I don’t get it. Why deny him? I’m speechless. I don’t understand the denial. Those are some of the comments readers left on a story we ran in October about a Joplin, MO, tornado hero who was denied workers’ comp benefits. Now the insurance company has had a change of heart.
On May 22, 2011, social services worker Mark Lindquist knew the tornado was approaching and acted to protect three developmentally disabled adults in a group home.
Lindquist and his co-worker, Ryan Tackett, followed training they had just received. They placed mattresses over the men and climbed atop the bedding. Tackett survived, the three men did not.
Rescuers found Lindquist nearly a half block away suffering from so many injuries that they first thought he was dead. His whole body was swollen. His family wasn’t able to identify him until three days later.
He applied for workers’ comp coverage for $2.5 million in medical bills. His employer, Community Support Services, supported his claim. However, Accident Fund Insurance denied coverage “based on the fact that there was no greater risk than the general public at the time [he was] involved in the Joplin tornado.”
Wire services picked up his story, and it gained national attention. Soon after that, Accident Fund announced it had reversed its original decision:
“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 worker’s compensation benefits.”
The statement from the insurance company doesn’t specify what facts made it reconsider its decision.