In a recent case, the Missouri Supreme Court held that a workers compensation award did not bar a plaintiff’s wrongful death suit. The plaintiff’s husband was killed in a tractor-trailer accident. At the time, the truck’s owner was operating under a contract to haul goods for a transportation company. The transportation company had workers compensation coverage, but the truck owner did not.
The plaintiff filed a claim for workers compensation death benefits against the transportation company. The Workers Compensation Commission determined that the transportation company was the husband’s statutory employer and ordered it to pay death benefits. Following the success of her workers compensation claim, the plaintiff opted to pursue a wrongful death action against the truck owner. In opposition, the truck owner argued that the suit was barred because the plaintiff made an election of remedies when she received a workers compensation award against the transportation company. Therefore, according to the truck owner, the plaintiff was not entitled to “double recovery”.
The Supreme Court did not agree. Relying on state law, the Court concluded that the plaintiff’s lawsuit could proceed because state law allows employees and their dependents to file a civil lawsuit against an uninsured employer such as the truck owner. In addition, the court determined that there was no issue of an impermissible double recovery because any recovery by the plaintiff in the wrongful death action would be subject to the transportation company’s subrogation rights.
Contact an Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyer
The St. Louis Workers Compensation Lawyers at Roskin & Hoffmann, LLC have nearly 50 years of combined Work Comp experience and we have handled some of the most complex Workers Comp cases throughout Missouri. If you have been injured at work, call our knowledgeable attorneys at (314) 821-9013 or send us a Workers Comp question. We look forward to helping you. All communications are returned promptly.
Workers Compensation Lawyers at Roskin & Hoffmann, LLC based in St. Louis, Missouri have nearly 50 combined years of work comp experience. Call our attorneys today.