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Can I Sue My Employer If I Am Hurt While Working?

Construction Workers Sitting Concrete BeamYour employer might be liable for your injuries if you get injured at work. If they are negligent or otherwise responsible for causing your injury, this is the case.

Unfortunately, many employees do not know whether their employer is liable for their injuries and what steps to take next. However, no laws require employers to provide workers with information about these issues.

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience helping clients who have been injured on the job get compensation from their employers and third parties who caused them harm while working.

Our workers' compensation attorneys can help you through each process by providing expert legal advice and representation when necessary.

Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys! Your experienced lawyer will keep any sensitive or confidential information private through an attorney-client relationship.

Workers Compensation Claim

"Illinois has the highest number of reported workplace injuries and occupational illnesses in the United States." (

On the first day of work at a new job, workers must complete an "Employee Rights & Obligations" handbook.

According to the handbook, "If you are injured during employment, you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits." In addition, the employee must fill out an Incident Report Form in the event of an injury or fatality (

Once a worker has filed for workers' compensation, there are three possible outcomes:

  • The worker may be eligible for reimbursement for medical expenses only
  • They may be entitled to temporary benefits while they are unable to go back to work as a result of their injury
  • They may be entitled to permanent benefits if the doctor can determine a lasting effect on the worker's health and ability to work (

Who is Covered Under Workers Compensation

Workers' compensation benefits are primarily available to workers who suffer an injury or disease related to their employment.

An employer's workers' compensation insurance pays for medical care and some wage replacement benefits if the employee cannot work because of an on-the-job injury.

Workers' compensation insurance covers most employees in Illinois.

Employees in "non-hazardous" jobs, such as white-collar workers, also qualify for workers comp. However, the workers' comp system does not cover volunteer workers, elected officials, and federal employees.

Employees of small businesses do not need to buy workers' comp insurance. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act covers them automatically.

State law requires employers with five or more employees to purchase and maintain workers' compensation insurance.

Smaller employers can purchase an exemption from their state-mandated coverage. Still, most end up buying workers' comp insurance because it's less expensive to buy insurance than to pay for injuries out of their own pockets.

There are a few important exceptions to workers' compensation coverage for workers

Workers' compensation insurance is intended to cover employees hurt or disabled on the job. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule where employees are not required to file a claim with the workers' compensation board for injuries that occur on their jobs. For example,

  • If you are injured because you are doing not legitimate work, you do not need to file a workers' compensation claim
  • Another example would be being injured while committing a crime, such as robbing a bank or stealing from your employer

The workers' compensation system does not bar injured workers from filing a personal injury lawsuit against third parties.

The shortcomings of the workers' compensation system have been well documented, and many injured workers have turned to the courts for help. Some workers' compensation judges have been very outspoken about the system's inadequacies.

Without workers' compensation insurance, an American worker would have no legal recourse if injured because of a hazardous work environment.

However, workers' compensation does not always prevent workers from filing a claim against their employer or co-worker. In addition, some circumstances allow an injured worker to file personal injury claims outside the workers' compensation system.

Our law firm can take legal action on your behalf if you have suffered a workplace injury in Illinois. We promise that any confidential information will be kept private through an attorney-client relationship.

Workers Compensation Act Mandating Benefits

The Workers' Compensation Act was passed in the 1910s, mandating that employers provide insurance policies for injured employees. However, employers were only required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance if they had two or more employees.

To claim workers' compensation benefits, an employee must currently work for an employer when the work-related injury occurs. Also, to qualify for workers comp benefits, a worker must prove that the injury resulted from an accident and happened while working.

The term "accident" is defined as "an unexpected, unusual, and extraordinary event." There are three types of benefits available to workers in Illinois. These include:

  • Medical treatment
  • Temporary disability compensation
  • Permanent total disability

The social security disability insurance program provides financial assistance to workers who cannot continue working because of injury or illness.

Sue Your Employer in Illinois for Additional Compensation

Every person in Illinois who suffers a personal injury or occupational disease in the workplace while employed has the right to file a claim against their employer.

Workers' compensation benefits are designed to provide injured workers with two things:

  • Payment for lost wages
  • Medical treatment

Illinois Workers' Compensation is known as the "exclusive remedy" law. Employees must use their worker's compensation benefits to resolve their claim before filing any other lawsuit against their employer.

Due to this rule, it is generally advised that injured employees only file a worker's compensation claim if the insurance company denies their claim for benefits.

Otherwise, injured employees can risk losing all of their rights to sue their employer by filing a worker's compensation claim.

Employers Must Carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance Coverage

The government benefits available for workers injured at work are Workers' Compensation Benefits. If you are injured, your employer must carry Worker's Compensation Insurance.

An injured worker can receive compensation from their employer and a workers' compensation insurance carrier. Workers can also sue employers for negligence if an injury results from an unsafe work environment or workplace.

The workers' compensation laws govern legal claims in workers' compensation benefits. The Illinois Rights in Compensation Act allows you to sue employers for work-related injury within the state of Illinois.

Some of the challenges you might encounter if you decide to sue your employer are:

  • Being able to prove that the injury was because of your place of employment. For example, if you were injured outside of work while performing a task related to your job duties, it is unlikely that you will sue your employer successfully.
  • If your injury is not work-related, you might sue the manufacturer for a defective product or a negligent driver.   In addition, you can sue your employer if you have been harmed because of an unsafe work environment.

Suppose you go to court and present your case. You are expected to provide sufficient evidence to prove that your employer was negligent or did not follow the required safety procedures.

If you sue your employer successfully, you can receive compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering, but you might have to leave your job.

When the Court Rules in Your Favor

You should sue your employer if it is likely that you will be fired for reporting the injury, if the injury is severe, or if you have a difficult time finding another job because of your injury.

If the court rules in your favor, the employer could be forced to pay for your medical expenses along with compensatory damages. Putting your job on the line is a big decision and should not be taken lightly.

If you have suffered a work injury in the state of Illinois and want to explore your options, call (888) 424-5757 to speak with our Chicago work accident experienced lawyer. We will provide you with a free consultation and take immediate action on your case.

Intentional Harm Resulting in a Workplace Injury

Workers at risk for intentional harm do not have the same protections as people with work injuries. Workers in specific fields, such as law enforcement and healthcare, are more likely to experience injury by an act of violence than workers in other fields.

Due to this fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created guidelines for protecting workers from intentional harm.

Intentional harm at work is a growing problem in the United States. While many assume that this type of injury is a rare event, an estimated 3 to 5 percent of all workers' compensation claims are for injuries that occur intentionally.

Bodily Injury from Physical Assault

The U.S. Department of Labor OSHA defines work-related "bodily injury" resulting from physical assaults, such as hitting and shoving, as Intentional Harm (IH).

You can sue your employer for intentional harm. In this case, you must prove that your employer deliberately acted with either malice or forethought.

They must also act directly against you, which means they didn't purposely injure a co-worker or another person. Instead, the employer must have intended to cause you harm or knew that their actions would directly cause your injury.

Intentional Harm vs. Negligence

An intentional act must be done on purpose, not to do something or fail to do something. For example, if an employer fails to supply specific safety equipment, which leads you to your injury, it would be considered negligent.

Suppose an injury occurs due to willful and wanton behavior. It would be considered an intentional act. Your employer could be found guilty of willful and wanton conduct if they know that activity could lead to injury or death, but they perform the activity anyway.

If you sue your employer for work-related injuries caused by negligent or intentional acts, you should hire an experienced attorney.

Insurance Company for the Employer

An injured party could file claims for workers' compensation benefits. However, the employer's insurance company could deny that claim because the injured party was not an employee when the harm occurred.

By law, the determination of who was or wasn't an employee can be made only by the state. Therefore, the court must investigate to determine whether the injury falls under the jurisdiction of state workers' compensation laws.

All the victims want is to exercise their legal rights to obtain insurance benefits when injured on the job.

If an insurance company proposes an offer that constitutes acceptance of the claim, the insurance adjuster should inform you of your right to sue. If you accept the offer, you must give up this right.

Worker’s Comp Could Cover All Expenses and Losses

Workers' compensation is generally your best bet if you are injured on the job. It is because if you are hurt, your employer's insurance company will pay out benefits and cover all of your medical expenses.

You can count on our super lawyers for legal advice if you or a loved one is hurt on the job. We fight for work injury victims and those who have suffered due to medical malpractice.

Our law firm can take legal action against your employer or insurance company on a contingency fee basis. Our firm does not receive money from you unless we collect money for you in this arrangement.

Employer's Negligence in Workplace Injuries

Employer's negligence occurs when an employer fails to protect their workers from preventable dangers in the workplace.

Generally speaking, gross negligence of a worker's employer may result in a lawsuit. However, there are times when even an injury or death resulting from an accident is not necessarily the employer's responsibility.

The Statute of Limitations

The workers' comp timeframe for filing a claim in Illinois is two years. During this time, one cannot sue their employer for negligence. However, you can always sue your employer if they negligently or intentionally harmed you as long as the statute of limitations has not expired based on your case.

Suppose you sue for negligent harm. You must prove that the four elements of tort law, including:

  • Your employer owed you a duty of care
  • They breached their duty
  • Their breach directly led to your injuries
  • Your injuries are provable in court

Our attorneys at the law offices of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can sue your employer for:

Do you have a loved one killed in an accident while working? We've helped many clients sue their employers for damages.

We commit to keeping any sensitive or confidential information secure via an attorney-client relationship.

Workplace Injuries

An injured person's legal rights in Illinois arise from the Worker Compensation Act. The workers' comp system covers a work-related injury or occupational disease unless it results from intentional acts unrelated to the workplace.

Our law offices offer legal services to workers that have been injured on the job. These injuries can include:

  • Slips and falls
  • Being bitten by an animal
  • Being involved in a car crash while traveling to or from work

An injured employee can receive compensation for their injuries via the workers' comp system.

The work-related injuries covered by workers' compensation are not the same as those that could lead to litigation against an employer.

Rather than personal injury protection, workers' compensation is the primary form of insurance for work-related injuries. Therefore, if a worker is injured and the employer has workers' compensation insurance, they are usually entitled to benefits.

Under workers comp, medical bills are paid for regardless of who was at fault. An attorney is the best person to file a lawsuit against your employer because of their knowledge in legal cases. However, you are not required to use legal representation to sue your employer.

Punitive Damages

A federal appellate panel has ruled that the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act does not preempt punitive damages claims brought against employers by injured workers.

Punitive damages are a form of monetary compensation given in civil cases to plaintiffs who have suffered harm from the acts of another party by punishing the responsible party due to their egregious behavior.

A Court Ruling Reversal

The appellate decision reversed a 2013 ruling by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, who held that punitive damages under the Illinois Act are pre-empted by federal law. In a 3-0 decision, the appellate panel ruled that punitive damages claims under the Illinois Act are not pre-empted by federal law.

The decision reinstated a 2003 lawsuit by three American Isuzu Motors Inc employees. The suit alleged that they were injured when a co-worker drove a company delivery truck into them while installing a car cover.

In a civil lawsuit, the civil standard of proof is typically preponderance of the evidence, which means that one side has to prove their version of events by a civil lawsuit.

The plaintiff is the party who initiates civil proceedings or files a civil lawsuit against another party. This civil defendant may be an individual, a company, an association, or an entity. The civil plaintiff must prove his case by a civil lawsuit.

File a Lawsuit for a Workplace Injury

You can file a lawsuit in a civil court against your employer if you are injured at work or become sick because of the conditions of your employment.

  • You can file a workers' compensation claim with the state for these injuries, but you can also sue your employer.
  • An injured employee can seek compensation from their employer in a civil lawsuit.
  • An injured worker could file a lawsuit for a work-related injury if the employer maintained poor safety controls.
  • Third-party liability in personal injury claims is extremely rare but can be an important way to obtain compensation for a work-related injury.
  • Your employer has to provide workers comp coverage by law if you are hurt while working for them. Injured workers should engage a workers' comp lawyer to file a lawsuit on their behalf.

With proper representation, injured employees can collect workers' compensation benefits to cover costs for their injury. In a workers' compensation claim, lost wages, medical benefits, and a settlement for pain and suffering are the three main types of monetary claims.

The requirements of filing a workers' compensation claim are somewhat different from filing personal injury lawsuits.

Many people injured at work assume that they can file both claims, especially if they fell or had an accident resulting in their injuries caused by a co-worker or by an unsafe condition that the employer should have known.

Number of Personal Injury Cases Rising

In Illinois, personal injury lawsuits against employers are rising, and some small businesses say it's putting their companies at risk.

The general rule in Illinois is that you cannot sue your employer for a work-related injury or illness, regardless of who was at fault. This rule applies to both employees and independent contractors.

However, there are some exceptions to the general rule:

  • If you are an employee or worker, your employer is required to secure payment of compensation benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act. If your employer is not following these rules, you can file a claim with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission.
  • Where the employer is self-insured, you can also sue your employer for damages in circuit court if your injury resulted from the employer's willful and wanton conduct.

Suppose your injury resulted from the negligence of a co-worker or another individual who was not your employer, you could file a claim with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. However, if your co-worker was acting within the scope of their employment, you may not be able to file a claim. The Commission will make that decision.

Some employees are usually in a dilemma whether to file a lawsuit against their employers, especially if they were hurt on the job and their injury caused them not to be able to work. They usually think that filing a lawsuit would be an obstacle to their future employment.

Employment is usually affected not only by the injury but by other factors such as worker's compensation benefits and the employees' compensation policies of a company.

If you're unsure about filing a lawsuit, our law offices can work with you to sue your employer.

A Civil Court in Workers Compensation Benefits

The civil court mandate extends to the injured worker wanting to sue his employer for damages. Under the workman's compensation system, an employee cannot bring about a lawsuit against his employer for injuries received on the job.

The judicial system has long-acknowledged that the workman's compensation system is for financial aid to employees injured on the job.

In workers' compensation cases, the civil court is the "third party" court because the judge only has to decide who pays for your injury—the employer or the insurance company.

Mandatory Safety Measures and Enforcement at Workplaces

In a bid to curb poor safety controls and unsafe practices, most states have enacted legislation requiring employers to carry workers' compensation insurance. This type of insurance pays for medical expenses and lost wages.

While this provides some safeguards, there are still many cases where employers violate safety laws.

Some of the most common types of violations include:

  • Employers failing to provide protections for employees that are exposed to dangerous chemicals
  • Failing to provide safety training and protective gear, such as hard hats or goggles
  • Allowing objects that may cause injuries to clutter the floor that employees may trip over them
  • Not providing adequate safety training on equipment, dangerous chemicals, or other workplace hazards
  • Failing to provide a clean and safe place for employees to eat and rest

Workers who believe that hazardous work conditions endanger them or their fellow employees can contact the OSHA about the violation. OSHA investigates these claims and orders employers to lessen the hazard or face fines.

Frequently, workers are injured because they do not follow safety rules established by their employer. Workers are responsible for obeying these rules, but they are not aware of them in some cases.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney to Sue an Employer for Work-related Injuries

Did your injury occur on the job? It can be hard to know where to turn. You don't want to make things worse by suing your employer, but at the same time, you want compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.

We all know that getting injured while working is a nightmare for both workers and employers. But, unfortunately, workers get hurt, and employers have to deal with higher insurance premiums and other costs associated with work injuries.

The solution is simple - hire workers' compensation attorneys specializing in this area of law for a free evaluation. They can help guide you through the legal process from start to finish.

An experienced personal injury attorney will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, handle all paperwork concerning work-related injuries, and file necessary claims. It makes everything easier for you as you just need financial help after being injured at work.

Call our law office today toll-free at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation.

Our experienced attorney will keep all sensitive or confidential information private through an attorney-client relationship.


Client Reviews
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa