Children of Diseased Missouri Worker Awarded Lifetime Benefits

by James M. Hoffmann on Dec. 13, 2013

Employment Workers' Compensation 

Summary: Recently, a case from Missouri applied Schoemehl to grant benefits to the dependents of a worker who had died due to unrelated causes.

Missouri law provides for compensatory benefits to the survivors of deceased workers who died as a result of a workplace injury. The statute provides benefits to the dependents such as children or a spouse. Though there is generally loss of benefits in cases where the spouse gets remarried, or the children have achieved an age of 18 years. However, the cases that are pending before June 2008 are an exception to this rule. The cases that fall between Schoemehl v Treasurer of State, 217 S.W.3d 900 (Mo. 2007) allowed dependents to receive lifetime benefits even when the worker had died due to unrelated causes.

Recently, a case from Missouri applied Schoemehl to grant benefits to the dependents of a worker who had died due to unrelated causes. The case dates back to September 1998 when a man had filed a lawsuit for claiming worker’s compensation benefits alleging that he was injured when he was working for Russell Stover Candies. He said that he was injured while lifting and stacking pallets at his workplace. The man filed several other amended claims; however, during the course of proceedings he died in 2005 due to causes unrelated to the workplace injury. In 2008, the dependents of the man filed a claim for worker’s compensation with the help of a Missouri workers compensation attorney stating that all benefits that were payable to the man when he died, were payable to his dependents.

At the time when accident occurred, the man was unmarried and single, and had three children- a 4-year-old, a 6-year-old, and an 11-year-old. He was legally responsible for supporting his 3 children. Quite obviously, the children were minors at the time of accident, and were totally dependent on their father. Considering these facts, they were eligible to receive the benefits. However, the workers compensation case was dragged for over 13 years. The children, who were minors at the time of the accident in 1998, were now adults and above the age of 18 years, which made them ineligible to receive any benefits.  

The administrative law judge took cognizance of the fact that the man was able to prove that the injury was caused as a result of the work he did for his employer. It was established that he had suffered a tinge in his lower back due to the stacking or lifting jobs he did for his employer. The workplace injury caused him immense pain in the leg and back, and the pain continued till the time of his death.

Based on facts and evidence, it was found out that the man had suffered permanent disability due to the injury he had suffered at workplace, and that he was entitled to permanent disability benefits. Therefore administrative law judge announced a benefit of $156 per week for his dependents.

St Louis Workers Compensation Attorney

Workplace compensation cases can get quite complicated. It is a good idea to seek the services of a qualified workers compensation attorney to claim compensation for the damages suffered due to workplace injury.

To speak with a St Louis workers compensation attorney at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, call (314) 361-4300 and schedule a free consultation.



photo credit: bloomsberries via Flickr

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