Hero Social Worker Barely Survives Tornado, But Workers' Comp Gets Denied

Social worker Mark Lindquist almost gave his life to try to save the three developmentally disabled adults in his care when the big tornado hit Joplin, Missouri in May. But despite being impaled by metal in the course of his work and suffering other near-fatal injuries, his insurance company has denied his worker’s comp claims.

The AP reports the tornado started coming towards town as Mark was driving to work. When he got there, he and his partner, as per their training, placed mattresses over the developmentally disabled adults they took care of at the group home they worked at. There wasn’t enough time to get them down to the basement. He and his partner then got on the mattresses for extra weight.

Mark was later found in a pile of rubble, impaled by a piece of metal. His teeth were nearly all smashed out and his right shoulder was destroyed. He was in a coma for two months.

When he woke, he was hit by another disaster: $2.5 million in medical expenses and 11 daily prescriptions. He thought insurance would pay for it because it happened on the job.

The letter from the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America said his claim was denied “based on the fact that there was no greater risk than the general public at the time you were involved in the Joplin tornado.”

The insurance company would not comment on an individual case to the AP. Several state legislators have petitioned the company to reconsider their decision.

Of the 132 other workers comp claims filed after the Joplin tornado, only seven others were denied.

‘Miracle’ tornado survivor denied workers’ comp [AP] (Thanks to Joe!)