Other Injuries – Vision Loss / Eye Injuries /Scars or Disfigurement/ hearing loss/Psychiatric disability/ Repetitive Trauma
The Missouri workers’ compensation system is unfair to those that suffer serious eye injuries. If you lose an eye in a workers’ compensation case and are no longer able to see out of that eye, the “meat chart” in Missouri only allots for 140 weeks of pay for complete loss of sight in one eye. This is woefully insufficient. Because of this, if you suffer an eye injury you should call Cantor & Burger immediately so that we may assist you in maximizing your benefits. Frequently, when someone suffers an eye injury they also have depression and other complications. Losing an eye can also be disfiguring for which the employer will owe additional money. Lastly, the loss of an eye is not just the vision in that eye, but affects the entire person or the body as a whole. Your medical provider needs to understand that an eye injury is a serious loss to the person that sustained it as does your legal representation.
Mark Cantor successfully handled the case of Gregory Molina in a loss of vision case. In that case, Mr. Molina worked for Waste Management as a driver and waste hauler. He was covering his load with a tarp with a huge bungee cord when he was injured. Unfortunately, as Mr. Molina was placing a tarp on that load his head was bent over and his safety glasses fell off. Immediately thereafter, the bungee cord snapped and the metallic hook hooked him in the eye. He had significant loss of one eye’s vision.
Unfortunately, Mr. Molina suffered from much more than the vision loss, but the employer saw the case as one of vision only and ignored his complaints. Mr. Molina was no longer able to work and had severe depression. The employer refused to provide medical care for the depression treating the injury as only an eye claim. Additionally, when Mr. Molina’s eye was struck he fell to ground and injured his lower back. The employer, Waste Management, also refused to provide medical care to the low back.
As the case progressed, the employer and its insurer agreed in Court to provide certain benefits and actually signed off that those benefits would be paid, but later decided that they were not owed and did not pay them. As a result, many hearings were held and on the date of the final hearing the employer/insurer actually paid more than what we had previously demanded. Mr. Molina was able to receive a large lump sum to compensate him for his vision loss, depression, back disability, and future medical. We also assisted him in getting social security benefits. He was very thankful for the work done by this law firm. If you would like to see a video of Mr. Molina please click here.
If you suffer an eye injury at work, please call us at (314) 542-9999 so we can get you all the medical attention, lost wages, and lump sum payment you deserve for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability.
Civil recoveries for eye injuries in Missouri and Illinois
The law firm of Cantor & Burger has also successfully handled many eye injuries which have resulted in large awards, verdicts and settlements.
We have handled eye injuries as a result of misdiagnosis where doctors have examined an eye and said that one condition existed when in fact it was another. This misdiagnosis caused delay which had the medical condition been properly diagnosed early own could have been repaired, but left the client blind. We’ve in fact handled two cases with different facts where delay caused blindness.
If you have an eye injury, forgetting about your legal case, you should go and get immediate medical care. For instance, if you have a retina detachment your retina can normally be reattached and you can maintain your vision, but if there is a delay it can lead to blindness.
We are currently representing a gentleman who was injured at work when a co-worker threw an object that struck him in the eye. That caused significant damage to our client’s eye and we have filed a workers’ compensation claim which is being handled by Mark Cantor as well as a civil lawsuit which is being handled by Gary Burger. As a result, the law firm of Cantor & Burger is representing one client for one event that caused significant damage to his eye in both the Division of Workers’ Compensation in Missouri as well as n the state courts.
The law firm has successfully recovered for a gentleman who was playing with his child with an imported helicopter. The helicopter would sit on a stand and you would pull a string that would cause the blades to turn and for the helicopter to fly up. Unfortunately, the helicopter blade struck our client in the eye and caused significant injury and blindness to the eye. The case settled for a confidential amount against a confidential defendant, but was a very successful recovery. Because the producer, manufacturer that imported the product from another country international law applied and the suit was served pursuant to the Geneva Convention.
As you can see, Cantor & Burger has successfully represented clients with eye injuries and blindness as a result of medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, products liability as well as civil negligence. If you have an eye injury, contact the firm of Cantor & Burger at (314) 542-9999. We can help!
I always tell my clients that if they are disfigured beyond their mother’s recognition of them, that the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Division of Workers’ Compensation will only provide them 40 weeks of disfigurement. However, on every case where there is a surgery that is from below the shoulder to the fingertips or from the shirt collar up towards the nose and the face, I always argue for disfigurement in our cases. The general rule is that a person receives about one week of disfigurement per inch of scarring on the arms. Some Judge’s like to give more disfigurement for scars on the face or for other disfiguring marks such as a lighter skin as a result of some trauma or a keloid scarring as a result of surgeries.
A week of disfigurement is calculated at 2/3 (two – thirds) of your average weekly wage, up to the maximum amount. As of 6/30/2011 the maximum you could recover for one week of disfigurement is $418.58.
At Cantor & Burger, we will not accept a claim based solely on disfigurement, but we will certainly add disfigurement to any claim deserving. For instance, if you have carpal tunnel surgery and you have an open procedure that is usually worth between two and four weeks of additional pay for disfigurement. The same is true with ulnar nerve transpositions and with some rotator cuff tears (only if the surgery is an open procedure, not endoscopic as those scars are usually smaller and above the sleeve area so as not to be compensable for disfigurement purposes.)
Unfortunately, Missouri Workers compensation laws are cheap and benefit the employer. In Missouri, if your scar is on your legs, abdomen, chest, back or anywhere other than your arms from below about the shirt sleeve or your neck and face you are not compensated for that injury. This again is because Missouri Workers’ Compensation favors in large part for the employers and was designed by big business to do exactly that. If you have a scar as a result of a work related injury, please call us at (314) 542-9999 and we will assist you with being compensated for both the underlying injury as well as the disfigurement which was caused by repairing the underlying injury.
Hearing Loss (What? What did you say? I SAID HEARING LOSS!!!!)
Missouri workers’ compensation is extremely cheap and when a Claimant losing hearing in either one or both ears, they are not very well compensated. If you have an occupational injury and you lose hearing in both ears, the most that the employer would owe is 180 weeks of pay. If you lose hearing in one ear, the employer only owes 49 weeks of pay based on the permanent partial disability schedule which I commonly call “meat chart”. Hearing loss claims are extremely difficult in Missouri. In order to be successful we must prove that the hearing loss from work and not from age or any other related occurrences. We can do that, but we must employ an audiologist. To properly handle a hearing loss case, you must contact Cantor & Burger early in the dispute at (314) 542-9999 for advice and representation or we may not be able to accept you as a client.
Related to hearing loss is a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is very difficult to prove whether a claimant has it or does not have it. It is ringing or high pitch noises or butterfly like noises in the ears. Some people experience tinnitus from taking too much aspirin, but most commonly it is a condition caused by an occupational hazard of too much noise. If you have tinnitus as a result of your work related injury there is case law supporting the idea that it is fairly tried or resolved at the level of the body as a whole which is 400 weeks as opposed the occupational loss of 180 weeks for both ears.
Hearing loss cases are difficult because the advantages with the employer given that most people’s hearing does decline over age. With the exception of catastrophic hearing loss causes by a sudden occurrence, these are difficult claims and we will not usually accept them without accompanying claims for compensation. We certainly will discuss these claims with you and you please call us at (314) 542-9999 so we can get you all the medical attention, lost wages, and lump sum payment you deserve for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability.
Psychiatric injuries are difficult claims to make in Missouri workers’ compensation. However, Cantor & Burger routinely handles psychiatric claims as components of other very serious injuries such as back fusions, amputations, or other serious injuries which caused depression in addition to the physical injury.
Cantor & Burger will also represent you in a psychiatric claim if the psychiatric stress of your event is so overwhelming that any person under the same or similar circumstance is likely to have had a psychiatric result. For instance, we have successfully handled rape cases, armed robbery cases and cases where injured workers were brutally attack and beaten.
Generally, the psychiatric claims that we handle come from very serious back injuries or neck surgeries that cause our Claimant’s to have depression. If you think that you have a psychiatric injury that meets the above criteria for Missouri Workers Compensation claim, please call so that we may discuss the possibility of representing you at (314) 542-9999.
Repetitive Trauma (Carpal tunnel syndrome)
You may be experiencing an injury caused by repetitive trauma. If your job requires you to do the same job over and over again, you may have developed carpal tunnel in the wrists, ulnar tunnel or neuropathies in the elbows, rotator cuff tears and the like. You must report these injuries to a supervisor and demand care. We encourage you to call us immediately if you have a repetitive trauma injury at (314) 542-9999 so that we can begin protecting your rights as early in the case as possible.
In order to win these cases you need to engage a law firm that has experience handling them. In carpal tunnel cases, your lawyer must be able to interpret the medical records and secure an independent medical exam from a doctor who will assist you. In other words, your lawyer needs to be able to hire and expert to issue an opinion that work was the prevailing cause of your injury, and not age or degeneration or some other medical condition. You can bet the insurance company doctors are working against you from the moment your injury is reported, so hire us right away. You probably need a nerve conduction study or other procedure, and we may be able to assist you in securing that treatment. Unfortunately, your employer has the advantage in these claims because they choose the treating doctors and the law is written against the worker, and in favor of the employer and their insurance company.
These claims became much more difficult after August 28, 2005 when Missouri’s legislature change the law that work no longer has to be a substantial contributing factor to an injury, but must be “the prevailing cause”. This is a higher standard and makes these cases more difficult. Nonetheless, Cantor & Burger has both tried and settled these cases with significant payments to our clients.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other repetitive injury caused by repetitive motion, please call us at (314) 542-9999 so we can get you all the medical attention, lost wages, and lump sum payment you deserve for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability.