Nature of interstate living can present workers’ comp challenges

The Mighty Mississippi separates Illinois and Missouri. The waterway doesn’t stand as a barrier to travel between the two states most of the year; spring flooding time being the exception to the rule, perhaps. Generally, those who live on one side of the river and work on the other think little about making the daily commute.

However, if you take into account that each state has its own workers’ compensation laws, it might be important for individuals to be aware of the possible implications of this reality. If you are hurt on the job and go into the claims process unaware of the law, you could be frustrated by unmet expectations. Unless you fully understand your options, you may shortchange yourself at a time when you need confidence of getting optimal benefits.

Dealing with the mishmash

The concept of reciprocity is one that many readers might believe is logical to apply in this type of situation. In some jurisdictions the statutes do call for just such an approach. But it is not a certainty.

Illinois and Missouri both have recognized that conditions of work, life and interstate commerce can create situations where extraterritorial jurisdiction can come into play, reciprocal application of the law is not a feature. There can be limits as to when coverage applies depending on the specifics of your case.

For example, Illinois’s relevant statute makes clear that any person who suffers injury while working in Illinois, whether they were hired by a company in Illinois or some other state, is entitled to pursue workers’ compensation benefits under the state’s law. Reciprocity is not included as a provision.

Reciprocity is also not a feature under Missouri law, though there is a provision in the relevant law that makes it possible for an employer, by contract, to allow another state’s benefits to cover a worker.

What you can see from this brief entry is that individual states take their own approaches to the issue of workers’ compensation. To be sure you obtain all you need and are due when interstate conditions are a factor, work with an attorney with demonstrated experience in this area.