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Missouri Law Changes; Co-Employees No Longer Subject to Being Sued for Negligence

Posted on Aug 25, 2012

The Missouri legislature passed a law that will take effect on August 28, 2012.  Under the new law, injured workers may no longer sue their fellow co-employees for their negligence in causing a co-worker's injuries. Prior to 2005, co-employees were immune from being sued and an injured worker had to bring his or her claim for injuries solely through the workers' compensation system. In 2005, the legislature overhauled the workers compensation law, requiring that the law be strictly construed at all times.  Because the workers compensation law only stated that an employee's exclusive remedy against an employer was in the workers' compensation system, the Missouri Court of Appeals held that, under a strict construction of the law, only employers were immune from suit--not co-employees.  And so, many employees across the state had lawsuits filed against them when they were in any way responsible for their co-worker's injury.   The Missouri legislature, in 2012, passed a law restoring immunity to co-employees from suit.   As of August 28, 2012, injured employees in Missouri will no longer have a right to sue their co-employees for their negligence that causes or contributes to their injuries. The law did not, however, take away an employee's right to bring suit against a co-employee who "purposefully and dangerously caused or increased the risk of injury."

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