Missouri and COVID-19 Update

March 30, 2020 

On behalf of our entire team, we hope that you are doing as well as possible during this complicated time. We have prepared the following update for your reference as it pertains to Missouri court operations, and potential claims related to COVID-19. 


  1. Are the Courts Open?  

 Yes. Judges may hold proceedings by telephone, videoconference, or other technology until April 17, 2020.

An ALJ in the Division of Workers’ Compensation may hold teleconferences to discuss claims. Routine matters and settlement can be handled by e-mail or teleconference. Urgent matters will be handled on a case-by-case basis.


  1. Have state or local authorities issued any executive Orders?

 The Governor has issued several proclamations related to: (1) allowing Directors of several state agencies, including Labor and Industrial Relations, to waive or suspend statutory requirements or administrative rules necessary to serve the public health and safety; (2) suspending regulations related to telemedicine and pharmacology for telemedicine; (3) relaxing regulations related to driver hours to allow for transportation of essential equipment and individuals; (4) relaxing teacher certification requirements; and (5) waiving prohibitions on the sale of unprepared foods by restaurants.


  1. What is the potential for workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19 exposure?

 COVID-19 exposure may be compensable as an occupational disease. Mo Rev. Stat. §287.067 defines “occupational disease” as an identifiable disease arising out of and in the course of employment with or without human fault.

An employee’s COVID-19 exposure will be compensable only if the employee can show that the disease had  an origin in a risk connected to employment, and flow from that source as a rational consequence. The occupational disease must also be a prevailing factor in the medical condition and disability. Most employees will not be able to meet this standard. Healthcare workers treating infected patients will likely be able to prove that their COVID-19 exposure had its origin in their employment as a healthcare worker, and occurred as a rational consequence of their employment. The distinction becomes more difficult for retail workers, warehouse employees, delivery drivers, and grocery store clerks. 


  1. What effect might employer lay-off’s have on current claims?

We believe employers who may be forced to lay-off employees that were being accommodated as a result of a compensable work injury will be responsible for TTD//TPD benefits. Similarly, delayed medical treatment should not result in reduced benefits, so long as the Claimant is making a good faith effort to obtain that treatment.

Our team is fully operational and we are here to provide you with any support, advice, and/or service that may be helpful during this complicated time. This situation is rapidly changing, so please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our team members if you have any questions, comments or concerns, and we will be sure to provide you with a prompt response. 

Please stay safe and healthy.