CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Changes in a state fund will likely affect thousands of injured Missouri workers.
The Missouri Second Injury Fund has stopped accepting new claims from injured workers across the state.
Hundreds of already settled claims are also in question.
Three different types of people are affected by this.
The Second Injury Fund covers people injured at work, but who also had prior injuries before starting that job. Plus, it helps those working for an employer that's legally required to carry insurance, but doesn't. And then, it benefits those who are hurt on the job and as a result lose wages from a second job.
Now, there's apparently no new money coming in leaving many of those people wondering what they'll do now.
"I was working at American Railcar Industries in Jackson and volunteering for the Oran Fire Department," said Bobby Phillips of Oran.
In January, Bobby Phillips got a call to fight a brush fire. Something went wrong and he wrecked the tanker truck.
"That gave me injuries and put me off work", said Phillips. "After that was up I was made to resign at ARI."
He spent weeks in the hospital, even a nursing home...plus months of recovery at home.
"I broke my pelvic bone completely in half, had nine broken ribs, a concussion, and a collapsed lung. I went through the wringer."
He says the volunteer fire department is paying him $40 a week, and he's not able to collect unemployment from his other job.
So, as he waits to be released to work again Bobby says his only hope was the Second Injury Fund.
"For a little bit of relief to get us through", said Phillips.
He just found out that fund can no longer help him.
His attorney Daniel Rau just broke the news.
"I have a lot of clients who are in desperate situations," said Rau.
He says over the years his firm has handled hundreds if not thousands of second injury claims.
"The Attorney General has withdrawn all settlement offers and will not entertain any funds or any claims to the Second Injury Fund," said Rau.
To Rau's understanding, that money is already allocated for those people who've won previous cases.
"I had numerous mediations canceled that were scheduled on Thursday's docket at the Division of Workers Compensation. They were canceled because there was no point," said Rau.
Meanwhile, Bobby Phillips is back volunteering for the Oran Fire Department.
"I like helping people," said Phillips.
He just wishes he too could get some help.
"We just gotta keep trying I guess," said Phillips.
His attorney is already preparing Bobby's case and other cases for trial.
"Although the Attorney General has said we are not going to settle any new claims, no new money...that doesn't take away my clients legal right to pursue an award," said Rau.
It may now be up to the Missouri Legislature to decide what happens next.
Bobby Phillips and his wife are already working the phones trying to get local lawmakers to fix this problem.
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