Employees injured in a workplace-related accident or exposed to toxic chemicals/materials on the job might find it impossible to go back to work.
Fortunately, the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission mandates that every employer throughout the state provide insurance coverage for every employee through the Workers Compensation program.
Unfortunately, receiving workers, benefits are often not sufficient to recoup all damages for a severe injury requiring extensive medical care. Fortunately, additional compensation might be available to the injured employee through a third-party personal injury claim against an entity that is not their direct employer.
Are you the victim of a workplace-related accident that left you with injuries and damages?
The Chicago, IL personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC have years of experience helping injured employees maximize their compensation.
Our Illinois legal team understands how to ensure you get the best outcome when getting Workers Comp benefits and third-party liability personal injury compensation. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago third-party claims lawyer.
The Benefits of Third-Party Claims
Injured workers have significant advantages to filing a third-party claim to get additional benefits over their Workers Comp payments. Some useful differences between a Worker’s Compensation claim in a third-party lawsuit.
Your employer is required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical treatment, therapy/rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages due to your injury. Alternatively, a personal injury lawsuit filed against a third party could pay you additional damages.
With a few exceptions, the Illinois Workers Compensation Act protects the employer from facing a civil lawsuit filed by the injured employee citing non-tangible damages, including pain and suffering.
Alternatively, the injured employee can file a third-party liability claim against anyone other than their employer that might have been involved in the accident or exposure that led to their job-related injuries.
Illinois Workers Compensation Law protects the employee, ensuring they receive benefits no matter who was at fault for causing the injury at work. Successfully resolving a third-party claim requires that the victim, or their attorney, prove how another party was responsible for causing damages.
Worker’s Compensation benefits are often denied when the employee suffered harm while traveling to and from their job. However, the employee can file a third-party liability lawsuit against another party determined to be responsible for causing a motor vehicle accident.
Injured workers who are unsuccessful at receiving workers’ compensation benefits can still file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against another, citing liability in causing their harm.
Common Third-Party Claims
Construction site accidents often involve workers’ compensation benefits where the injured employee files an additional third-party liability claim against others responsible for causing their injuries.
In these cases, multiple individuals might be named as defendants, including general contractors, subcontractors, electricians, plumbers, roofers, architects, lumbar delivery companies, concrete companies, and others working independently on the site.
For example, if a construction worker fell from a collapsing scaffold, breaking bones, they may file a construction accident lawsuit against the scaffolding company for their negligence. Another worker run over by a cement truck backing up could sue the concrete company and driver for their negligent behavior.
Other parties that might be named as a defendant in a third-party liability claim could include:
- The other vehicle driver was at fault for causing the accident
- Non-employer-related site supervisors or project managers
- Rental companies
- Contractors and vendors
- Other companies in charge of maintaining or delivering equipment
- Construction site property owners
The funds received in a third-party claim usually provide sufficient funds to pay for all of the injured worker’s damages, including:
- Ambulance transport costs
- Hospitalization expenses
- Medical care, including the cost of treatment, medication, and multiple surgeries
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Follow-up doctor appointments
- Specialized care from other medical professionals
- The cost of chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer treatments
- Emotional distress and mental anxiety
- Inconvenience and loss of time
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of spousal services
- Other economic losses
A workers’ compensation claim ensures that the injured employee is covered for past, current, and future medical expenses. However, it does not provide funding for all the expenses of taking time off from work during the healing process.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation claim seeking compensation for an injury does not require proving who caused the accident that led to the employee’s damages. Alternatively, every injured employee filing a third-party claim carries the burden of establishing responsibility for causing their damages.
To prove who is at fault, the victim, or their attorney, must establish how another business, entity, or individual’s negligence resulted in the accident by proving:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care for their safety,
- The defendant breached that duty to negligence or intention,
- The plaintiff suffered injuries due to the breach of duty
- The plaintiff’s injuries are real and documented
The injured plaintiff might establish the defendants’ negligence based on their defective product or malfunctioning equipment. In these instances, the plaintiff (injured worker) may file a strict liability claim that only requires establishing that the defect or malfunction existed, leading to the injury.
The court might hold a proceeding determining every party’s percentage of liability when multiple parties are involved in the civil lawsuit. The injured worker’s employer might be held partially responsible, and another party might be held at fault for the remainder.
Third-Party Claim FAQs
Is Workers Compensation a Third-Party Payer?
A workers’ compensation claim limits the number of benefits an injured worker could receive based on state law. Typically, the injured employee receives benefits to cover medical expenses and lost earnings.
Alternatively, a third-party payer involves filing a separate personal injury lawsuit against parties other than the employer at fault for causing at least a portion of the accident. These funds pay for all of the injured employee’s damages, including medical expenses, lost earnings, lost future pay, mental anguish, emotional distress, pain, and suffering.
In egregious cases, the court may order the defendant (third party) to pay the plaintiff (injured employee) punitive damages.
How Does a Third-Party Lawsuit Work?
A third-party lawsuit works precisely like a personal injury compensation claim. The plaintiff (injured worker) must prove the third party’s intentions, oversight, actions, or omissions were responsible for causing damages.
Once the paperwork is filed, an attorney working on behalf of the plaintiff can talk to the defendant’s insurance company to start the negotiation process of resolving the injury case through settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the attorney can take the case to trial and present evidence in front of a judge and jury.
How do I Make a Third-Party Insurance Claim?
Injured employees that pursue a third-party claim find it complicated and time-consuming. You, or your attorney, will need to submit all the necessary paperwork in the appropriate county courthouse to initiate a claim against another for causing the harm.
Your injury lawyer can negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company to reach an agreed settlement based on your damages, including economic (medical bills, hospitalization costs, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain, mental anguish, and suffering).
How Long Does a Third-Party Lawsuit Take?
Typically, minimal compensation personal injury lawsuits can take six months or longer to settle from the date of filing. More complex cases could take two or three years to settle or longer.
If a negotiated agreement does not result in a settlement, the attorney will need to take the case to trial. Getting a trial date to present evidence in front of a judge and jury can take months if not years.
Hiring a Worker’s Compensation Third-Party Attorney for Maximum Compensation
Do you suspect outside parties are responsible for causing your Illinois work-related accident? Is your current workers’ compensation benefits insufficient to cover all of your expenses and damages?
The Chicago, IL third-party claims attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help. Let us review the merits of your case to determine if others are also at fault for causing your injuries. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation.
Our Illinois legal team accepts Worker’s Compensation and civil cases through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement ensures you do not pay any fees until after we have successfully resolved your case.
All paperwork must be filed in the appropriate Illinois county courthouse before the statute of limitations expires.
All information you share concerning your case with our law office remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.