After being thrown a city block by 200 mph winds, a Midwest social worker endured the "1-2 punch" of having his workers comp claim denied. Mark Lindquist nearly gave his life trying to save three developmentally disabled adults from the Joplin tornado. Both houses of the Missouri legislature honored Lindquist, with the state Senate resolution calling him “a true hero and inspiration to others,” the AP reported.
Furthermore, the tornado’s 200 mph winds broke every rib, obliterated Lindquist’s shoulder, knocked out most of his teeth and put him in a coma for about two months. We wrote about the fact that Lindquist has no medical insurance and assumed workers’ compensation insurance would cover his medical bills, but Accident Fund denied coverage. Michigan-based Accident Fund Insurance Company of America now says it will honor his workers’ compensation claim, according to the Insurance Journal.
The insurance company says its initial decision to deny Lindquist’s claim was based on Missouri workers’ compensation laws, which limit recovery for injuries received during a tornado to situations where the employee was subjected to a greater harm than that of the general public. Accident Fund initially found that Lindquist did not face a greater risk than the general public at the time of his involvement the Joplin tornado. The insurer says it has revisited the case and changed its determination. This was the right decision. The employer had trained Lindquist to perform Tornado safety and rescue activities and this social worker was responsible for the health and well-being of the handicapped residents of the group home. Furthermore, with no basement or other "safe haven," this rescuer had limited options in the face of a fast-approaching, lethal storm, and the slow moving people in his care. Had Lindquist abandoned these citizens, Accident Fund could have found itself being sued for failing to exercise care under the circumstances. Everyone at the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., hopes that Mr. Linquist continues to get better and that he receives all workers compensation benefits available under Missouri law.