The second injury fund is set up for employees who suffer a work place injury that aggravates or worsens a previous one.
It is also meant to help employers who hire a worker with a disability or handicap. The second injury fund is funded by insurance companies that cover workers’ compensation and is overseen by the second injury fund unit. The unit is responsible for ensuring that any awards or settlements granted from the second injury fund are issued to the claimant. They also certify rehab centers that focus on rehabilitating injured workers.
Earlier this Spring, Missouri lawmakers passed a bill designed to help injured workers receive benefits from the second injury fund. Almost 30 million dollars in awards was owed to over 1,000 workers. A cap on how much an employee had to pay into the fund was blamed for the delay in payments. This cap has been lifted for the moment until all of the claimants receive the compensation that has already been awarded to them. To prevent this from happening again, claims for compensation from occupational disease will now be a workers’ compensation issue, thus freeing up the funds to pay for injured employees.
How does it work?
Let’s say you have a documented back injury that has left you partially disabled. Yet you still want to hold a job. Without the second injury fund, an employer may be reluctant to hire you out of fear that you will be a workers’ compensation liability. With the fund in place he can set aside that fear knowing that if you are injured while working for him, his workers’ compensation will only be required to pay for the percentage of injury caused by the recent accident. The second injury fund will pay the remaining percentage. Workers’ compensation will cover the cost of the injury and SIF will typically cover the cost of the employees’ weekly salary. This is especially important to an employer if the employees’ second injury has now left him permanently disabled.
The second injury fund makes it easier to re-enter the workforce if you have a partial disability. It also allows you to collect benefits for your previous injury if you incur a new one or aggravate the existing.
Take a look at a real life example of how the second injury fund helps not just the injured employee, but the employer as well:
A Missouri man had been treated for years for a neck injury, lower back pain, knee pain and a seizure disorder. He went to work as a building superintendant and subsequently injured his lower back more while doing an installation. His attorney was able to win for him an award for partial disability from the employer and a check every week for the duration of his life for his permanent and total disability due to the back injury.
St. Louis Workers Comp Lawyer James M. Hoffmann
Workers’ compensation is a very complex and specialized field of personal injury law. Having an attorney with a proven track record of success with these types of claims is crucial in order to win yours. If you think your claim for disability may be hindered by a previous disability, or are having trouble receiving compensation from the Missouri Second Injury Fund, contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. We can evaluate your case for free and help you determine the true value of your workers’ comp claim.