Injuries and deaths that occur in the course and scope of a victims’ employment are generally compensable under state workers’ compensation laws. These laws have provision of “exclusive remedy,” which do not allow victims to pursue additional lawsuits against the employer or its agents.
In a case recently before the Missouri Supreme Court, plaintiffs tried to hold accountable the supervisors of a commercial trucker for negligence resulting in his death. Plaintiffs in Parr v. Breeden alleged that the supervisors’ negligence breached duties that arose from federal regulations – which were separate and distinct from the employer’s nondelegable duty to provide a safe working environment to its workers.
Had the court adopted this argument, it would have opened the door for claims against individual co-workers and supervisors in cases where federal regulations were violated. However, that did not happen. The court ruled that defendants’ alleged negligence were part of their workplace duties, and the violation of federal laws did not mean there was a separate personal duty that was distinct from their workplace duties. Continue reading →