If you have been injured on the job, Illinois law generally requires you to seek payment for medical bills and lost wages through the state Workers’ Compensation program. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system. This means to receive compensation you don’t have to prove that anyone was at fault for your job-related injuries. In exchange for immunity from lawsuits, Illinois employers are required to have insurance to cover injuries to their employees. Because you cannot sue your employer or co-employees in court for any injuries you suffer on the job, a workers’ comp claim is your exclusive remedy against them.
However, in some situations you may have a legal claim against companies or individuals other than your employer and co-employees. You can file in court a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. A negligence lawsuit in the court system differs from a workers’ comp claim in important ways. For example, in a lawsuit you have to prove that the individual or company you are suing was at fault for causing your injury.
Individuals or companies other than your employer or co-employees can be at fault for jobsite injuries in a number of different situations.
Multiple subcontractors and contractors other than your employer often work on a construction site at the same time. Their careless actions may cause your injuries. Or the property owner or developer may be liable for negligently creating unsafe working conditions at the construction site.
You may be injured when using a defectively designed or manufactured tool or machine at work. Or your injury may result from deficient instructions or warnings. If you are injured by an unreasonably dangerous or defective machine or tool, you may have a product liability claim against the designer and manufacturer of the faulty equipment, as well as the distributor and retailer of the equipment.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
If the driver of another vehicle crashes into you while you are driving on a work-related task, you may have a potential negligence claim against the other driver.
Third parties on your employer’s premises
Injuries may result because of the negligence of third parties working at your employer’s premises. In these situations, it may be possible to file a negligence suit against the third-party individual who caused your injury, and likely that person’s employer as well. For example, if you happen to slip or trip at your work site, perhaps a cleaning service may have negligently caused your injuries. Or a snow removal service may create hazardous conditions in the company parking lot. Or you may be injured by an unsafe condition created by a contractor doing remodeling work at your employer’s building.
If you are injured on the job, then hurt further by negligent medical treatment for the injury, you may have a medical malpractice claim against the health care provider.
If you have been injured on the job by actions of someone other than your employer or co-employees, it’s important that you consult with an attorney to assess your legal rights. For answers to questions about your workers’ compensation benefits and potential personal injury claims, contact our Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Firm for a free consultation.