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Workers' Compensation

Missouri: No Death Benefits From Toe Fracture

Claimant died five years after he stubbed his toe while delivering pizzas. He fractured his toe and claims he also hurt his knee.  The ALJ awarded death benefits.   The parties disputed  whether claimant's left knee symptoms, recurrent surgeries for a proliferative mass of unknown origin, and his fatal embolism while treating for the knee years later flowed from his accident.  Claimant treated for his knee previously and was on social security disability at the time of the Jan 2002 accident.

The Commission ten years after the accident reversed an award of death benefits in a recent Feb. 1, 2012 decision.  The commission found more credible the employer's expert who attributed claimant's chronic knee problems to osteoarthritis.  Claimant's expert could not explain the mechanism of any knee injury whether claimant even twisted or fell nor could he explain the inconsistencies in medical history.  A dissent disregarded gaps in the medical history and would have sustained death benefits in this pre-reform case under a liberal standard of review.   Murphy v Domino's Pizza, 2012 Mo. WCLR Lexis 7.

Source: Martin Klug, Huck, Howe & Tobin. Read Martin Klug's Mo. Workers' Comp Alerts.

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