In 2005, an overhaul of the workers compensation law occurred. One of the biggest changes was the manner in which the law is to be interpreted. The law now is to be strictly construed. In other words, it is to be enforced exactly as written. Since the change in the law, The Fund has been arguing that the Fund's liabilty is not triggered when the underlying work injury is due to an occupational disease. They have been making this argument in occupational disease cases because, they say, the statute that sets forth the liability of the Second Injury Fund says that a "compensable injury" triggers Second Injury Fund liability, and because another statute, 287.020 RSMo., excludes "occupational diseases" from the definition of "injury," then there is no Fund liabilty when the work injury was due to occupational disease.
Two Appellate courts have recently rejected this argument, stating that the part of the statue that applies to occupational diseases, Section 287.067 RSMo., states that "an injury by occupational disease is compensable." The courts, therefore, have rejected the Fund's argument. Hopefully, the fact that two appellate courts now have told The Second injury Fund that they are wrong will prevent them from filing needless appeals in the future and will allow employees some finality when they win their workers' compensation hearing against the Fund.