The Difference Between a Third Party Lawsuit and Workers’ Compensation
When you think of dangerous places, you may picture a snake pit, a raceway or your in-laws. Your place of employment may not immediately come to mind. But whether you work at a factory, construction site, office or retail store, you can easily be injured. Each day, one worker is injured every seven seconds while they are on the job. Workplace injuries are common and often quite serious. Some can make it impossible for you to ever return to work. If you are injured on the job, you may be eligible for worker’s compensation or a settlement from a third party. In some instances, you will be eligible for both. It’s important that you understand all of your options and seek proper legal representation so that you receive all the financial compensation you deserve.
Workers’ compensation is insurance that offers benefits to employees who are injured on the job or who become ill due to “occupational illness.” Workers’ compensation pays for all the medical bills that result from the injury or illness and also covers part of your lost wages. This insurance also provides some compensation in the case of fatal accidents to surviving family members.
Worker’s receive these benefits no matter who is to blame in the accident. However, in return, they are not allowed to sue their employers to receive further financial assistance. In this way, both parties are at least partially protected in the case of workplace injuries and illness. Of course, this situation also means that workers don’t’ always get the financial recompense that they should.
Although you cannot sue your employer, may still need legal help to collect your workers’ compensation. Your claim may be denied or you may be awarded an amount that you feel that you feel is inadequate. In that case, you will have to appeal the decision through the workers’ compensation system in Illinois. This process can be long and arduous, requiring the help of a knowledgeable attorney to successfully navigate.
In Illinois, the law requires employers to offer workers’ compensation to the vast majority of employees. Possible exemptions include sole proprietors, business partners, limited liability companies and corporate officers. State officials estimate that 91% of Illinois employees are covered by workers’ compensation.
Employers who knowingly fail to invest in this coverage face significant fines: up to $500 for each day of non-compliance to a maximum of $10,000. Corporate officers may find themselves personally liable if their company does not adhere to the law. In the last decade or so, the state has collected millions of dollars in workers’ compensation fines.
Third Party Lawsuits
Although you cannot sue your employer or a coworker if you receive workers’ compensation, you may have grounds for a third party lawsuit. These claims are against parties involved with your work such as machinery manufacturers, property owners, or other companies working at the same site, something that can easily happen during construction projects. Of course, these lawsuits only have merit if the third party was negligent in some way.
You will need to hire a skilled personal injury attorney to handle this type of case. To win a settlement, you will need to prove that the defendant breached the “duty of care,” owed to the plaintiff. Duty of care is the implied responsibility that a company has to others. For instance, a car manufacturer owes customers a safe product. Property owners owe others a safe physical environment.
Your lawyer will need to prove that the third party’s breach of care led to your injuries. Perhaps a factory crane malfunctioned and caused your injury. Maybe you simply tripped over a loose board that the property owner should have fixed. Any number of issues may be caused by third-party negligence.
Workers’ Compensation Repayment
In a third-party lawsuit, you may receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other hardships. If you do receive an award from a lawsuit, you will likely be required to pay back any workers’ compensation money you collected. Otherwise, you would be receiving wages and medical expense money twice. You will then be able to keep the rest of the settlement minus your attorney’s fees. In most cases, a third-party award will be significantly higher than a workers’ compensation settlement.
As with any lawsuit, the amount of money you will receive will rely on a number of factors, including the severity of your injury, the level of negligence of the third-party, and the skill of your personal injury attorney. In Illinois, you should turn to the experts at WG Law Group.
WG Law Group
Workers’ compensation issues can be quite complicated and often require the help of experienced attorneys to untangle. Third-party lawsuits are also complex, so you need a legal expert who knows the ins and outs of Illinois law. If you are injured in the workplace or develop a workplace-related illness, you will need the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. At WG Law Group, they specialize in getting fair compensation in these cases.
WG Law Group has successfully worked on numerous Illinois workplace cases. They understand how devastating these circumstances can be to your health and your finances. Their attorneys aggressively pursue your case through pre-trial negotiation and in the courtroom so you can stop worrying about money and concentrate on your healing.
You can get a sense of your legal position by taking advantage of their free consultation. Your current finances should not deter you from seeking help. WG Law Group does not charge you a cent until they have secured a settlement for you. For more information, contact them by calling 312-334-6875 for the WG Law Group Michigan Avenue location or at 815-730-7535 for their Shorewood office. Call today to begin your journey to fair compensation.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.