Workers' Compensation

Chris T. Archer, Esquire

Injury to claimant police officer’s neck occurred “in the course of claimant’s employment” where the injury occurred when claimant was cleaning his patrol car’s windshield. Whiteley v. City of Poplar Bluff, No. 31287 (Mo. App. S.D., October 11, 2011), Francis, Jr., P.J.

Claimant was working as a police officer when he sustained an injury to his neck on October 30, 2006. The claimant was reaching in his patrol car to clean his windshield when he strained his neck. The city tendered initial treatment but later contested the claim. He was diagnosed with a disk bulge and degenerative disk disease. Prior records reflected no prior treatment to the claimant’s neck.  The city contested whether the claimant sustained compensable injury based upon a medical opinion. The Administrative Law Judge denied the claim but the commission reversed and found that the evidence supported a finding of a compensable injury and awarded TTD, past medical expenses and permanent partial disability for the claimant’s cervical injury.

On appeal, the court affirmed the commission citing for support Pile v. Lake Regional Health System, 321 S.W.3d 464 (Mo. App. S.D., 2010) on the issue as to whether the accident out of and in the course of the claimant’s employment. The court also affirmed the medical causation conclusion made by the commission citing the absence of any prior medical treatment records to the claimant’s neck prior to the date of accident.

The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission has implicit authority to approve structured settlements under §§ 287.241- 287.390 and 8 C.S.R. 20-3.010(s). Roth v. J.J. Brouk and Company, No. 96708 (Mo. App. E.D., November 15, 2011), Ahrens, P.J.

In a death benefits case, the parties sought approval from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission of a structured settlement proposal between the parties. The commission ruled they did not have jurisdiction to approve a structured settlement give the limited nature of their jurisdiction. The court reversed and found the authority implicit in the § 287.241 which allows for structured settlements and in § 287.390 that all settlements require commission approval as well as 8 C.S.R. 20-3.010(5).