April 2017

Verdict & Settlements

$14,650.30 – Settlement for Delivery Driver

St. Louis delivery driver developed carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in both of her wrists, but her employer’s insurance company denied that it was related to her work. BiState fought for medical care and forced the insurance company to pay for the bilateral CTS release surgery. After surgery BiState negotiated a lump sum settlement after the company paid all of our client’s medical bills.

We are very proud of this result, even though the final settlement was not the largest we’ve ever won. The insurance company did everything possible to avoid paying for this military veteran’s medical treatment: the injury was related to her time in service, it was because of her pregnancy, CTS is only caused by vibrations and not oveuse, etc.. After fighting these defenses in front of a judge, we forced the insurance company to pay for the medical benefits that our client deserved under the Work Comp Act.

Recent Cases

Rickerson v. Camdenton R-3 School District

The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Commission decides whether an injured worker is Permanently and Totally Disabled (PTD). PTD usually results in the largest awards for injured workers. An injured work is deemed Permanent Total Disabled if he or she is unable to compete on the open labor market. Obviously, there are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether someone can compete on the open labor market.

In Rickerson v. Camdenton R-3 School District, a 55 year-old injured worker was vacuuming steps when he fell and sustained an annular tear in his low back. Doctors said he could perform work within the medium demand level, which typically means no PTD. However, the Commission held: 1) the claimant was older; 2) had only a 9th grade education; and 3) had only worked in manual labor positions. Given that the worker’s injuries made him unable to continue doing manual labor, and given that his age and poor education made him unlikely to be re-trained, the Commission found he was unable to compete on the open labor market. Thus a PTD case, even though doctors said he could work.

Terms You Need To Know

AWW – Average Weekly Wage
An injured worker’s AWW is the basis to determine his Compensation Rate (Comp Rate). AWW is calculated by taking the average of the injured employee’s gross income prior 13 weeks with that employer.

A number of exceptions exist to this calculation that can dramatically affect how the AWW is calculated, such as the 30 Hour Rule. The workers compensation lawyers at BiState know these exceptions and fight to ensure the AWW is accurately calculated because this value can drastically affect every other benefit due to the injured worker.

May 2017

Verdict & Settlements

$20,090.23 – Settlement for Office Worker

A Wentzville office worker broke her ankle when her heel caught in a crack in the asphalt. Our client was taking out the trash at the rear of the office building, and her high heel caught in a crack. She fell, breaking her ankle. The insurance company denied the case, claiming that the employee was not acting “in the course and scope of her employment” as a secretary when the injury happened, and that she was subject to the same danger as if she was at home.

We fought the insurance company’s lawyers, asserting that our client would not have been in that area, wearing those shoes, or carrying boxes, if she hadn’t been at work. Our arguments won over the judge, and the insurance company settled shortly after mediation.

Recent Cases

Some work injuries happen immediately – the damage is immediate and the pain obvious to everyone. Other injuries take months or even years to develop. In Workers’ Compensation, injuries that occur over a period of time are called repetitive trauma injuries. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis, and cubital tunnel. These injuries are most common in workers with hand-intensive job duties. Jobs such as coil winder, receptionist, or mechanic have increased risk of these conditions. Unfortunately, few people are aware of how these conditions develop or even that their pain and discomfort are symptoms of an actual injury. Therefore, these types of injuries often go unreported. Sadly, when repetitive injuries are reported, the insurance companies are quick to deny claims. That’s where we can help.

Terms You Need To Know

TTD – Temporary Total Disability
TTD refers to the weekly checks that an employee receives while he is temporarily totally disabled and unable to work. These TTD Checks are paid weekly and constitute 66% of an employee’s Average Weekly Wage (AWW). Notably, this amount is capped by the law. These weekly checks are part of the 2nd Benefit for Injured Workers in Missouri.

Please see our Benefits Calculator to learn more about your TTD benefits are calculated.

June 2017

The BiState Law Center is proud to announce that the National Trial Lawyers Association has named Matthew Nagel a Top 25 Workers Compensation Trial Lawyer in Missouri for 2017. 2017 is Matthew Nagel’s first year receiving the award for a Top 25 Work Comp Lawyer. He has previously been named a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorney and a Top 100 Trial Attorney in Missouri.

Verdict & Settlements

$67,600 – Mediation Result for Nurse

A St. Louis County nurse wrenched her neck while helping an elderly patient. After months of delay by the insurance company, our client was diagnosed with a herniate disc in her cervical spine that required a two level fusion. After prolonged negotiations, the employer’s insurance company agreed to pay for the medical care but severely undervalued the claim’s value. BiState fought the company lawyers all the way through mediation, where we convinced the judge that a multiple level fusion, and the risk of future problems at adjacent vertebra levels was worth considerably more than the insurance company offered.

In 2016, nurses and other healthcare providers accounted for 19.15% of all reported workplace injuries. Employers reported 19,930 injuries to nurses hurt to the Missouri Division of Workers Compensation. The next closest industry was Manufacturing at 14.05%.

Terms You Need To Know

MMI – Maximum Medical Improvement
When a physician feels that an injured worker has reached the maximum level of improvement possible by modern medicine, then the doctor will release the work from care and declare him at Maximum Medical Improvement. Essentially, the worker has received all care necessary and no matter what other treatment is done, the worker will never get any better. MMI is the triggering event for a number of issues in the Missouri Workers Compensation system, such as terminating TTD and moving toward mediation of the case.

A declaration of MMI also stops the employer and insurance companies duty to pay for a hurt worker’s medical care – the 1st Benefit under the Missouri Work Comp System.