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Can You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim if You Were Not Wearing Safety Gear?


Missouri uses a “no-fault” worker’s compensation system. This means your failure to wear personal protective equipment does not necessarily negate your right to pursue workers’ compensation.

Wearing personal protective gear while doing high-risk jobs saves lives and reduces the chances of getting injured. However, what happens if you sustained severe injuries at work but were not wearing personal protective equipment at the time of the accident? Are you still entitled to compensation? If it is possible to recover compensation, will your failure to wear safety equipment reduce the amount you can get from your employer’s workers’ comp insurance?

construction safety gear

Are You Still Eligible For Compensation?

The answer is, generally, yes. Missouri uses a “no-fault” worker’s compensation system. This means your failure to wear personal protective equipment does not necessarily negate your right to pursue fair compensation for the injuries and expenses incurred. The system is designed to protect the employer and the employee. However, there are some exceptions, as seen below.

The Exceptions

While you may receive compensation even if you are technically at fault, there are some exceptions for employees who get injured while engaging in acts of misconduct. This includes:

  • The injuries are self-inflicted
  • The employee was engaging in reckless behavior
  • There were cases of physical confrontation related to personal issues
  • The injuries are a result of illegal activities
  • The injuries occurred while commuting to or from work

You are also not eligible for workers’ compensation if your employee status falls under the exempt categories. Missouri Workers’ Compensation law does not cover certain employees, including domestic workers, independent contractors, qualified real estate agents, and agricultural workers.

Your Employer or the Insurer May Try to Use Your Negligence to Reduce Your Claim

If there’s evidence showing your injuries were caused by forgetfulness or general negligence, your employer may attempt to use your “fault” to reject your claim application. Their insurer may also use the evidence of your negligence to convince you to accept a lower amount of compensation than you actually deserve. Don’t fall for these tricks. Instead, speak with an experienced St. Louis workers’ comp attorney; they will help you present a strong case and identify tactics that the insurer or your employer may have up their sleeves.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Assist You

A worker’s compensation lawyer can help you navigate the nerve-wracking workers’ compensation system and processes. They will also help you negotiate with your employer and the insurance company; to get the full benefits you are entitled to. They can also work hard to get your case settled out of court so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time with no income. Finally, if such efforts don’t work, an attorney can help you file a lawsuit.

Speak With an Experienced Work Injury Lawyer 24/7

If you were injured at work, you might have a strong workers’ comp case. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of workers’ comp-related cases and have collected over $50 Million on behalf of injury victims in Missouri. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss the specifics surrounding your case and options.

Updated: May 16, 2024
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