537.684. 1. A claim for compensation may be filed by a person eligible for compensation or, if the person is an incapacitated or disabled person, or a minor, by the person's spouse, parent, conservator or guardian.
2. A claim shall be filed not later than two years after the judgment upon which it is based becomes final and all appeals are final. If there is no judgment, claims must be filed within time limits prescribed pursuant to section 516.120, except for cases resulting in death, in which case claims must be filed within time limits prescribed pursuant to section 537.100.
3. Each claim shall be filed in person or by mail. The division shall investigate such claim prior to the opening of formal proceedings. The director of the division shall assign an administrative law judge, associate administrative law judge or legal advisor within the division to hear any claim for compensation filed. The claimant shall be notified of the date and time of any hearing on the claim. In determining the amount of compensation for which a claimant is eligible, the division shall:
(1) Consider the facts stated on the application filed pursuant to section 537.678;
(2) Obtain a copy of the final judgment, if any, from the appropriate court;
(3) Determine the amount of the loss to the claimant, or the victim's survivors or dependents; and
(4) If there is no final judgment, determine the degree or extent to which the victim's acts or conduct provoked, incited or contributed to the injuries or death of the victim.
4. The claimant may present evidence and testimony on his or her own behalf or may retain counsel.
5. Prior to any hearing, the person filing a claim shall submit reports, if available, from all hospitals, physicians or surgeons who treated or examined the victim for the injury for which compensation is sought. If, in the opinion of the division, an examination of the injured victim or a report on the cause of death of the victim would be of material aid, the division may appoint a duly qualified, impartial physician to make an examination and report. A finding of the judge or jury in the underlying case shall be considered as evidence.
6. Each and every payment shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment or any other remedy available to creditors for the collection of a debt, provided however, this section shall not in any way affect the right of any attorney who represents or represented any claimant to collect any fee or expenses to which he or she is entitled.
7. Payments of compensation shall not be made directly to any person legally incompetent to receive them but shall be made to the parent, guardian or conservator for the benefit of such minor, disabled or incapacitated person.
8. For payment of all claims from the fund, the division shall determine the aggregate amount of all awards made on those claims filed during an annual claims period. Such determination shall be made on or before the thirtieth day of June in the next succeeding year. If the aggregate value of the awards does not exceed the total amount of money in the fund, then the awards shall be paid in full on or before the thirtieth day of September in the next succeeding year. If the aggregate value of the awards does exceed the total amount of money in the fund, then the awards shall be paid on a pro rata basis on or before the thirtieth day of September in the next succeeding year.
9. If there are no funds available, then no claim shall be paid until funds have accumulated in the tort victims' compensation fund and have been appropriated to the division for payment to uncompensated tort victims. When sufficient funds become available for payment of claims of uncompensated tort victims, awards that have been determined but have not been paid shall be paid in chronological order with the oldest paid first, based upon the date on which the application was filed with the division. Any award pursuant to this subsection that cannot be paid due to a lack of funds appropriated for payment of claims of uncompensated tort victims shall not constitute a claim against the state.
10. In the event there are no funds available for payment of claims, then the division may suspend all action related to valuing claims and granting awards until such time as funds in excess of one hundred thousand dollars have accumulated in the tort victims' compensation fund, at which time the division shall resume its claim processing duties.
(L. 2001 H.B. 107, A.L. 2010 H.B. 1965)
Missouri General Assembly