Missouri Court of Appeals issues important decision interpreting Missouri’s worker’s compensation statutes

StreetCleaning.jpgThe Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, handed down an opinion on Tuesday that could have a dramatic effect on Missouri’s worker’s compensation and personal injury systems. The case arose from a workplace accident involving a street-cleaner employed by the City of Kansas City. The Court held that, because the legislature enacted a statute in 2005 dictating that courts use strict construction when interpreting the worker’s compensation statutes, the definition of employer no longer extended to fellow co-workers such that co-workers were no longer immune from personal injury lawsuits as employers. This means that an employee injured on the job can now file a personal injury lawsuit against any co-workers that negligently caused his or her injury under a general negligence theory. Previously, an injured employee was required to meet a heightened “something more” standard when attempting to recover against a co-worker. The case is Robinson v. Hooker, WD71207.