Third Party Claims – Missouri Workers Compensation Lawyer
If you are injured on the job, you have an absolute right to workers compensation benefits. Workers comp will not compensate you fully for your losses.
If you are injured on the job, you have an absolute right to workers compensation benefits. Workers comp will not compensate you fully for your losses. However, you may also be able to get full compensation by pursuing a third party claim – a personal injury claim against someone other than your employer.
What will a third party claim cover?
Unlike workers compensation a personal injury or auto insurance claim entitles you to full wage reimbursement, treatment by your own physician, and possibly compensation for pain and suffering. In some cases our attorneys can demonstrate that our client lost the potential for an even greater future income, and in other cases victims of negligence are entitled to punitive damages.
Missouri Case Law regarding Workers Compensation co-employer liability
Under the Worker’s Compensation Act, an employer is protected from common law liability for breach of their duty to provide a reasonably safe workplace, but this protection from suit extends to employees of the exempt employer in a more limited fashion. Burns v. Smith, 214 S.W.3d 335, 337-338 (Mo. Banc 2007). Missouri courts have held that an injured employee may sue a co-employee where the co-employee performed an affirmative negligent act that constitutes something “extra” outside the employer’s duty to maintain a safe working environment. State ex rel. Badami v. Gaertner, 630 S.W.2d 175, 177 (Mo.App.1982) (en banc).
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The “something more” test considers whether the co-employee’s affirmative act created an “additional danger beyond that normally faced in the job-specific work environment.” Burns, 214 S.W.3d at 338. Defendants are no longer immune from civil action and courts have proper subject matter jurisdiction where the elements of the “something more” test have been met. Id. In the most recent Supreme Court Case, Burns v. Smith, an employee was seriously injured after a water pressure tank on his concrete delivery truck had exploded. Id. at 336. His supervisor instructed him to “run till it blows” and had negligently applied an insufficient weld to a corroded water pressure tank. Id. The court held the supervisor’s actions constituted an affirmative negligent act outside the supervisor’s duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work. Id. at 337. Where the “something more” test has been met, workers’ compensation is not the employee’s exclusive remedy for the injuries sustained and courts have proper subject matter jurisdiction to hear the matter. Id. at 338.
The court noted that the most compelling evidence that establishes the “something more” element is that the defendant instructed the defendant to “run it till it blows.” Id. at 340. The defendant intentionally directed the plaintiff to undertake an activity that defendant could reasonably foresee resulting in a particularly dangerous event. Id. Free Workers Compensation Consultations for your Third Party Claim.
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Our attorney 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. You can also complete our Online Case Evaluation Form.
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