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If My Work Injury Happened While Away – Which State Has Jurisdiction?


Workers compensation laws are managed by the state, not by a federal set of laws, so the rules may be different depending on where you were injured while working.

Workers in Missouri may not always be located in Missouri. There are cases where the worker is located in a city along the border or they are required to travel out of state as part of their job. In many cases, it’s possible for the worker to spend a good portion of their work activity outside Missouri. And, as a result, it’s also possible to get injured while outside the state.

In these cases, which state has jurisdiction over your worker’s comp claim?

What Does the Law Say?

Worker’s compensation laws are managed by the state. Because it is not a federal set of laws, it means the rules can be different from state to state. Some may award more compensation, while others can flat out exclude certain types of injuries, such as mental health issues.

Jurisdiction issues may arise when the worker is injured out of state or they are injured in Missouri, but their employment was not finalized in Missouri (meaning they were contracted in another state but worked in Missouri).

There are three main instances where you are eligible to file a compensation claim in Missouri:

  1. If the Injury Took Place in Missouri – In this case, you can file the claim directly in the state where you got hurt or contracted work-related diseases. This is also the most common scenario for workers comp claims, especially if you are employed in Missouri. If you are not, however, some jurisdiction disputes could arise, especially if the state where you were contracted has stricter laws. However, a St. Louis work injury lawyer may bring your case to Missouri.
  2. If Your Contract Was Formed in Missouri – If you are employed in Missouri, but have to carry any part of your work activity outside the state, your case can still be filed in Missouri, even if the injury took place somewhere else. However, you should note that some employment contracts specifically mention that in case of an injury, you have to file the claim in the state where it took place.
  3. If You Were Located in Missouri for More Than 13 Weeks – If you have to relocate for your job, even if temporarily, you may be able to still file a compensation claim in Missouri if you can prove the state was your primary employment location for at least 13 weeks.

Another Thing to Consider

Worker’s compensation cases can be rather complex and may require your physical presence for certain meetings and discussions. As a result, it’s always best to file a claim in the state where you also live to avoid additional travel costs.

However, you also have the option of working with a lawyer, in which case they can represent you even if you’re not in the state. Please contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann for a FREE online consultation. Call us 24/7 at (314) 361-4300.

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