Most employees who work in the state of Illinois are covered under workers’ compensation insurance the moment that they begin working. This type of insurance provides for no-fault recovery in the event that an employee sustains an on-the-job injury, i.e., the employee does not need to prove fault in order to recover damages, but is also simultaneously barred from filing a lawsuit against his or her employer. However, in some cases, an injured worker may be legally allowed to file a workers’ compensation claim and a third party liability claim against an at-fault party. A Rockford workers’ compensation attorney can help you to understand when this is the case, and what you will need to prove.
When Is a Third Party Liable?
Most injuries that happen in the workplace are not the fault of a third party against whom a suit for damages can be filed. In some cases, however, an injured employee has the right to file a claim directly against the negligent person responsible for his or her injuries. The following provides a few examples of causes of worker injuries where a third party may be held liable:
- A company manufactures a defective piece of equipment;
- A property owner fails to maintain a property in a reasonably safe condition;
- A drunk driver hits a worker at a construction site;
- A repair company fails to properly repair or maintain a piece of equipment; or/and
- A dangerous chemical’s manufacturer improperly labels the chemical.
How Do I File a Third Party Suit and What Do I Have to Prove?
All third party liability suits in Illinois must be filed within two years’ time according to Illinois General Assembly. In order to recover damages, you must prove that the party against whom you are filing suit acted negligently, and that the negligent action was the direct cause of your injuries. Furthermore, you must prove that you suffered damages, economic, noneconomic, or both. Common types of damages that you may seek to recover include:
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Medical expenses;
- Emotional anguish; and
- Future healthcare costs related to the injury.
It is also important that you prove that the injury occurred through no fault of your own. If it is demonstrated that you were partially to blame for the injury, then your recoverable damages amount may be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
Is It Possible to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Third Party Liability Claim Simultaneously?
While it is less common, in some cases, it may be possible to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a third party liability claim simultaneously. An attorney can guide you through the unique process that is related to each, and provide you with further guidance whether or not you have a solid case for pursuing a third party claim.
Consult with a Rockford Workers’ Compensation Attorney
While you cannot file a lawsuit directly against your employer, you do have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim and, in some cases, file a third party liability claim for damages as well. To help you determine which is best suited for your case, consult with an experienced Rockford workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. The team at Fisk & Monteleone LTD. is passionate about helping injured workers recover the damages that they deserve. To schedule a consultation with us today, call 815-315-9207 today.