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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2010
Tort Victims Receive $2.4 million from Compensation Fund for Unpaid Claims
Jefferson City, Mo— The Missouri Labor Department’s Division of Workers’ Compensation issued over $2.45 million from the Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund to 32 Missourians who filed claims in 2009. The Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund was created by the General Assembly to help victims who win suits against those who are uninsured or do not have sufficient insurance to cover a claim.
“This is an important program that helps compensate those who are injured by the negligence of others and I am pleased we were able to help,” says Department Director Larry Rebman. “I hope the payment these folks receive eases their suffering and provides them with the money to be able to pay some of their medical bills and other expenses.”
The Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund is generated by a portion of monies paid as punitive damages in civil lawsuits in Missouri. While compensation from the fund does not cover the entire amount of a victim’s claim, the payouts made for 2009 claims provide 34.2 cents for each dollar awarded.
One recipient of assistance from the fund is a 49 year old mother of three from rural eastern Missouri who was injured in an automobile collision. She sustained spine and nerve damage, and has since suffered from limited mobility and seizures. Because she was no longer able to work, her family lost over 65% of its annual income and a substantial benefit package. The person who caused the accident had the minimum insurance coverage required by the state, which only covered the first month’s medical bills. The woman filed a claim against the Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund in 2009. She will receive $102K from the Fund through the recent payout.
“I will require lifelong medical care but am grateful our state has a fund such as this one to help people in situations similar to mine. If our local paper hadn’t run a story about the Tort Fund, I might have never known it existed,” says the woman.
“While the Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund cannot provide full compensation to the injured parties, it does provide a mechanism to replace a portion of their income,” says Rebman. “This should serve as a reminder to those driving without insurance or with inadequate insurance that people injured in these types of accidents will not only suffer physical disabilities, but they will be denied financial stability.”
Since it began paying claims in 2001, the Fund has paid 552 tort victims more than $11 million. The one-time payments this year’s claimants will receive from the Fund range from $17,929.40 - $102,829.59.
To file a against the Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund, call 573-751-4231 or visit http://labor.mo.gov/DWC/Tort_Victims/.
Thirty-six claims were filed during the 2009 Annual Claims Period. There were 32 successful claims. The value of individual successful claims ranged from $52,308.10 to $300,000.00, and the aggregated total was $7,147,747.84. On June 30, 2010, there was $2,450,000.00 available to pay claims. As the total amount awarded exceeded the amount available for payment, the law required that each claim be paid on a pro rata basis. Therefore, each claimant received 34.2 cents for each dollar awarded. All checks were mailed on June 30, 2010.
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