academic Record Does Not Create Permanent Learning Disability to Establish Pre-Existing Condition

The First Question is Whether the Claimant is PTD From the Last Injury Alone

Treating Physician More Credible than Employer’s Five Experts

Unless Squarely Contradicted, Expert Testimony will be Found Credible

Surgical Physician More Credible on Causation

Expert’s Revision of Their Report Does Not Impair Credibility if Based on New Records

Claimant’s Constantly Changing Story Impaired Credibility and Prevented Him From Satisfying His Burden of Proof

Determination of Whether Claimant Was Injured In Scope and Course of Employment is Whether She Was Injured Because She Was at Work Not Merely While She Was at Work

Following Termination, Employee is Allowed a “Reasonable Time” to Leave Employer’s Premises Before Employment Relationship is Severed

Fall on Icy Parking Lot Found Compensable

Finding of Employer-Employee Relationship Requires the Employee to Be in the Service and Control of the Employer

Eight Factors Determine Whether Worker is an Employee or Independent Contractor

Claimant Bears the Burden of Proof

Job Duties Need Not Be Strenuous to Meet Burden of Proving Occupational Disease

Statute of Limitations Begins to Run When the Employer-Insurer Make the Last Payment on the Claim

Losing at a Hearing on an Accident Claim Does Not Bar Claimant From Bringing an Occupational Disease Claim For the Same Injury

Minor Subsequent Injury Can Expose Employer to PTD Liability

To Impose Liability Against the Fund, Claimant’s Prior Injuries Need Not Be at MMI at Time of Primary Injury if Claimant Seeks PTD Benefits

Test For Fund Liability is the Potential That the Pre-Existing Condition May Combine with the Work Injury to Result in Greater Disability

Exclusivity of Division’s Jurisdiction Should Be Raised as an Affirmative Defense

Civil Claim For Co-Employee Negligence Requires “Something More”

April 2014 - June 2014

Retaliatory Discharge Standard Change To “Contributing Factor”

To Recover For Acts of Co-Employee Negligence Between 2005 and 2012, Clamant Need Only Show the Co-Employee Owed Him/Her a Duty of Care

Replacement Crowns Considered Future Medical Not Disfigurement

Pre-Existing Disability Should Be Evaluated Based on Potential to Combine With Work Injury in the Future Rather Than Past Issues

SIF Has the Ability to Depose Its Own Experts

Must First Look to Last Injury Alone to Determine Whether SIF or Employer is Responsible for PTD Benefits

Claimant Has Burden of Proving Jurisdiction

Claimant Found PTD as a Result of His 2004 Injury Despite the Fact That He Continued to Work and Had a Subsequent 2005 Injury

The Commission Determines Credibility of Experts

The Commission Need Not Adopt Every Aspect of an Expert’s Testimony If the Claimant Settles a Third Party Claim Before the Workers’ Compensation Claim the Dollar-For-Dollar Credit Applies to Future Benefits Not Past Unpaid Benefits

Employer Responsible For PTD Benefits After Claimant Sustained Hand Injury

Extension of Premises Doctrine Still Alive

Aggravation of Underlying Disease Means Work Injury Not The Prevailing Factor

Shoulder Injury Compensable Despite Only One Record Two Weeks After the Injury Noting Shoulder Pain

Under Strict Construction Principal Place of Business Can Only Be One Place

Unexplained Fall Not Compensable

Claimant Lacked Credibility and Failed to Meet his Burden

Only Need to Show Future Medical Treatment is Reasonably Required to Cure and Relieve the Effects of the Injury

January 2014 - March 2014

Court Defers to Commission on Credibility and Findings of Fact
If Claimant is Placed at MMI and Continues to Treat the Issue of When Claimant Actually was or is at MMI can be Disputed
Claimant Not PTD Prior to Last Injury Because Could Compete in Open Labor Market Without Any Accommodation
Claim Compensable When Claimant Tripped and Fell While Walking Across Street
Claimant PTD Because Credibly Testified That Needed to Recline Frequently
Throughout Day to Relieve Pain
Employer Responsible for All Past Medical Expenses Reasonably Required to Cure and Relieve Effects of Work Injury
Claimant Not PTD Prior to Work Injury
Claimants are Not Entitled to Pre-Judgment Interest
Must First Look to Last Injury Alone to Determine Whether SIF or Employer is Responsible for PTD Benefits
Credibility is Determination of Commission
Claim Compensable When Claimant Walking Across Parking Lot to Take Trash Out and Smoke Cigarette
Claimant Gave Proper Notice When Filed Claim Prior to Diagnostician Connecting Condition to Job Duties
Claim Denied Because Claimant’s Testimony Was Inconsistent With Medical Records and Claimant Had History of Prior and Subsequent Injuries
Claimant PTD Because Vocational Expert Not Credible Because Did Not Use Correct Standard
Claimant Found PTD Despite the Fact That He Worked For Employer For Over Two Years after Injury
Motor Vehicle Accident Found to be In Course and Scope of Employment
Claimant’s Fusion Related to Work Injury Despite Prior Herniations and Symptoms On and Off For Two Years Prior to Injury

October 2013-December 2013

Court Will Not Substitute Its Judgment on the Issue of Expert Credibility, Even if It Would Have Reached a Different Conclusion than Commission
Commission Cannot Commute Weekly Benefits to Lump Sum Unless It’s in the Best Interests of Claimant or Claimant’s Dependents
Workers’ Compensation is Exclusive Remedy For Claimant Against Statutory Employer
At least One Disability has to Meet the Threshold for Fund Liability, however, Once Threshold is Met All Pre-existing Conditions are Considered when Determining the Amount of the Fund’s Liability
Pro Se Claimant Must Follow Evidentiary Rules of Evidence At Hearing
Employee Found Not to Be Aggressor and Claim Compensable
Claimant’s Repetitive Motion Claim Denied Because Long History of Back Pain and Claimant Only had Back Intensive Job Duties for One Month Before Seeing Doctor
Despite Claimant’s Pre-existing Conditions, Fusion Found to be Necessary to Cure and Relieve Claimant From Effects of Work Injury
Employer Responsible for PTD Benefits After Non-surgical Low Back Injury, Despite Claimant’s Numerous Pre-existing Conditions Including Two Fusions
Claimant’s Need for Another Procedure Due to Pre-existing Conditions Not Work Injury
Claimant’s Fusion Needed to Cure and Relieve Him From Effects of Work Related Back Sprain
Claim Denied Because Claimant’s Symptoms Began After She Stopped Working For Employer
Claim Dismissed Because Not Timely Filed
Commission Affirmed Decision of ALJ Denying Claim Because Witnesses Found to be More Credible than Claimant
Claimant PTD as Result of Wrist Fracture and RSD

July 2013-September 2013

Claim Denied Because Claimant Did Not Prove Fall Came From Hazard Related To Employment
Claimant Entitled to PPD Benefits not PTD Benefits
Claimant PTD Because No Employer Could Reasonably Be Expected to Hire Him
Claimant’s Job Duties Were A Substantial Factor in Causing His Heart Attack Which Caused His Death
To Win a Retaliation Suit Claimant Has to Prove that Exercising His Rights Under Workers’ Compensation Was the SOLE Reason for His Termination
Employer Not Insurer Has Right to Direct Treatment
Claimant Has to Prove Employer Not Prejudiced By Lack of Notice Before Burden Shifts To Employer to Prove Prejudice
Widow Entitled to Entire Benefit Amount For Two Years When Remarry
Claimant Assaulted and Killed By Boyfriend at Work Found Not Compensable and Parents Could Pursue Wrongful Death Suit against Employer
Commission Has Statutory Authority to Approve Settlement
Attorney’s Fee Lien Has Priority Over Department of Social Services Lien
Employer Not Responsible For Unauthorized Treatment Because Claimant Did Not Ask For Treatment
Fall on Stairs Found To Be Compensable Because Had to Use Stairs to Access Tower
Rotator Cuff Tear Related to Prior Injury Not Work Injuries
Carpal Tunnel Compensable Because No Evidence that Condition Was Caused By Anything Other Than Job Duties
Horseplay Found Compensable and Claimant Awarded Medical Treatment and Disfigurement Equal To Cost of Medical Treatment
Commission Reversed Decision of ALJ Denying Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Commission Reversed ALJ’s Award Denying That Rotator Cuff Was Due To Occupational Disease
Personal Assault on Employer’s Parking Lot Not Compensable
Claimant PTD Because Surveillance Was Not Persuasive Since Only Showed Limited Activity
Claimant’s Live Testimony More Credible Than Employer’s Affidavit
Claimant’s Date of Injury Determines Whether Dependents Are Entitled to Benefits
Plantar Fasciitis After 13 Hour Shift Found To Be Compensable Accident
Claimant’s Job Duties as EMT Caused Injury to His Back and Shoulder By Occupational Disease
Claimant’s Deposition Testimony Could Not Be Used In Lieu of His Live Testimony
Fall Down Step Not Compensable Because Not Hazard or Risk Related to Employment, Claimant Simply Missed Step

April 2013-June 2013

One Medical Opinion Relating an Occupational Disease to a Job is Sufficient For Claim to be Found Compensable
Claim Denied Because Claimant Not An Employee Nor Statutory Employee
Fund Has No Liability Because Claimant was PTD Prior to Last Work Injury
Appellate Court Only Has Jurisdiction to Review Commission’s Final Award, Not Temporary Award
Minor Dependents Entitled to Continuing PTD Benefits for Life (Applies only if Claim was pending from January 9, 2007 through June 26, 2008)
VA Entitled to Become a Party in a Workers’ Compensation
Employer Found Responsible for PTD Benefits After Conservatively Treated Back Injury
Commission Can Only Double Benefits Awarded by ALJ and Unpaid By Employer
Claimant on Job Site Walking to Truck and Tripping Over Pile of Dirt Found Compensable
Claimant PTD Due to Work Injury and Prior Shoulder Injury
Employer Not Entitled to Reduction in Benefits for Drug Violation
Claimant Sustained Accident However No Disability Since Treating With Injections Weeks Prior to Injury

January 2013 - March 2013

Percentage of Disability Alleged in Claim Not Deemed Admitted if Employer Does Not File Answer Timely
Commission Has Authority to Review Temporary Award of ALJ and Issue Final Award if Employer Initially Denied ALL Liability
SIF Cannot Be Compelled to Pay a Claimant Benefits Because the SIF is Insolvent
Injury in Parking Lot Compensable because Employer Owned, Maintained and Controlled Lot
Fall on Employer's Parking Lot Curb Not Compensable
Doctor Not Credible because Changed Opinion on Cross-examination
Costs Awarded Against Employer Because Employer Denied Claim Without Any Investigation
If Doctor Doesn't Address Future Medical Treatment Cannot Assume that Doctor Does Not Believe Future Treatment is Needed
Claimant Found Not Credible Therefore Examining Doctors Not Credible
Employer Not Entitled to Reduction for Safety Violation Because Did Not Make Effort to Insure Rule was Followed
Claim Denied Because Claimant Found Not Credible
Claimant Found to Be Employee Not Independent Contractor Because Employer Had Right to Control Work
No Evidence for ALJ's Award of TTD and ALJ May Order a Change in Provider But Cannot Direct Employer to Use Specific Provider

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