I had a slip and fall accident at work and was injured. I’m about to settle the workers compensation claim with a lump sum settlement. I was told I can’t file a personal injury claim as well with the employer. Also, I have to pay the medical bills I incurred out of the lump sum payment.
In Illinois law, is it possible to file a claim for workers compensation and file personal injury claim for the same injuries? Thanks.
Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.
You pose an excellent question. In the State of Illinois, as in almost every state we cover, there exists a prohibition against an employee suing an employer before, during, or after a Workmans Compensation injury.
There is an exception though. We will explain and then use an example to illustrate the point…
If while working for an employer who is required to carry Workmans Compensation insurance you are injured on the job, and let’s say the cause of your injury was a malfunctioning piece of equipment, you may have a right to collect your Workmans Compensation insurance benefits and still be able to file suit; not against the employer, but against the manufacturer of the piece of equipment which failed (and as a result of its failure you were injured).
Let’s explain by using an example…
You are working on a construction site. You are following all the rules and regulations, wearing your hard hat, special steel towed boots and other required safety equipment.
While the cement truck was putting down concrete it suddenly jerked and a piece of the truck flew off and hit you in the face. It was later determined the truck had a history of jerking and throwing off pieces of dangerously hot metal. Your face was scarred by the hot metal.
After the injury you received Workmans Compensations insurance and finally a lump sum settlement. You sought the advice of an attorney and she advised you of your right to sue the truck owner and operator. She was correct. You have a legal right to file suit against a 3rd party who causes injury. In this case, the third party was the truck owner and operator.
So you CAN file a personal injury claim after settling a Workmans Compensation claim, but it will not be against your employer; instead it will be against a third party.
Learn more here: Employers' Liability for Work Injuries
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
Best of luck with your claim,
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