Virtually every trucking company will do a review following a workplace accident to determine whether the employee involved was at fault for the accident.
That happened with yours … and the company says that you are at fault for the accident. Now what?
The good piece of news for you is that the company’s finding on fault does not affect your eligibility for worker’s compensation benefits. You are still entitled to get two-thirds of your average weekly wage while you are off work, still entitled to get your medical paid, still entitled to get a settlement for permanency associated with the injury.
Worker’s comp is a no-fault system, which means that the issue of fault is irrelevant for whether you can get benefits. The bad news is that this won’t keep the company from disciplining you for the accident, including firing you if the company believes that it is warranted.
The law in Illinois is that you can be fired for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all – unless the firing violates public policy. One of the clear areas where firing a worker is considered to be a violation of public policy is when the worker is being fired for asserting his rights to worker’s compensation benefits.
Of course, the “why” you are being disciplined is always open to debate, unless someone is dumb enough to tell you in front of a crowd of witnesses that is why you are being fired.
For companies, firing someone who is asking a worker’s comp claim is a risky venture, and one of the ways you may be able to prevent a dismissal is by making a worker’s comp claim – doing that will cause the company to get lawyers involved who will likely counsel the company to be cautious about doing that. Of course, there are no guarantees how things will play out, as the law in Illinois strongly favors employers.
If you have a current worker’s compensation issue which you need help on, please feel free to reach out to our office by calling us at 312-263-1080 to discuss your issues and what options you have. There is no obligation to hire our law firm, and there is no charge for the call.
I hope this has been helpful, and if you know anyone who can benefit from this kind of information, please feel free to share this information.
We are here to help truck drivers after an on-the-job accident. Knowledge is power, and the first step in protecting your rights is to know what they are.