Missouri Workers Compensation Changes
Missouri Workers Compensation – Amendments to this Act in 2005 significantly altered the ability of an injured employee to seek compensation for certain types of injuries. These amendments also alter some of the language of the original Act, forcing further burden of proof on an injured employee before they can receive any compensation.
For eighty years working employees in Missouri were guaranteed compensation for work-related injuries under the Missouri Workers Compensation Act. This Act protected workers and their families from unsafe working conditions and a lack of compensation by guaranteeing repayment without a strict burden of proof on the part of the employee. The employer was also protected by the Act by preventing compensated workers from pursuing larger cash settlements in common law court.
However, amendments to this Act in 2005 significantly altered the ability of an injured employee to seek compensation for certain types of injuries. These amendments also alter some of the language of the original Act (particularly the definition of the word “accident”), forcing further burden of proof on an injured employee before they can receive any compensation.
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These changes in the original Act caused several labor organizations to file suit against the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR). The labor organizations argued that the amendments barred some employees from pursuing due compensation. Meanwhile, the DOLIR argued that it had the power to alter the Act at will.
The case went to the Missouri Supreme Court. The judges presiding over the case decided that the amendments did indeed exclude certain injured employees from due compensation. In their ruling, they decided that the previous protection for employers to prevent common law compensation should not apply to these employees. This means that injured employees can now pursue other legal avenues to receive compensation.
Ultimately, the 2005 amendments destabilize a compensation system that had remained in perfect balance for eighty years. The previous agreement between employers and their employees (employers will compensate employees fairly as long as employees agree to not sue in common law court) has been somewhat undone by the 2005 amendments and the subsequent ruling. Time will tell if these subtle changes bring about larger, nastier, and more troubling compensation cases in the future.
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Our legal team has a strong history of helping injured workers get the medical attention and financial compensation that they need. Contact our St. Louis, Missouri workers compensation law firm to ensure that your rights are protected. Please call (314) 361-4300 or toll free at (888) 872-6795.
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