Workers’ Compensation will provide financial compensation to employees who suffer work-related injuries or diseases. If an injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, then, in addition to Workers’ Compensation, you may also be eligible to file a third-party liability claim.
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Every year, the State of Illinois experiences thousands of Workers’ Compensation claims. If you have been injured in a Chicago work accident, it is important to understand that Workers’ Compensation benefits may not provide all the compensation to which you may be entitled. Workers’ Compensation may provide the following:
- Medical care for your injuries;
- 70% of your weekly wages; and
- Limited compensation for your injuries.
It is also important to understand that by receiving these benefits, you will have given up your right to file a lawsuit against your employer or co-workers if their negligence contributed to your accident and injuries.
Third-Party Liability Lawsuits
The good news is that you don’t give up your rights to file a lawsuit against someone other than your employer or co-worker whose negligence may have resulted in your injuries. In this situation, you can pursue both Workers’ Compensation benefits and liability benefits. This is known as a third-party liability lawsuit and a Chicago injury lawyer can assist you with the process.
A third-party liability lawsuit will enable you to recover damages, which can include:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Past and future wages;
- Past and future pain and suffering;
- Disfigurement; and
- Emotional distress.
Of course, pursuing both an Illinois Workers’ Compensation claim and third-party liability claim can be a very complicated process. In order to successfully win your cases, you should seek the help of an experienced Chicago injury lawyer who will fight for your rights and work in your best interest.
What Constitutes a Third-Party Liability Lawsuit?
To file a third-party liability lawsuit, it must be shown that someone other than your employer or co-worker was responsible for your work-related injuries. If you can demonstrate that a third-party’s negligence led to your injuries in a Chicago work accident, then you may be able to receive compensation.
It’s important to understand what is meant by “negligence.” Negligence is when a person fails to act in a reasonable and careful way that would prevent you from becoming injured.
Compensatory and Punitive Damages
There is a difference between compensatory and punitive damages in a third-party liability case. Compensatory damages are to compensate you for pain and suffering that are a result of your injuries. Punitive damages are to punish the responsible party and to keep an incident like yours from happening again. For instance, a drunk driver would likely have to pay punitive damages.
Punitive damages can be more difficult to prove as it must be shown that the person’s conduct was particularly egregious. In fact, most third-party liability claims don’t involve punitive damages but will involve compensatory damages.
Similarities in Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Third-Party Damages
There are some similarities in the benefits you could receive for Workers’ Compensation and damages recovered in a third-party lawsuit. In both, you can receive compensation for medical expenses. Also, the compensation you receive in Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits-a Workers’ Compensation benefit-is similar to the lost wages you can be compensated for in a third-party liability lawsuit.
However, an important difference is that with TTD benefits, you only receive 70% of your weekly wage, while in a liability lawsuit you can claim 100% of your lost wages.
Since there can be an overlap in available compensation, this complicates the process, which is why a Chicago injury lawyer should assist you.
Hiring a Chicago Injury Lawyer
During this time, recovering from your injuries should be your main focus, not dealing with insurance adjusters and escalating medical bills. Retaining the legal services of a Chicago injury lawyer can help you focus on getting better while your attorney deals with the insurance companies on your behalf.
The Chicago personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. will help you monitor your medical expenses and work toward a settlement to cover all of the treatments you need to get your life back on track. Contact us today for a free case evaluation – (312) 263-1080.