Missouri workers' comp 101

Starting a small business is part of living the American dream. For many, being a small business owner means having more flexibility and greater financial security. However, before you open your doors in Missouri, you need to know the small business workers’ comp rules that apply to your business.

10 facts about workers’ compensation in Missouri

  1. Small business owners in Missouri must carry workers’ comp insurance if they have five or more employees. This rule applies to all employees, even family members, part-time staff, or casual laborers. In addition, members of an LLC and officers of a corporation count as employees. However, sole proprietors and members of a partnership aren’t counted.
  2. Employers in the construction industry are required to carry workers’ comp coverage if they have one or more employees in Missouri.
  3. Employers who are exempt from small business workers’ comp insurance requirements and choose not to purchase coverage or decide to self-insure are still open to risk from civil lawsuits lodged by employees injured in the course of work.
  4. In Missouri, some occupations are covered under federal laws and not by state workers’ comp laws. This includes:
    • Direct sellers
    • Domestic servants in a private home
    • Farm laborers
    • Laborers who perform occasion work for or related to a private household
    • Maritime workers
    • Postal workers
    • Qualified real estate agents
    • Railroad employees
    • Unpaid adjudicators and sports officials for interscholastic or amateur youth programs
    • Volunteers of 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) tax-exempt organizations
  1. Small business owners in Missouri can take advantage of the state’s online Workers’ Compensation Rate Guide insurance purchasing service. Using the service, employers can check the rates for workers’ comp coverage for all insurers in the state.
  2. You will need to know all of the applicable classification codes (class codes) to shop for workers’ comp insurance using Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation Rate Guide. Insurance companies use class codes to group businesses into various categories of risk. These codes reflect a job’s risk to a company’s employees and help insurance companies provide coverage that makes sense for their customers.
  3. To self-insure your small business, you’ll need to apply to the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation’s Insurance Unit. This organization operates as the chief underwriter, regulator and auditor for the state’s self-insurance program. Business owners with the financial capital to cover the associated costs can self-insure as either an individual or a group trust.
  4. You must notify your insurance provider immediately if an injury occurs at your business. Additionally, you will need to report the injury to the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation within 30 days. In most cases, your insurer will submit the report on your behalf. Call the division at 573-522-1963 if you have questions about reporting workplace injuries.
  5. Under workers’ comp statutes, employers must provide immediate medical care for an injured employee. Employers can pay the bill themselves if the employee doesn’t miss work after the injury, and all medical bills total less than $3,500. However, you must still notify your insurance providers and the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation.
  6. Committing insurance fraud in Missouri can be a class-D felony in certain instances. This includes anyone who purposely prepares or presents an invalid certificate of insurance as proof of workers′ comp coverage. The penalty for fraud can include a fine of up to $10,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater. Less egregious types of fraud, like making false or fraudulent statements about benefits to discourage an injured employee from filing a legitimate claim, are class-A misdemeanors.

Read the complete Missouri Workers’ Compensation Rules for more information.

Remember, every situation is different and state workers’ compensation laws are subject to change, so be sure to do your research and speak with a trusted advisor.

Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As laws change regularly, you should refer to your state legislation and/or an advisor for specific legal counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workers’ compensation insurance or check your current rate in 3 minutes.

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