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Michigan insurer finally agrees to pay workers' comp claim

During the Joplin Tornado in May, one home health care worker put his own life on the line trying to save the residents he was paid to care for. During the tornado, Mark Lindquist tried to protect three adult men with Down 's syndrome by covering them with a mattress and then using his own body to hold the mattress in place. As a result of his efforts to protect these men, Lindquist suffered injuries that left him in a coma for almost two months, broke every rib in his body and knocked out nearly all of his teeth.

Lindquist's job at the group home only paid a bit more than minimum wage and he had not been able to afford health insurance. He submitted a claim to his employer's Michigan based workers' compensation provider, but they denied his claim. They said that he was at no greater risk than the general public when he was injured in the tornado. While the group home where Lindquist worked was destroyed, his own home was unharmed. But after the Associated Press ran a story about the claim denial, the insurance company decided it should pay the claim after all.

At the time the claim was originally denied, Lindquist's medical bills for his treatment had already surpassed $2 million. Before the insurer changed course and agreed to pay the claim, Lindquist had intended to sell his house in order to pay the doctors that had saved his life.

After the Tornado, Lindquist was honored as a hero by the state legislature and even his employer asked their insurance provider to reconsider their decision to deny his claim. But it seems that the insurance company did not decide to change their mind until the story if his denial started to make headlines.

Source: Claims Journal "Workers' Comp Insurer Agrees to Pay Joplin Injury Claim," Jim Salter, Oct. 26, 2011

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