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The liability of an employer prescribed by this chapter is exclusive and in the place of any
other liability to such employee, personal representative, surviving spouse, parent, any child,
dependent, next of kin, or other person entitled to recover damages on account of such injury
or death. If an employer other than the state or any municipal subdivision thereof fails to insure
or self-insure liability for compensation to injured employees and their dependents, an injured
employee, or legal representatives or, if death results from the injury, any dependent may elect
to claim compensation under this chapter or to maintain an action in the courts for damages on
account of such injury or death. In such action it is not necessary to plead or prove freedom from
contributory negligence. The defendant may not plead as a defense that the injury was caused by
the negligence of a fellow servant, that the employee assumed the risk of employment, or that
the injury was due to the contributory negligence of the employee, unless it appears that such
negligence was willful on the part of the employee. The burden of proof to establish such willful
negligence is upon the defendant. For the purposes of this chapter the state and each municipal
subdivision thereof is treated as a self-insurer when not carrying insurance at the time of the
injury or death of an employee.
History: 1953 c 755 s 3; 1986 c 444