In many of our blog posts on workers’ compensation, we mention the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, or LIRC. This Commission is a critical juncture for many claims for workers’ compensation, as it handles any appeals from the administrative law judge who first hears a dispute.
Here is how the LIRC works.
The Role of the LIRC in Workers’ Compensation
When a worker gets hurt in Missouri, they can file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. Lots of times, this is the end of the process. Either the claim gets approved and the worker is satisfied with the compensation that they receive, or the claim is denied but the worker does not appeal.
If there is an appeal, it goes before an administrative law judge, whose job it is to resolve the dispute. If there is an appeal from the administrative law judge’s decision, it goes to the LIRC. Workers’ compensation claims only make it to the Missouri court system if they are appealed from the LIRC.
But even when the case is still before the administrative law judge, the Commission is still a significant player: These judges are appointed by the Commission.
The Composition of the Commission
There are three people on the LIRC. All of them are appointed by the Governor of Missouri. One is supposed to represent employers. Another one is supposed to represent employees. The third is supposed to represent the interests of the public. The public representative is the only one that is required to have a law degree.
Because Missouri is such a pro-business state, though, this means that two of the three commissioners are bound to favor employers.
In 2021, this is exactly how the LIRC stands. The public representative is Robert Cornejo, a Missouri politician with a very strong pro-business stance.
Because the LIRC is primarily pro-business, this also means that the administrative judges that the Commission appoints are also bound to be pro-business. This means that workers who have been hurt on the job will have an uphill battle to fight from the very start.
The Commission Was Created by the State Constitution
The LIRC’s pivotal place in Missouri’s workers’ compensation scheme is enshrined in the state’s constitution. Article IV, Section 49 of Missouri’s Constitution created the LIRC in 1972.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Smith Law Office Serve Western Missouri
As it stands, the LIRC is a huge obstacle to workers who have been hurt while on the job. As we have shown in our blog, the Commission stretches for reasons to deny compensation to these injured workers, often by ignoring binding court cases that deal with disabling injuries or filing requirements. In both of these cases, the LIRC’s public representative joined the employer’s representative to deny coverage to an injured worker, overwhelming the employee’s representative on the Commission.
The personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at the Smith Law Office advocate for hurt workers in western Missouri, including St. Joseph, Kansas City, and Springfield. Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.