In August of 2005 new legislation took effect which impacted the area of Missouri’s workers compensation laws. The new law contained drafting errors which called into question whether or not injured workers would be covered by workers compensation insurance.
Liberty Mutual (a workers compensation insurer) filed a declaratory judgment action seeking an order from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri declaring that the new legislation’s drafting error did not invalidate the law. The lawsuit also wanted the Court to find that the subseqently amended legislation which was entered for the purpose of correcting the prior clerical mistake also covered those injured workers between August 28, 2005 and December 14, 2005. On January 6, 2006 the judge granted the insurer’s request, and found that the workers’ compensation law was effective August 28 through December 14, 2005 and applied to all cases (except those exclusively covered by federal law).
The effect of this ruling means that the exclusive remedy for injured workers seeking compensation against their employer for a work related accident will be via the workers’ compensation laws. Had this ruling not been entered then the injured employee might have had a common law claim against their employer for your more traditional tort theories, such as negligence, premises liability, etc.