Baron and Budd Says Missouri Bill Would Prevent Future Mesothelioma Lawsuits While Increasing Workers’ Compensation Payouts for Patients

Opponents Say Mesothelioma Does Not Belong in Workers’ Comp System, Wrongly Shifts Burden

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DALLAS (PRWEB) April 25, 2013

“We need working capital to get this problem resolved,” said Missouri Senator Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles County, speaking of Missouri workers who suffer from asbestos-induced mesothelioma seeking broader compensation from their employers through the circuit court system. Outside the courts, an employer-funded workers’ compensation (WC) insurance trust, the Second Injury Fund (SIF) is running dry in Missouri; the problem began in August 2005 when the state’s General Assembly fixed a 3 percent cap on the surcharge businesses were required to pay into the fund, according to a news article in the local St. Louis media. (http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/02/12/missouri-senate-backs-bill-to-replenish-disability-fund/)

In 2005 the SIF had reserves of $25 million. Then-Attorney General Jay Nixon (now governor) acting under then-Governor Matt Blunt, both opposed the reduced cap, cautioning it was insufficient to cover anticipated costs. Cap supporters reasoned that lowering the surcharge would also decrease additional charges on insurance premiums paid per employee; overall incentives seemed to outweigh the risks. Soon after passage, however, the real estate market imploded and employment plummeted to record lows, withdrawing thousands from the workforce along with funding paid by employers into the insurance reserve. Occupational damage claims, nevertheless, continued strong. The SIF was depleted by 2009. (http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/02/12/missouri-senate-backs-bill-to-replenish-disability-fund/)

SB1, then, is two-pronged approach: In one part, it aims to replenish SIF reserves. Further, the first phase of the bill would curtail eligible injuries. Last it would reduce the 9 percent interest charge accruing on unpaid claims, according to new articles. (http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/02/12/missouri-senate-backs-bill-to-replenish-disability-fund/)

In the second part, 10 catastrophic occupational illnesses including mesothelioma would be placed under the Missouri workers’ compensation system for coverage. Ultimately, the proposed bill would prohibit patients from filing a lawsuit and pursuing compensation through the legal system. Such reclassification would mandate that patients would only receive compensation through the workers’ compensation system. (http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/02/12/missouri-senate-backs-bill-to-replenish-disability-fund/)

A mesothelioma law firm with more than 35 years of experience, the mesothelioma lawyers at Baron and Budd say: “Sadly, this bill isn’t the first to be considered in recent years that greatly affect mesothelioma patients. The state of Ohio passed the Asbestos Lawsuit Disclosure Bill that severely limited the rights of asbestos claimants. Now the Missouri legislature is considering this bill, and while it is a nod to the severity of asbestos cancer, it does not justly equate compensation to those harmed by asbestos exposure.”

About Baron and Budd, PC

Baron and Budd has championed the rights of mesothelioma sufferers and their families for going on 40 years. As one of the first law firms to successfully litigate an asbestos lawsuit, Baron and Budd continues to actively defend military personnel, industry workers, and others made sick as a result of previous asbestos exposure. Contact Baron and Budd (day or night) at 1.866.855.1229 for additional information on mesothelioma treatments, mesothelioma physicians, treatment centers, and specialized lawyers. Or please visit http://baronandbudd.com/areas-or-practice/mesothelioma-attorney/.


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  • Amanda Theaker, Marketing
    Baron & Budd
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