JOPLIN, Mo. —
Efforts for Mark Lindquist and his family paid off on Monday.
After months of battling for her brother, Linda Lindquist Baldwin got the telephone call for which they had been hoping.
“It was the same insurance adjuster who had called me and told me that they had denied Mark’s claim for workers’ compensation,’’ said Baldwin. “She said her manager had called her and told her to open the case back up and pay it.
“I asked her why they decided to change their mind. She told me: ‘I don’t know why they changed their mind. My manager said it was a top priority and to pay it.’ She said they would pay it and they were anxious to do so.
“We are thrilled. Our prayers have been answered.’’
When the May 22 tornado struck, Lindquist was working at a group home at 2302 Iowa Ave. in Joplin. He and a co-worker tried to save three residents of the home by throwing mattresses on top of them and then climbing on top of the mattresses to hold them down. The three residents, who had Down syndrome, died.
Lindquist, who had no medical insurance, was in a coma for nearly two months after the tornado. All of his ribs were broken. He lost the bone structure in his right shoulder. He also fell ill to a fungal infection that killed five tornado victims.
Lindquist, who was released earlier this month from the Missouri Rehabilitation Center at Mount Vernon, racked up more than $2.5 million in medical bills after months of treatment. Those bills are still mounting.
Lindquist, 51, was employed by Community Support Services, of Joplin, which has workers’ compensation coverage with the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, of Lansing, Mich. Community Support Services sought workers’ compensation for Lindquist, noting he was injured on the job.
The insurance company denied the initial claim in June “based on the fact that there was no greater risk than the general public at the time you were involved in the Joplin tornado.”
Upon hearing the news on Monday that Lindquist’s medical bills would be paid, Jhan Hurn, director of Community Support Services, said, “Fantastic! That is great news. We made it very clear to our insurance company that he was on the job, that he was following the employee directives during an emergency procedure, and that he was putting the safety of these individuals first.’’
Hurn said his office had received calls from people who misunderstood what had happened. The callers, he said, thought that Community Support Services was fighting Lindquist’s claim.
“It was a justified claim — no two ways about it,” Hurn said. “We wanted him to have it. This is what it is for.’’
Mike Britt, president of the insurance company, in a statement released Monday, said, “Accident Fund Insurance Company of America is governed by state law and our initial decision in the Mark Lindquist case was based upon the laws in Missouri. Mr. Lindquist was injured during the tornado that happened this past summer in Joplin, Missouri.
“Missouri’s workers’ compensation laws limit recovery for injuries received during a tornado to situations where the employee was not subjected to a greater harm than that of the general public.
“Upon further review of the case, and receiving additional information on the facts involved in this situation, Accident Fund believes the appropriate decision is to honor Mr. Mark Lindquist’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits. We are committed to working with Mr. Lindquist to ensure he receives all the benefits to which he is entitled and helping him to recover from his injuries.”
‘REALLY, REALLY HAPPY’
Baldwin said she called her brother, who is recovering at the home of a brother in McDonald County, to give him the news.
“He said he was really, really happy — not just for himself but for the doctors who saved him,” she said. “He is very grateful. We are happy we have avoided a legal battle. None of us wanted to do that.”
Still, the family plans to meet with an attorney to make sure Lindquist gets everything to which he is entitled, she said. The Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys has offered free legal advice to the family.
“Mark’s younger than I am and probably will outlive me,” Baldwin said. “When I am not here to fight for him, I want provisions for him to make sure he is cared for his entire life.”
Baldwin said well-wishers across the country have offered donations and prayers.
“We can’t thank them enough,’’ she said.
In addition to his stay at the Missouri Rehabilitation Center at Mount Vernon, Mark Lindquist was treated at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin and at the University of Missouri Medical Center in Columbia.
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Efforts for Mark Lindquist and his family paid off on Monday.
- Local News
PSU, city praised for partnership during kick-off to annual community campaign
Rich Luker, perhaps best known for his creation of the ESPN Sports Poll in 1994 and a nationally known expert on the idea of “community,” praised Pittsburg State University today as a national model for its partnership with the city of Pittsburg.
FEMA projects, bond issue, school officer discussed by Neosho School Board
Information about Federal Emergency Management Agency construction projects, the April bond issue election and plans to return a police officer to schools all were discussed Wednesday night during an informal session of the Neosho Board of Education.
Video of proposal at Webb City High lands couple in ‘Today Show’ contest
Stephany Pace said her boyfriend has always been the type to come up with thoughtful surprises. But as he got on one knee during an assembly at Webb City High School, Pace was at a loss for words. A teacher at the school, Pace has always been involved in school assemblies, whether it be leading class cheers or doing goofy dances. On Feb. 13, though, the assembly was far from routine — and the moment was captured on video.
Mike Pound: Monocle becomes the latest spectacle
No matter how hard I try, there are just some days when I feel like a tired, grumpy old guy. Sometimes — as happened Thursday — my feelings of tiredness, grumpiness and oldness are brought on by losing a battle with technology. Early Thursday afternoon, I ran across something on the Internet I thought was interesting so I tried to print the item. I hit the print symbol on the Internet page and then hit print on my computer and … nothing happened.
Kansas high court: School funding unconstitutional
In a highly anticipated ruling Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court said the state’s current public school funding levels are unconstitutional and sent the case back to lower court for more review. In the 110-page decision, the court said Kansas’ poor school districts were harmed when the state made the decision to cut certain payments when tax revenues declined during the Great Recession.
Pitt State to kick off Community Campaign
Pittsburg State University is gearing up to launch its annual Community Campaign today at the Wilkinson Alumni Center. Shane Kannarr, campaign co-chairman, said he hopes the community will become involved because of the university’s role as a “huge economic driver” in Pittsburg and Southeast Kansas. He also said Pitt State turns out graduates who settle in the area and become the region’s newest entrepreneurs and innovators.
MSSU student to attend posthumous awarding of honor for grandfather
As Missouri Southern State University student Savannah Schwab, unable to sleep, gazed out the window at a moonlit night from her bedroom in Fort Scott, Kan., her thoughts turned to her late grandfather. She had listened to an hour or so of the World War II veteran’s audio recordings that recounted his experiences as a member of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, 15th Infantry Regiment.
Last defendant sentenced in Pittsburg slaying
Nathan Whitney expressed remorse Thursday when he became the last of four young Joplin men assessed prison terms for the murder of Ryan Bailey two years ago in Pittsburg. The 29-year-old defendant listened to Bailey’s wife and adoptive mother render emotional victim-impact statements at his sentencing hearing in Crawford County District Court before standing up and responding to their loss.
Missouri House advances 72-hour waiting period on abortions in state
The Missouri House on Wednesday moved forward with a bill that requires a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can get an abortion in the state. Similar legislation was held up in the Senate that night. On Thursday, Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said the near certainty of a continued Democratic filibuster on the issue could prompt him to turn to a rarely used procedural maneuver that would cut off debate and allow Republicans to force a vote on the bill.
St. Mary’s students get taste of opera from Tulsa troupe
With its comedy, coyotes-vs.-rabbits storyline and brightly colored costuming, an operatic performance didn’t seem like opera at all to 11-year-old Jack Goodrich.
Instead, it actually reminded him of the antics of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, or of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. “I thought it was cool and interesting,” said Jack, a fifth-grader at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Joplin. “It had kind of a Looney Tunes feel to it.”
- More Local News Headlines
- PSU, city praised for partnership during kick-off to annual community campaign