If an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, an injured worker may file for damages through a workers’ compensation claim with his or her state’s uninsured employer’s fund, or file a personal injury lawsuit.
How to Handle Workplace Injuries
In the United States, almost all states require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance that covers work-related injuries. Typically, employers purchase workers’ comp insurance through their state or show proof of self-insurance which covers injury claims. If a work-related injury occurs, a worker can either file a workers’ compensation claim through his or her workplace or file a personal injury lawsuit against his or her employer.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
In Illinois, employers are required by the state to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Regardless of how workplace injuries occur and who is at fault, Illinois workers are entitled to recover damages through workers’ compensation benefits.
Once a workers’ comp claim is filed and approved by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), a worker can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and necessary rehabilitation to return to work. Workers’ comp benefits are usually paid weekly or biweekly by the state.
Illinois workers’ compensation claims must be filed within two years of the date of injury or they risk being dismissed. If a claim is denied by IWCC, a workers’ compensation attorney can file an appeal with IWCC to have the claim investigated and reviewed, on the worker’s behalf.
Personal Injury Claims
Illinois workers are less likely to file personal injury lawsuits against employers because workers’ compensation coverage is mandated by the state. However, there are cases where filing a personal injury lawsuit through a workers’ compensation attorney may have a better outcome.
In cases where work-related injuries are caused by a third party, a worker can file a workers’ compensation claim, as well as a personal injury claim. For instance, if a roadside worker is hit by a car, or a construction worker falls due to a faulty ladder, third-party claims may be filed against the at-fault driver and the company who made the faulty ladder.
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, proof of negligence is required in personal injury cases. However, if an attorney establishes proof, damages awarded may be substantially higher than workers’ compensation benefits.
In Illinois personal injury cases, lawsuits must be filed in court within two years of injury. Damages are typically paid out in lump sums or settlement arrangements made between the injury victim’s lawyer and the perpetrator’s lawyer.