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Can You Sue A Co-Worker For An Injury Even After Receiving Workers’ Compensation?

Recently, a Missouri worker won a personal injury claim against a co-worker for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other damages – all after he received workers’ compensation from his employer for the same injury. Now, Missouri business owners are attempting to clarify MO workers’ compensation laws so that co-workers, managers, and bosses can’t be sued in the future in cases where the injured worker already received workers’ comp benefits.

The argument about whether or not injured workers could file injury lawsuits against colleagues or managers began with a 2007 workers’ comp and personal injury case that took place in Kansas City. Richard Robinson and Cheryl Hooker, two employees of Kansas City, were cleaning city streets with power washers when Hooker lost control of her hose, which struck Robinson in the eye. He was permanently blinded in the accident. But while he received compensation for his medical bills and physical injuries through the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Commission, he also sued his co-worker for negligence.

The Western District Court of Appeal decided that while employers are protected from lawsuits when workers’ compensation benefits are involved, co-workers are not protected. A Missouri business coalition is now specifically asking the legislature to add a workers’ comp law that prevents injured workers from suing co-workers for negligence if they receive workers’ comp.

Missouri business owners are now afraid that this case will set a precedent in which injured workers can sue company employees in addition to receiving workers’ comp, something that they believe will cost Missouri businesses more money – and also something they say is simply not fair.

If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident in Missouri – and if you are wondering if you can file a personal injury lawsuit against a co-worker, talk to a St. Louis workers’ comp attorney today.

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