Fighting for Fair Compensation: What Do Workplace Injury Lawsuits Entail?

Workplace injury lawsuits are filed when employees sustain major injuries while actively at work or, sometimes, while off the clock on the company premises. Chicago adheres to a no-fault Workers’ Compensation Act. That means you do not have to prove your employer’s liability in the accident. At the same time, you may still be eligible for compensation even if the accident was your fault. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule.

For example, your claim can be denied if it’s discovered that you were drunk or ‘high’ when the accident happened. It’s best to talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible to see if you have a case. A workplace injury lawyer can help you assert your rights and fight for reasonable compensation to offset the cost of your injuries and losses.

Workplace injury claims and lawsuits

In all workplace injury cases, it’s important to establish fault. Even though Chicago follows a no-fault model, knowing who is at fault will help you determine who to sue. It could be the company or a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer, site visitor, etc. Indeed, workers who suffer injuries at their workplace or while engaged in work-related activities may seek compensation through the following means:

Workers’ compensation

The Chicago Workers’ Compensation is a state-managed program requiring companies to hold insurance coverage for employees injured at work. The insurance is meant to provide automatic benefits to employees who suffer harm due to work-related accidents, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

In exchange, the worker loses their right to bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the employer.

The Illinois Workers’ compensation board reviews claims to establish their validity and the compensation sum. However, in some cases, the insurance coverage provider may handle the process.

Some benefits include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, disability benefits, and death benefits. However, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are not covered.

Personal injury lawsuit

Apart from a workers’ compensation claim, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if the accident was caused by a third party, such as faulty or malfunctioning equipment, careless workplace visitor, workers under a subcontract, etc.

A product liability or third-party personal injury lawsuit will allow you to seek substantial compensation in addition to worker’s compensation.

But you can only do that if the negligent party is not your employer, as defined by  Chicago statutes. A good workplace injury lawyer can tell you if you have other claims besides a worker’s compensation case. Personal injury lawsuits typically end in a verdict or settlement, providing extra compensation, including for non-economic damages.

Wrongful death

Workplace accidents can also result in the deaths of employees. You may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if you lose your loved one in a work-related accident or illness.

A wrongful death case allows you to hold the employer, equipment manufacturer, general contractor, or another third party responsible. Another way you may end up with a wrongful death suit is if the claimant in a personal injury case dies while their case is still in progress. Wrongful death lawsuits can result in verdicts or awards too.

Does Illinois have a cap on workers’ compensation amounts?

Unlike other states, Illinois is generous regarding worker’s compensation claims. The waiting period is short, weekly benefits usually start just after three days, the disability caps are higher, and you can choose your own doctor. Plus, there are no caps on the total benefit.

You may also get a substantial award or settlement in case of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. An average personal injury settlement in the U.S. is in the $3000-$75000 range.

On the other hand, wrongful death lawsuit awards are usually six figures. However, the settlements or amounts recovered may be higher depending on the damages suffered or the wrongful death circumstances. In any case, speak with a lawyer to get expert help.

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