Suffering an injury as the result of a preventable action by another can be extremely frustrating. Whether it is not correcting a dangerous condition or acting irresponsibly, initial thoughts after such an event question why the other person or entity acted as they did. Afterwards, when the costs of recovering from the injury begin to become due, thoughts turn to whether the responsible party can be required to pay these costs. Retaining the services of an attorney experienced in personal injury law can be crucial to ensuring that the responsible party does compensate the injured individual for all expenses associated with recovering from the injury.
A complex situation arises when the responsible party is the injured individual’s employer, in which case the employee has a decision to make – utilize the workers’ compensation policy or pursue legal action in court. A company which has recently been in the news, Amazon, was the subject of a story which illustrates numerous ways injured employees are effectively left to fend for themselves, resulting, in one instance, in a former employee becoming homeless as a result of the costs of recovery.
In Illinois, workers’ compensation policies are a form of insurance for employees, providing wage replacement and medical benefits to those employees injured in the course of employment. Illinois law requires the majority of employers operating within this State to maintain such policies. However, this benefit comes with a trade-off – in exchange for the financial benefit, employees are required to relinquish their right to sue their employer for negligence. The purpose for this trade-off between assured, limited coverage and lack of recourse outside the worker compensation system, also known as “the compensation bargain,” is to prevent the situation in which, as a result of a lawsuit and a large financial award to the employee, an employer could become insolvent.
Typical workers’ compensation plans provide compensation for wages, economic loss, medical expenses, and death benefits (payable to the dependents of workers killed during employment). Generally, however, damage for pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages for employer negligence, are not available in workers’ compensation plans.
As is illustrated, workers’ compensation plans do provide a substantial benefit for those insured while on the job. To this end, though, workers’ compensation plans offer limited liability protection to the employers. Thus, under current law in Illinois, injured workers are not able to sue their employers for their work injuries in most cases, regardless of negligence. Further, as alluded to above, because these workers cannot sue their employers for negligence, they cannot receive damages for pain and suffering.
Nevertheless, there are three limited exceptions to this prohibition. If one of these exceptions is met, an injured worker may sue his/her employer for injuries caused by the employer’s negligence:
Being injured while on the job is never a pleasant experience, and, if the injury was the result of a preventable error on the part of your employer, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury as soon as possible. The dedicated DuPage County personal injury attorneys at Mevorah Law Office, LLC have years of experience in personal injury matters, including those involving employers. If the attorneys decide the injury was preventable and attributable to your employer, they will work to ensure that you get the maximum compensation possible. Contact us at 630-932-9100 for a free consultation.
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