Contributory negligence and comparative negligence are legal standards for determining liability for accident and injury claims. Most states, including Illinois, follow the comparative negligence regime, which basically allocates fault between two negligent parties. A few states still use the contributory negligence regime, which eliminates liability if a party is responsible in any way for the accident.
It is important to note, however, that contributory negligence and comparative negligence standards do not apply to workers’ compensation claims. Under workers’ compensation laws, injured employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for accidents and injuries that were sustained while on the job, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. In other words, even if the employee was negligent, or partially responsible for a workplace accident that resulted in injuries, he or she is still generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Generally, only in the following cases will an injured employee be denied workers’ compensation benefits:
- Self-inflicted injuries (including those caused by a person who starts a fight)
- Injuries suffered while a worker was committing a serious crime
- Injuries suffered while an employee was not on the job
- Injuries suffered when an employee’s conduct violated company policy
If an injured employee seeks additional compensation in a third-party personal injury action, however, issues of comparative negligence or contributory negligence could come into play.
The Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC have significant experience representing clients in connection with workers’ compensation claims and any related third-party lawsuits. If you were injured while on the job, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys.