In 2005 the Missouri Workers Compensation law was drastically changed to favor the employer. One such attempt of the bill was to exclude occupational diseases and illnesses from the Workers Compensation system. The idea was to make it so injured workers would not be able to recover for these types of injuries. However, the trial lawyers of Missouri knew better than to think that this cause of action would be unrecoverable and thus proceeded to the civil court system to state their case. Since that time, many cases that have been denied by workers compensation defenders have proceeded to civil court where attorneys throughout Missouri have been winning cases for their clients.
Due to the creativity of the trial lawyers, the legislatures are now trying to put those types of injuries back into the workers compensation system so as to remove the threat of a trial by jury and thus limit the amount they may owe on a particular case. Now that big business realizes that they cannot just tell injured workers their claims are no good, they want to limit any type of compensation they can get. This is best done in the workers compensation system.
In summary, in 2005 big business said they wanted these types of injuries out of the work comp system. Now that that has backfired, and injured workers are still winning their cases, big business is changing their tune. Now they want the cases to go back to the workers compensation courts so as to limit what they might owe. This bill has passed both the House and the Senate and now proceeds to Governor Nixon for his signature if he so desires. Governor Nixon has expressed concern over the bill and the way it limits what can be done when someone is injured on the job. For those of us also aware of the insolvency of the Second Injury Fund, this bill does nothing to solve that problem.