Workers’ Compensation Defense

Practice Overview:

The attorneys of Fields & Brown have a wealth of experience and skill in defending workers’ compensation matters. Fields & Brown handles a large volume of workers’ compensation matters that vary from muscle strains and permanent total disability to injuries resulting in death. At any given time the firm has in excess of three hundred open workers’ compensation files. Most of these cases are managed through third-party administrators such as Sedgwick CMS, GAB Robins North America, Thomas McGee, L.C., Underwriters Safety & Claims, Inc., and Cannon Cochran Management Services, Inc. The firm also represents Walmart Stores, Inc. as well as multiple self-insured entities.

Representative Matters:

A retail employee sustained a repetitive work injury to her back and also exhibited extensive psychiatric symptoms. The employee’s experts found her to be permanently and totally disabled, and exposure was estimated at over $800,000. The employee demanded $600,000 to settle the matter. Fields & Brown successfully argued at the hearing that the employee was not totally disabled, and the employer was ordered to pay permanent partial disability in the amount of $34,360. On appeal to the Commission, the award was affirmed.

A teacher was injured when two students slammed her into a wall and bookshelf. The teacher alleged the incident caused her to have flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse. The administrative law judge awarded permanent total disability benefits against the school district, and its total exposure could have exceeded $1,133,516. Fields & Brown was hired to handle the appeal, and successfully argued the ruling was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence. The permanent total award was reversed against the school district and entered against the Missouri Second Injury Fund.

Received a favorable decision on appeal after a school district employee was awarded permanent partial disability. It was argued that the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission misapplied the law by concluding that it was bound by the medical expert’s opinion concerning the percentage of permanent partial disability. The decision was ultimately reversed by the Missouri Court of Appeals and has been cited in subsequent decisions.

A bus operator filed a workers’ compensation claim alleging injuries to his neck, middle back and lower back when he allegedly fell on ice on the employer’s premises. The neck and middle back complaints eventually resolved with conservative care, but he continued to complain of lower back pain. The claimant demanded additional treatment and diagnostic testing. Surveillance was conducted in 2011, and the claimant was filmed helping another person carry a heavy furnace up a series of steps. During his deposition, claimant denied carrying the furnace. After revealing the surveillance evidence, claimant was forced to admit that he lied under oath. In July 2012, this matter was referred to the Fraud Unit for investigation. The case was subsequently sent to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office for review and consideration for possible prosecution.

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