Missouri State Representative Bruce DeGroot (Chesterfield) introduced a bill to the Missouri House of Representatives on January 3, 2018, which seeks to modify the state’s workers’ compensation law. If H.B. 1693 is passed, it would become effective in August of 2018. The bill includes numerous modifications to the Act.
The bill would require that in order for work-related stress to be compensable, the stress must be compared to the stress of employees working in the same position as the claimant. For example, it would require the stress of a first responder to be compared to the stress of first responders in general as opposed to being compared to a general worker.
It would further prohibit any injuries sustained while traveling from the claimant’s home to work from being found to be compensable.
The bill also would eliminate the reactivation provision which allow claims to be re-opened for several reasons related to prosthetics and life-threatening procedures.
When liability is disputed, the bill allows review of temporary or partial awards by the Appellate court.
The bill further requires that the prevailing factor on occupational causes be compared to all non-occupational factors combined rather than a single non-occupational factor
The bill also would repeal a provision which prohibits employers from subrogating the rights of an employee or their dependents in certain claims in which a third party is liable to the employee or dependents.
In addition, the bill would eliminate the requirement to find recreational activities compensable when the employee is paid wages or travel expenses.
Finally, the bill surprisingly includes opening a new city Division office in Chesterfield and the potential closing of the Division office in St. Louis.
As outlined above, if passed, the bill will have significant effects on employees and employers. While it has been read for the second time, it is not currently on the house calendar. We will continue to follow the progress, if any, of this bill.
This Missouri legislative update was brought to you by Partner Jill Baker. Jill works out of the Chicago and St. Louis offices of Inman and Fitzgibbons and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free contact Jill with any Missouri workers’ compensation questions.