A survivor of the Joplin, Mo., tornado whose story of heroism made national news, learned an insurance company will pay his medical bills after all.
Mark Lindquist, a 51-year-old employee of a group home in Joplin, was severely injured when he tried to protect residents. News reports said Lindquist and a co-worker held mattresses on top of three developmentally disabled men to shelter them from flying debris. The men they tried to save died, and Lindquist suffered extensive injuries.
Lindquist, who has no health insurance, reportedly faced more than $2.5 million in medical bills. He tried to get coverage through his employer's workers compensation plan, which pays for treatment of injuries suffered on the job, but the workers compensation insurer, Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America, denied the claim. In a prepared statement released, Mike Britt, company president, said the initial decision was based on Missouri workers compensation laws, which limit coverage for injuries in a tornado to situations where an employee is subjected to more harm than the general public.
Lindquist's plight made national news. Accident Fund announced Oct. 24 a reversal of its earlier 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," Britt said in the prepared statement. "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."