In a ruling released on April 27, 2010, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District Court of Appeals ruled that a decision by the Commission awarding an injured worker benefits for permanent total disability against the Second Injury Fund should not be reversed simply because the award did not use the exact language of the statute.
In the case of Savage v. Treasurer of Missouri, as Custodian of the Second Injury Fund, No. ED 93869, the employee fell and injured his left knee. He did have prior injuries to his left knee. Nevetheless, based on testimony of claimant's expert medical witness, the Commission found that the new injury was the prevailing factor "in causing additional disability and the need for additional treatment to his left knee." The Second Injury Fund appealed, arguing that the Commission's decision should be overturned because it did not use the specific language of R.S.Mo. 287.020.3(1) that the injury must be the prevailing factor in causing the resulting "medical condition" and disability." The Fund argued that since the statute used the term "medical condition," the failure by the Commission to use this exact wording in its ruling means that claimant's injury was not the prevailing factor in causing the medical condition, as required by statute.
The Court of Appeals rejected this argument as being without merit. The Court noted that the Fund did not cite any authority for its argument, nor did the Court find any support for the Fund's argument that the ruling must specifically track the legislative language. Moreover, The Court found that there was substantial and competent evidence that claimant's injury was the prevailing factor in causing his medical condition.
It appears that the Fund was somewhat grabbing at straws here and trying to find an argument to reverse the Commission's decision, when there was no good reason. An experienced Missouri workers compensation attorney can help you prove your case against the employer or the Second Injury Fund, and to keep the award if it is appealed.