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Phil Tatlow has brought a number of lawsuits against Anheuser Busch in Circuit Court for injuries to beer bottlers, beer brewers and warehouse workers due to repetitive injuries to their shoulders, arms, necks and backs. Traditionally, workers were limited to bringing such cases in worker’s compensation and their rights were limited to what the statutes said they could recover. This typically included an amount of money under a predetermined schedule of benefits for permanent partial disability set by statute. The schedule of benefits has a number of weeks as to the body part that is injured, and the worker receives a percentage of the disability he has to that body part determined by medical experts. S/He may receive, any approved medical expenses and possible a portion of temporary disability if they took off due to the injuries. In Circuit Court, the workers are entitled to have a jury decide what their injuries are worth, without any limitation by the statutes in worker’s compensation. This can include compensation for pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses and what the jury believes is fair and reasonable for the permanency that the workers suffered due to the injuries. In these cases, because the Missouri legislature attempted in 2005 to eliminate occupational disease cases such as carpal tunnel syndrome from the definition of accident, the courts in Missouri and in the City of St Louis have ruled that if the workers can prove that their employer was negligent in training, or designing the job and that this negligence caused the worker injuries, than the workers can proceed to trial in Circuit Court on their cases. These matters are ongoing and still being litigated. (Note:  the workers’ compensation law was amended in 2014 to put occupational disease cases back into the workers’ compensation statute, so cases such as this may no longer be prosecuted in the courts and must be brought once again in the workers’ compensation tribunal.  Check with an attorney to see if your occupational disease case falls within the time frame during which occupational disease cases could have been brought in civil court).

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