Do I have to prove negligence to pursue workers’ compensation?
November 18, 2014 Published in Firm News,Workers' Compensation
When people are injured on the job, they may be eligible to collect workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, many people do not understand this because they may misinterpret their rights as workers or they do not know how workers’ compensation works.
Generally speaking, workers’ compensation is a program that requires employers to pay for this insurance for employees. In exchange, they can be protected from lawsuits filed by injured workers. This means that it is not necessary to prove negligence to collect this type of compensation.
One common assumption that people make is that there needs to have been somebody at fault for an injury or illness in order for it to be covered by the employer-paid insurance. For instance, a falling injury must have been the result of a hazardous condition like a wet floor. But readers need to know that this assumption is inaccurate and could be keeping injured workers from collecting the compensation they may need and deserve.
According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, any worker who has suffered “any injury, disablement or death arising out of and in the course of his employment may elect to pursue” workers’ compensation. Essentially, this means that any injury or illness suffered on the job or as a result of work conditions may be considered as eligible for benefits.
There are a wide range of conditions that may be covered by workers’ compensation, from chronic back pain to mesothelioma to traumatic brain injuries.
If, however, negligence did contribute to an accident, it may be possible to file a negligence claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. While a lawsuit may not be filed against an employer, injured workers can pursue additional claims against third parties who also contributed to an accident or injury. This might include the manufacturer of a defective product or the owner of an unsafe property.
Making assumptions about potential sources of compensation for a workplace injury can be a costly mistake that many people make, and it can make life very difficult for an injured worker and his or her family. Taking the time to fully explore the options for financial support with an attorney can prove to be a wise investment for any person affected by an on-the-job illness or injury.