☰ Revisor of Missouri


Chapter 287

< > Effective - 01 Jan 2014, 3 histories, see footnote (history) bottom

  287.020.  Definitions — intent to abrogate earlier case law. — 1.  The word "employee" as used in this chapter shall be construed to mean every person in the service of any employer, as defined in this chapter, under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, or under any appointment or election, including executive officers of corporations.  Except as otherwise provided in section 287.200, any reference to any employee who has been injured shall, when the employee is dead, also include his dependents, and other persons to whom compensation may be payable.  The word "employee" shall also include all minors who work for an employer, whether or not such minors are employed in violation of law, and all such minors are hereby made of full age for all purposes under, in connection with, or arising out of this chapter.  The word "employee" shall not include an individual who is the owner, as defined in subdivision (42) of section 301.010, and operator of a motor vehicle which is leased or contracted with a driver to a for-hire motor carrier operating within a commercial zone as defined in section 390.020 or 390.041, or operating under a certificate issued by the Missouri department of transportation or by the United States Department of Transportation, or any of its subagencies.  The word "employee" also shall not include any person performing services for board, lodging, aid, or sustenance received from any religious, charitable, or relief organization.

  2.  The word "accident" as used in this chapter shall mean an unexpected traumatic event or unusual strain identifiable by time and place of occurrence and producing at the time objective symptoms of an injury caused by a specific event during a single work shift.  An injury is not compensable because work was a triggering or precipitating factor.

  3.  (1)  In this chapter the term "injury" is hereby defined to be an injury which has arisen out of and in the course of employment.  An injury by accident is compensable only if the accident was the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability.  "The prevailing factor" is defined to be the primary factor, in relation to any other factor, causing both the resulting medical condition and disability.

  (2)  An injury shall be deemed to arise out of and in the course of the employment only if:

  (a)  It is reasonably apparent, upon consideration of all the circumstances, that the accident is the prevailing factor in causing the injury; and

  (b)  It does not come from a hazard or risk unrelated to the employment to which workers would have been equally exposed outside of and unrelated to the employment in normal nonemployment life.

  (3)  An injury resulting directly or indirectly from idiopathic causes is not compensable.

  (4)  A cardiovascular, pulmonary, respiratory, or other disease, or cerebrovascular accident or myocardial infarction suffered by a worker is an injury only if the accident is the prevailing factor in causing the resulting medical condition.

  (5)  The terms "injury" and "personal injuries" shall mean violence to the physical structure of the body and to the personal property which is used to make up the physical structure of the body, such as artificial dentures, artificial limbs, glass eyes, eyeglasses, and other prostheses which are placed in or on the body to replace the physical structure and such disease or infection as naturally results therefrom.  These terms shall in no case except as specifically provided in this chapter be construed to include occupational disease in any form, nor shall they be construed to include any contagious or infectious disease contracted during the course of the employment, nor shall they include death due to natural causes occurring while the worker is at work.

  4.  "Death" when mentioned as a basis for the right to compensation means only death resulting from such violence and its resultant effects occurring within three hundred weeks after the accident; except that in cases of occupational disease, the limitation of three hundred weeks shall not be applicable.

  5.  Injuries sustained in company-owned or subsidized automobiles in accidents that occur while traveling from the employee's home to the employer's principal place of business or from the employer's principal place of business to the employee's home are not compensable.  The extension of premises doctrine is abrogated to the extent it extends liability for accidents that occur on property not owned or controlled by the employer even if the accident occurs on customary, approved, permitted, usual or accepted routes used by the employee to get to and from their place of employment.

  6.  The term "total disability" as used in this chapter shall mean inability to return to any employment and not merely mean inability to return to the employment in which the employee was engaged at the time of the accident.

  7.  As used in this chapter and all acts amendatory thereof, the term "commission" shall hereafter be construed as meaning and referring exclusively to the labor and industrial relations commission of Missouri, and the term "director" shall hereafter be construed as meaning the director of the department of insurance, financial institutions and professional registration of the state of Missouri or such agency of government as shall exercise the powers and duties now conferred and imposed upon the department of insurance, financial institutions and professional registration of the state of Missouri.

  8.  The term "division" as used in this chapter means the division of workers' compensation of the department of labor and industrial relations of the state of Missouri.

  9.  For the purposes of this chapter, the term "minor" means a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years; except that, for the purpose of computing the compensation provided for in this chapter, the provisions of section 287.250 shall control.

  10.  In applying the provisions of this chapter, it is the intent of the legislature to reject and abrogate earlier case law interpretations on the meaning of or definition of "accident", "occupational disease", "arising out of", and "in the course of the employment" to include, but not be limited to, holdings in:  Bennett v. Columbia Health Care and Rehabilitation, 80 S.W.3d 524 (Mo.App. W.D. 2002); Kasl v. Bristol Care, Inc., 984 S.W.2d 852 (Mo.banc 1999); and Drewes v. TWA, 984 S.W.2d 512 (Mo.banc 1999) and all cases citing, interpreting, applying, or following those cases.

  11.  For the purposes of this chapter, "occupational diseases due to toxic exposure" shall only include the following:  mesothelioma, asbestosis, berylliosis, coal worker's pneumoconiosis, brochiolitis obliterans, silicosis, silicotuberculosis, manganism, acute myelogenous leukemia, and myelodysplastic syndrome.


(RSMo 1939 § 3695, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 438; RSMo 1939 § 3744; A.L. 1945 p. 1996, A.L. 1959 S.B. 167, A.L. 1963 p. 408, A.L. 1967 p. 384, A.L. 1974 S.B. 417, A.L. 1977 S.B. 49, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1260, A.L. 1980 H.B. 1396, A.L. 1981 H.B. 324, A.L. 1993 S.B. 251, A.L. 2005 S.B. 1 & 130, A.L. 2008 H.B. 1883, A.L. 2013 S.B. 1)

Prior revision: 1929 §§ 3305, 3354

Effective 1-01-14


Division of motor carrier and railroad safety abolished, duties and functions transferred to highways and transportation commission and department of transportation, 226.008


(1960) Where the ordinary performance of claimant's duties in laundry necessitated immersion of her hand in "sour solution" from time to time which allegedly caused her hand to swell and redden, resulting in loss of strength in the hand and arm, the occurrence or event was not an accident within the meaning of this section. Smith v. Cascade Laundry Co. (A.), 335 S.W.2d 501.

(1963) Claimant's sudden unexpected breaking through concrete floor with jackhammer and violent jerking of claimant to his knee constituted an accident within meaning of this section and spasms of muscles on left side of back found by doctor two days later were objective symptoms of injury produced "at the time" in absence of showing of independent intervening cause. Smith v. American Car & Foundry Div., A.C.F.  Ind., Inc. (A.), 368 S.W.2d 515.

(1963) Where claimant, in ducking away from falling pieces of glass from employer's window which cracked from gust of wind, fell on floor and cut his hand, injury resulted from accident arising out of course of employment and not from act of God. Pierce v. Luce Manufacturing Company (A.), 375 S.W.2d 351.

(1967) The definition of the word "accident" is broad enough to include an unusual or abnormal strain, but a back injury suffered in course of usual work where no abnormal or unusual strain contributed to injury was not an accident. Mason v. F.W. Strecker Transfer Company (A.), 409 S.W.2d 267.

(1971) Inhalation of paint dust and paint fumes for a period of over three years by person employed as sander and spray painter of dispensing machines, and resulting effect on his body and lungs, including aggravation of preexisting condition of tuberculosis held not an "accident" under this section.  Bess v. Coca-Cola Bottling Company of St. Louis (A.), 469 S.W.2d 40.

(1972) Evidence sufficient to support finding of commission that accident wherein grinding wheel claimant was operating exploded, struck his groin, slashed his penis and tore open scrotal sac directly caused sexual impotence and anxiety neurosis which resulted in his permanent partial industrial disability.  Greer v. Black, Sivalls and Bryson, Inc. (A.), 483 S.W.2d 763.

(1973) Held that unusual abnormal and continuous physical and mental strain sustained by over-the-road truck driver constituted an "accident" within the meaning of the workmen's compensation statute. Snugges v. Steel Haulers, Inc. (Mo.) 501 S.W.2d 481.

(1974) Held that where workman was found dying after he had unloaded cargo in his normal job there was no presumption of accident. A heart attack is not "accidental" unless it results from unusual exertion and strain. It is incumbent on plaintiffs to produce affirmative evidence of accident. Russell v. Southwest Grease and Oil Co. (A.), 509 S.W.2d 776.

(1976) Held, that where piece of meat lodged in decedent's windpipe causing death from lack of oxygen and deceased was a journalist covering the banquet a compensable accident occurred.  Travelers Insurance Co. v. Majersky (A.), 531 S.W.2d 765.

(1978) Notice or knowledge by employer of dangerous condition is not a consideration in determining foreseeability of event, thus fact that employer may have been negligent is not relevant in determining whether "accident occurs". Leicht v. Venture Stores, Inc. (A.), 562 S.W.2d 401.

Course of Employment

(1961) Injuries caused by falling door sustained by employee during her uncompensated lunch period when, after eating, she attempted to enter storeroom of employer for purpose of exchanging knife she had purchased and was required to furnish in her work for one more suitable, arose out of and in the course of her employment precluding recovery therefor at common law. Daniels v. Krey Packing Co. (Mo.), 346 S.W.2d 78.

(1962) Injuries sustained from fall, caused by insulin reaction, to concrete floor from assembly line platform 12 ½ inches above floor held not to have arisen out of course of employment.  Howard v. Ford Motor Co. (A.), 363 S.W.2d 61.

(1963) Injuries sustained by employee held not to arise out of and in the course of her employment when she slipped and fell on ice and snow in public alley behind place of employment while on her way to work, although employees were required to enter and exit by rear door opening onto public alley.  Hawley v. Eddy Brothers, Inc. (A.), 371 S.W.2d 338.

(1964) Injuries sustained by claimant, employed as service station attendant and whose competition in drag racing was sponsored by station owner for advertising purposes, in accident while driving service station truck with owner's permission on way to pick up engine for racing car held to arise out of and in the course of his employment. Liverman v. Wagner (A.), 384 S.W.2d 107.

1965) Words "arising out of" refer to the origin or cause of the accident and are descriptive of its character, while words "in the course of" refer to the time, place and circumstances under which the accident takes place. Kammeyer v. Board of Education (A.), 393 S.W.2d 122.

(1968) Injury to employee who fell over wire hoop on premises of employer while returning from an off-the-premises break during the paid hours of his employment, where ownership or origin of the hoop was not known and walkway where fall occurred was not normal place of ingress or egress, was not an accident arising out of the course of his employment.  Kunce v. Junge Baking Co. (A.), 432 S.W.2d 602.


(1961) Where claimant, electrician, and his crew were employed at hourly rate to perform work on a job until such time as subcontractor could "move on" the job with his own crew, under the facts of the case, the finding by the commission that claimant was an employee and not an independent contractor was justified. Specie v. Howerton Electric Co. (A.), 344 S.W.2d 314.

(1962) The principal owner and director of a corporation who owned substantially all of the stock and directed its every operation was not an employee within the meaning of the workmen's compensation law and therefore was ineligible for benefits.  Gazzoli v. Star Novelty Co. (A.), 354 S.W.2d 296.

(1965) Relationship of master and servant must exist for the claim to be compensable, and the test of the relationship is the right to control the means and manner of service, as distinguished from controlling the ultimate results of the service.  Gass v. White Superior Bus Co. (A.), 395 S.W.2d 501.

(1967) Claimant who owned 49 or 100 outstanding shares of alleged corporate employer, was secretary-treasurer of company and shop foreman in its plant was an employee of the corporation. Saxton v. St. Louis Stair Company (A.), 410 S.W.2d 369.

(1969) Volunteer working at hospital without pay was an employee within meaning of employee "under any appointment or election" in this section. Orphant v. St. Louis State Hospital, Division of Mental Diseases (Mo.), 441 S.W.2d 355.

(1977) Sole proprietor of unincorporated business is not an "employee" and is not eligible for benefits for injury received while performing duties normally performed by an employee.  Bethel v. Sunlight Janitor Service (Mo.), 551 S.W.2d 616.

Occupational Disease

(1956) Disability from occupational disease regarded as an industrial accident, and the occurrence of the disability as the event or accident which gave rise to liability. Staples v. A.P.  Green Fire Brick Co. (A.), 296 S.W.2d 498.

(1956) Where employee's death from silico-tuberculosis, an occupational disease, did not occur within 300 weeks after the occurrence of disability, claimants were not entitled to recover for death. Staples v. A.P. Green Fire Brick Co. (A.), 296 S.W.2d 498.

(1958) Noise induced hearing loss held not an occupational disease within the workmen's compensation law. Marie v. Standard Steel Works (A.), 311 S.W.2d 368. Reversed: (Mo.) 319 S.W.2d 871 (1959) held that finding of commission that noise induced deafness was occupational disease was within its powers.

(1958) Holding that disease (cancer of urinary tract) allegedly resulting from exposure to harmful chemicals, which was not theretofore known to be incidental and peculiar to an occupation, was an occupational disease within this statute, sustained.  King v. Monsanto Chem. Co., 256 F.2d 812.

Total Disability

(1958) In determining whether claimant is totally disabled, the question is whether any employer, in the usual course of business, seeking persons to perform duties of employment in the usual and customary way would reasonably be expected to employ him in his existing physical condition. Groce v. Pyle (A.), 315 S.W.2d 482.

(1981) An uncompensated worker is an employee by appointment within the meaning of the workers' compensation law if he is in the service of an employer and that employer exercises control or has the right of control, over the worker. Stegeman v. St. Francis Xavier Parish (Mo.), 611 S.W.2d 204.

(1983) Liberally construing the term "accident" as used in the Workers' Compensation Act, so long as an injury is clearly job related, it is compensable. Wolfgeher v. Wagner Cartage Service, Inc. (Mo. banc), 646 S.W.2d 781.

(1993) Where volunteer regularly worked on Wednesdays, volunteer was not an employee for purposes of workers' compensation coverage when injured on a day not scheduled to work and agency had no control over volunteer on day of accident.  Talir v. Midwest Area Agency on Aging, 848 S.W.2d 517 (Mo. App. E.D.)

---- end of effective  01 Jan 2014 ----

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287.020 8/28/2017
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