As workers' compensation lawyers, we frequently encounter similar questions about Missouri workers' compensation law from the Kansas City area and across Missouri. In order to answer some of the frequently asked questions, we will cover some common questions and answers in a series of articles on this blog.
Let's start with the basics:
What is Workers' Compensation?
The Missouri Workers' Compensation Law (Chapter 287 of the Missouri Revised Statutes) governs the rights and obligations of both employers and employees when an employee suffers an on-the-job injury. Workers' compensation covers both injuries by accident (such as a fracture from a slip and fall) and injuries due to occupational disease (such as carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive occupational exposure).
Who is Covered Under Missouri's Workers' Compensation Law?
All Missouri employers with five or more employees are legally required to carry workers' compensation insurance. All employers in the construction industry, even if they have only one employee, are also required to carry this coverage.
Does Missouri's Workers' Compensation System Benefit the Employer, or the Employee?
The workers' compensation system was initially designed to be a win-win for both employer and employee, with the employer having limited liability and the employee no longer having to prove negligence to receive compensation for a workplace injury. The system has grown more complicated over time, and recent legislative changes pursued by employers have sought to limit compensation available for employees. Recent appellate decisions, on the other hand, have been pushing back in favor of employees. Overall, there are benefits and downfalls for both sides, with the balance constantly pushing one way or the other with the ebb and flow of the changes to the statutes and the development of case law. Who the system benefits more is a matter of opinion and constantly changing.