Widow’s Right to Workers’ Comp Benefits Affirmed, Without Direct Proof of Harm

St. Peters, MO, (Law Firm Newswire) February 20, 2015 – A Missouri Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision of a lower court to award workers’ compensation benefits to Dorothy Smith, a widow who lost her husband to hepatitis C.

Smith’s husband, Stephen Smith, worked in a medical laboratory for more than 30 years, beginning in 1969. There, he could have been exposed to the disease before protective equipment and procedures became common in the 1990s.

“In this case, the employer tried to argue that Ms. Smith should not get benefits because she could not definitively prove that the workplace was the source of her husband’s infection,” remarked Charlie James, a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney not involved with the case. “But the court ruled that Ms. Smith did not have to provide absolute proof. Ms. Smith only needed to show that it was probable that her husband’s workplace was the source of the infection.”


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