A Ruling by the Labor Commission May Redefine Long-Settled Injury Claims
When injured on the job, employees in Missouri are entitled to compensation as they recover. But years after injury claims are settled, should a worker receive additional rounds of temporary disability benefits even after reaching maximum medical improvement?
The Greer case involves a foot and ankle injury sustained in a 2006 forklift accident. The worker was awarded temporary total disability benefits as he was treated for his injury.
Once doctors determined the injury had improved as much as possible, the temporary benefits ended and the worker was awarded continuing partial disability pay.
Three years later, the employee opted to receive additional medical care, and the state’s Labor and Industrial Relations Commission went against established case law by choosing to award additional temporary total disability payments.
The worker is also arguing that his foot and ankle injury left him totally disabled.
The Missouri Chamber Legal Foundation is concerned that allowing workers to claim lifetime benefits when they retain the ability to work in other workplace settings could set a dangerously low precedent by allowing employees the ability to seek additional payments for their old injuries even after they’ve hit the point of maximum medical improvement. The foundation filed an amicus brief as a result.
Unfortunately, workplace accidents happen. The argument that past court decisions establish a framework for determining how injured employees should be compensated and when that compensation begins and ends is an important one.
And the legal foundation believes the case provides the Missouri Supreme Court an opportunity to toss out what the foundation considers an overreaching ruling of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission.
Missouri employers understand they have a legal and moral duty to their injured workers.
Businesses have long worked through the state’s existing system to ensure a fair resolution is reached. The Greer v. Sysco Food Services case could make that resolution a thing of the past and fundamentally alter the concept of temporary disability.
The business community should be a part of the discussion as the state Supreme Court begins deliberating.
The legal foundation is urging the Supreme Court to uphold the decision of the appeals court and keep temporary disability payments as they should be—temporary.