If you have ever filed a Workers Compensation claim, you may be familiar with the “Second Injury” Fund. The Second Injury Fund is a fund maintained by the State, which is subsidized by a surcharge imposed on the Employer’s Workers Compensation premiums. The purpose of the fund is to provide additional benefits to injured workers, under specific situations.
The most common use of the Second Injury Fund
The most common situation where the Second Injury Fund is used is when an employee receives a lump sum settlement due to an additional disability resulting from a work-related injury, which is combined with a pre-existing disabling condition. Both the primary injury and the pre-existing injury must meet certain minimum threshold requirements before the Second Injury Fund will pay benefits.
The Second Injury Fund and permanent disability
The Second Injury Fund provides benefits when a person is totally and permanently disabled, as a result of the combination of the primary work related injury and other pre-existing disabling conditions. This type of benefit payment may consist of a weekly check for the rest of the life of the injured worker, or a lump sum payment.
Other applications for the Second Injury Fund
The Second Injury Fund will also make payments for medical treatment when an employer, who is otherwise required to have Worker’s Compensation insurance, for some reason does not. Also, under limited situations, the Second Injury Fund will pay lost income benefits from a second job when an injury occurred on a primary job.
Arkansas’ Second Injury Fund
Arkansas’ Second Injury Fund was first established in 1973. Like many other states, the Arkansas Second Injury Fund was created to encourage employers to employ disabled workers. The goal was, in the event of a subsequent injury, the employer’s liability for permanent disability benefits would be limited. The Second Injury Fund pays the disabled employee the difference between the employer’s liability and the balance of his or her disability or impairment. This way, the employee is fully covered. However, the Arkansas Second Injury Fund is a little different from most other states, in that it only pays indemnity benefits. In Arkansas, the medical benefits are to be paid by the workers’ compensation insurance provider.
Missouri’s Second Injury Fund
Missouri’s new Second Injury Fund (SB1) became effective January 01, 2014. This new law changed the way Second Injury Fund benefits are awarded. Now, the benefits depend upon the date of the most recent compensable injury. Missouri’s fund, like other states, compensates injured employees when a current work-related injury combines with a prior disability to create an increased combined disability. The injured employee must have a permanent, pre-existing disability to trigger the Second Injury Fund. The fund also pays medical bills, benefits for physical rehabilitation, second job wage loss benefits, and burial expenses and death benefits.
If you have questions regarding Second Injury Fund benefits, or any other Worker’s Compensation issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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