Accidents can and do happen on the job, regardless of the occupation or workplace environment. According to Illinois law, if you are injured at work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. This claim means you cannot sue your employer for an injury you suffer performing your job, even if your employer’s negligence caused your injury. Alternatively, when someone else who is not your employer is at fault for your work-related injury, you may sue him or her for wages lost or medical bills caused by his or her negligence. These types of claims against an individual or another company that caused a workplace injury are called “third-party claims.”
Understanding Third-Party Liability
Illinois has a no-fault workers’ compensation system, meaning it does not matter if the employer or employee is to blame for the injury. If an employee suffers a serious injury at his or her workplace in Illinois, he or she can file a workers’ compensation claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Benefits can include temporary or permanent disability payments, as well as coverage for medical bills and lost wages.
Workplace injuries can also occur due to no fault of the worker or the employer, but instead because of another person’s or entity’s actions or inactions. Under these circumstances, the injured employee can file a liability lawsuit against the at-fault third party and seek damages. Compensation can be for lost wages if the employee cannot return to work for a period of time, and also medical costs, disability, disfigurement, in addition to pain and suffering. In some cases, it may be appropriate to file both a workers' compensation claim and third-party lawsuit.
There are a variety of different accidents that would injure a worker and which would justify filing a liability lawsuit against a third party, including the following:
- Construction accidents: An employee is hurt as a result of another contractor’s unsafe work practices on the job site, such as not properly securing scaffolding.
- Slip and fall accidents: A worker slips on a substance and falls while delivering products to another company’s property.
- Motor vehicle collisions: If an employee is driving while on the job and is involved in an automobile accident caused by a negligent driver.
- Defective products: A laborer is injured by a piece of equipment that has not been properly maintained or contains defective parts.
When an employee files a liability lawsuit against a third party for a workplace injury, he or she may be able to recover the full extent of damages he or she suffered. This can include 100 percent of lost wages, medical expenses, in addition to pain and suffering. In order to recover damages in a liability lawsuit, the injured worker must prove the third party’s negligence caused the injury. Therefore, it is helpful to seek legal counsel to understand all your options if you believe another party is at fault for your workplace injury.
Contact a Joliet Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ compensation benefits are for employees who are hurt at their workplace, and the employer is required by law to provide them. However, in the event you are injured on the job due to a third party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a liability lawsuit. The skilled law firm of McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC can guide you through the legal process for seeking damages. Contact a Will County third-party lawsuit attorney at 815-727-0100 for a free consultation.