The Law Office of Kurt H King

November 18, 2013

Worker’s Dependents Entitled to His Workers’ Compensation for Their Lifetimes

This post dovetails prior posts regarding Missouri Workers’ Compensation law involving death by other causes of a Permanently Totally Disabled (PTD) worker and the “Schoemehl window.”

The Southern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals recently addressed an appeal by the Second Injury Fund in a case where the PTD employee with a claim within the Schoemehl window died from causes not related to the injury.   The case is Spradling v. Treasurer of the State of Missouri as Custodian of the Second Injury Fund, Slip Opinion SD31907 (November 5, 2013), and holds specifically for cases within these parameters that the dependents of the deceased PTD worker whose claim was pending and not finally determined as of June 26, 2008 are entitled to the PTD compensation payments FOR THE LIFETIME OF THE DEPENDENT(S).

Note that the employee died from causes unrelated to his injury in November 2005 after having been injured in 1998 and having filed his claim in 1998.  On the date of injury, he was the non-custodial father of two young children who were “conclusively presumed” under 287.240(4) to be his dependents.

Note too that this case falls within the “Schoemehl Window” opened by the Missouri Supreme Court in Schoemehl on January 9, 2007, and continuing until June 26, 2008, when Missouri lawmakers closed the window by revising Missouri workers’ compensation law so that PTD in such a case terminates upon the death of the injured employee.

The bottom line is that in Schoemehl window cases the employer has to pay PTD so long as a dependent lives, but if the claim falls after that window closed the employer only has to pay only so long as the employee lives.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068


Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury

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