MO Update: Industrial Commission denies Perm Total from psychological trauma following heat exhaustion
Quick MO Workers Compensation Update
On January 31, 2019, the Missouri Industrial Commission rendered an award in Miles Thomas v. Fred Weber Construction (to read the entire decision, click HERE).
This case is a great example of the trend that I have been seeing for several years now – – claimant has a minor or moderate injury, but claimant’s attorney gets a psychiatrist to render an opinion that the claimant has “psychological overlay” from the minor-moderate injury in order to boost the value of the claim.
Here, claimant’s primary injury was HEAT EXHAUSTION, and yet the claimant’s psychiatrist opined that claimant was permanently and totally disabled from the Heat Exhaustion combined with the psychological overlay.
Thankfully, the current Commission (unlike prior Commissions) was not simply looking for ways to give away money and simply awarded claimant 5% of the body for the heat exhaustion, despite the evidence from the claimant’s psychiatrist that the claimant was perm total.
I am seeing this “add a psych component” tactic more and more, so during any initial investigation of the claim, be sure to ask the claimant about any alleged psychological issues – preferably in a recorded statement. If you only use written statements, be sure to have the claimant address whether he/she is having any psychological issues as a denial of such issues in an initial investigation can be extremely effective at negating such a claim once the claimant hires an attorney and files a Claim for Compensation.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss how this decision might apply to any of your current claims, please let me know.