Accidents in the workplace that result in injury occur all of the time.
Workman’s compensation is in place to assist an injured employee in their treatment of injuries incurred as well as for any lost wages. If an employee is injured on the job they are entitled to this compensation. Unfortunately employers are oftentimes reluctant to pay, so the expertise of a seasoned Missouri workman’s compensation attorney can help ensure that the injured party is able to collect all of the benefits that they are entitled to.
Equal exposure is a defense that is commonly used by employers when fighting these claims. It refers to the notion that the type of accident the employee had could just as easily occurred outside of the workplace.
For example, consider one Missouri case where a woman fell and injured her ankle while making coffee in an employee break room. Since there was no fault found in the floor of the room a jury ruled against the plaintiff and decided that the claim was not in line with workman’s compensation guidelines since it was an accident that could have just as easily occurred in her own kitchen.
However, in another case in late 2012 the Missouri court of appeals turned over a ruling that had originally favored the employers’ claim of equal exposure and determined that a worker who had slipped on a small staircase at work was indeed entitled to compensation for his fractured ankle. Most employers will argue that this kind of fall could have happened anywhere and therefore is not their responsibility. However, this line of defense is usually without merit. If Missouri law were to follow the employers logic, it could likely be determined that almost any work related accident could occur outside of their work environment. If an electrician falls off of his ladder while fixing electric lines should he be denied compensation for his injuries because he could have just as easily fallen off of a ladder at home while installing Christmas lights? Not being well educated on how to fight an employers’ defense of equal exposure can cost Missouri workers hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits if they do not find a qualified Missouri workman’s compensation lawyer to represent them.
There are also conflicting cases in Missouri when it comes to burden of proof. In the instance of the woman brewing a pot of coffee the court felt that her attorney did not prove that this was something that could not have happened to her at home, while in the case of the man slipping on the stairs the court expected the defense to show how this was an accident that he could have happened anywhere outside of the job. Missouri court of appeals decided that they did not show sufficient evidence proving that the plaintiff often found himself walking down narrow steps of stairs carrying a motorcycle helmet in his everyday life.
St. Louis Workman’s Compensation Lawyer
The laws surrounding worker’s comp are complicated and constantly being challenged in Missouri courts. If you are unjustly denied benefits a St. Louis workman’s compensation attorney who is accomplished in the field and has a knowledge of all the recent decisions will know what course of action to take to ensure that you are compensated fairly.
photo credit: bloomsberries