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New law seeks to protect workers at roadside job sites

The Missouri workers' compensation system provides benefits for workers who have been injured on the job in a wide variety of industries and workplaces. A qualifying injury does not necessarily have to take place in an office, a factory or a construction site; it just has happen during the course of the worker's job duties.

Missouri Department of Transportation workers face serious safety hazards in the form of careless drivers when they work on roadside projects. According to MoDOT, 13 of their workers have been killed in work zones since 2000. Thousands have been injured in work zones just over the past five years.

Recently, Gov. Mike Parson signed a new law that is intended to improve safety for these and other workers by increasing penalties for drivers who injure people at roadside work zones. There are already stiff fines for drivers who injure MoDOT workers and first responders, but the new law empowers the state to take away the licenses of these drivers. Known as Lyndon's Law, it is named after a MoDOT worker who was killed by a negligent driver at a roadside job site.

Proponents say the new law will protect roadside workers by acting as a deterrent against careless driving. Some safety advocates say it is not enough, and workers need a police escort and other protections at roadside work zones.

Workers who are injured at any kind of work site can be left with enormous medical expenses and loss of income while they recover. The workers' compensation system gives them a chance to recover benefits for these losses without having to file a lawsuit or prove their employer did anything wrong.

In cases involving a negligent driver, the injured worker or their family members may be able to pursue a personal injury claim instead of, or in addition to, making a claim for workers' compensation benefits. An attorney with experience in both workers' compensation and personal injury law can advise clients on their options.

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