Case Law Update: Q3 2022
MISSOURI WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
LEGISLATIVE, REGULATORY, JUDICIAL UPDATES
The mileage reimbursement rate from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 is $0.59.5 per mile.
PPD AND TTD RATE:
The rates from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 are $1,160.17 for TTD and PTD and $607.71 for PPD.
There has not been any significant legislation this quarter.
Robert March v. Treasurer of the State of Missouri – Custodian of the Second Injury Fund (Supreme Court of Missouri – SC99381)
• Commission Can Reject Uncontroverted Medical Evidence
Even if the claimant offers evidence supporting each element of a claim for Second Injury Fund liability, the Fund may prevail without presenting any evidence, because the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission may disbelieve that evidence. And when expert medical evidence supports more than one finding of fact, the Commission may choose the finding that disfavors the claim. So, when the expert medical evidence on causation between claimant’s work and claimant’s injury “stood in equipoise [,]” and the Commission found the facts against causation, it was simply determining that claimant had not carried the claimant’s burden of persuasion and did not exceed its authority.
The commission’s decision is affirmed.
Walter Adams v. Treasurer of the State of Missouri – Custodian of the Second Injury Fund (Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD84818)
• Pre-Amendment, Pre-Existing Injuries Discussed
Statutory amendments of 2005 provide that the liability of the Second Injury Fund for permanent total disability depends on claimant’s proof of a primary injury and at least one secondary pre-existing injury, each of which must qualify under statutory standards. Those standards include injuries with a 50-week permanent partial disability. The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission found that Claimant’s proffered pre-existing injuries did not meet that standard, and an appellate court must defer to that finding. A settlement between claimant and the Second Injury Fund under pre-amendment standards constituted “an approximated and cumulative disability rating for purposes of settlement without separately rating the individual disabilities themselves [,]” and is not binding under current standards. Whether to apply a multiplicity factor is within the Commission’s discretion.
Ronald Lamy v. Stahl Specialty Company (Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD85163)
• Settlement Covered Successive Claim
Claimant settled an earlier claim for repetitive injury to the “left upper extremity [,]” then made a later claim related to claimant’s left wrist, which the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission denied because of the settlement. Claimant challenged that conclusion of law as if it were finding of fact, and so used an inapplicable analysis, but the Court of Appeals can nonetheless discern the challenged raised in claimant’s brief. This settlement “included pain in the left shoulder and numbness and tingling in the land hand, both of which are anatomical components of the left upper extremity [,]” and medical evidence showed that the wrist injury had the same cause as the rest of the earlier claim. The Commission did not err in concluding that the Commission had no authority over the later claim.
The Commission’s Final Award is confirmed.