Dual Jurisdiction: Can a Claim be Filed in MO and IL?
What to Consider

By Jennifer Weller, VBM Attorney

Article written August 26, 2022

Can a claim be filed in both Missouri and Illinois? YES. Jurisdiction for a workers’ compensation claim in Missouri is proper if anyone of the following is true: The accident/injury happened in Missouri, the employers’ principal place of employment is in Missouri, or the contract for hire took place in Missouri. The same applies for Illinois jurisdiction. Dual jurisdiction exists if an injured worker is hired in one state but injured in another, among other scenarios’. The injured worker can decide to pursue a claim in either or both state(s).  The injured worker cannot, however, “double” recover. If the injured worker pursues a claim in both states, the employer must defend in both states.

Here are some considerations for claims handling in Missouri vs. Illinois:

Ideally, an employer will want to handle a dual jurisdiction claim in Missouri, though the decision will ultimately lie with the injured worker and where any formal claim is filed.  To the contrary, when given the choice the injured worker will most likely pursue benefits in Illinois.  We see this primarily so the injured worker can direct his/her own medical care.  Also, depending on the injured workers’ wage and nature of injury, due to the difference in number of weeks and maximum compensation rates, the injured workers’ recovery could be more in Illinois. Even though benefits are paid to an injured worker under the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Statute, an injured worker could be entitled to additional compensation for the same injury under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, if jurisdiction is proper in both states.

An example of this dual jurisdictional issue can be found in Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. v. IWCC, et al. (William Bunn, Appellees), 2017 IL App (5th) 160331 WC-U, an Order filed under Supreme Court Rule 23 and not precedent.  In that matter, William Bunn filed an application for adjustment of claim seeking benefits from Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation, his employer, under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act for injury on August 13, 2009.  Mr. Bunn was employed as a truck driver. The question at issue was whether the contract for hire was made in Illinois, specifically in Chester, Illinois, the employer’s headquarters, or at its facility in Perryville, Missouri.  Mr. Bunn maintained that he was under contract when he left Chester after completing the drug test and physical.  The employer maintained he was not hired until after he appeared at the Perryville facility where his driver’s license was checked, and he was informed of “work policies.”  After hearing testimony, the court found this issue to be one of disputed facts and credibility.  The Commission found that the last act necessary to complete the contract for hire occurred in Illinois and the Appellate Court agreed that finding was not against the manifest weight of the evidence.  The Appellate Court, however, found the Commission lacked jurisdiction under the Act based upon Mr. Bunn’s failure to give proper notice of the accident (in Illinois, a claim for benefits is barred unless notice of the injury is provided to the employer within 45 days of the accident) and the claim was denied. Mr. Bunn did also file a Claim for Compensation in Missouri for the same accident.  There was no decision issued in Missouri for that claim to determine if the claim was denied or ultimately settled.  However, Mr. Bunn was free to pursue that claim in Missouri as well, as the accident occurred in McBride, Missouri.  The employer would be afforded all defenses available under the Missouri Workers Compensation Statute, including notice (in Missouri, no proceedings for compensation for any occupational disease or repetitive shall be maintained unless written notice of the time, place, and nature of the injury, and the name and address of the person injured, has been given to the employer no later than thirty days after the diagnosis of the condition unless the employee can prove the employer was not prejudiced by failure to receive the notice).

Jurisdiction was proper for Mr. Bunn’s claim in both Missouri and Illinois.  He chose to file a formal claim for the same injury and accident date in both states.  While his claim was ultimately denied in Illinois, he was still able to pursue the same claim in Missouri.

Do you have a claim with dual jurisdiction in Missouri and Illinois?  Contact Jennifer Weller to discuss these considerations and the best options for defense and claims handling. 

If you have any questions regarding dual jurisdiction or if you would like a copy of the 2022-2023 Missouri and/or Illinois rate charts, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

vbmlaw.com   |   (573) 777-4488  |   kristin@vbmlaw.com