B. Michael Korte of The Korte Law Firm, LLC was interviewed again by workcompcentral.com regarding the Missouri Supreme Court‘s recent decision in GREER v. SYSCO FOOD SERVICES OF ST. LOUIS, LLC, SC94724.
The Supreme Court ruled that a forklift operator who suffered a crush injury to his foot was entitled to an award for a second period of temporary total disability stemming from the same accident, even though he had reached maximum medical improvement for his original injury.
The court said the date a worker attains maximum medical improvement is not a bright-line date to terminate temporary total disability benefits, and that a worker’s entitlement to TTD can continue beyond his date of MMI if he “continues to be engaged in the rehabilitative process, even though Greer was still trying to restore himself to a condition of normal activity almost four years after his accident by undergoing foot surgery.
The article noted that many jurisdictions recognize a worker as being at MMI once his condition is unlikely to improve any further – but the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law never uses this phrase.
The Supreme Court relied on the language of The Law’s Section 287.149.1, holding that the appropriate statutory guidepost to determine a claimant’s entitlement to TTD benefits is whether a claimant is “engaged in the rehabilitative process.”
When interviewed, Korte noted that the Greer case has been “closely watched by a lot of people on both sides of the fence” as it worked its way up to the Supreme Court. He said he personally never liked the use of the concept of MMI in comp cases, since the phrase isn’t used in The Law, and he felt it has never been well-defined by case law.
Accordingly, the article notes, Korte said he had been “waiting years and years for an opinion like this” to “dive into the concept and what it really means.” He said the court’s ruling was what he had been hoping for, and he thought has “brought a lot of clarity” to the TTD entitlement issue at last.
(Editor’s note: much of this article appeared in the workcompcentral.com article by workcompenral Legal Editor Sherri Okamoto.)