Is workers’ comp my only option after a construction accident?

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2020 | Construction Accidents |

When you contribute to the skyline of one of America’s largest cities, you often find yourself in dangerous situations. You may risk having an accident with large machinery or falling from great heights. These threats are why Illinois has workers’ compensation laws, ensuring you can receive compensation for a workplace injury.

However, workers’ comp has limits to how much it pays out. If your benefits don’t cover your medical bills and your cost of living, you may also be able to seek compensation through a third-party lawsuit. If faulty equipment or a defective product caused your accident, you could file a claim for compensation.

The benefits of workers’ comp

Workers’ comp can cover a great deal of your expenses after an accident. In Illinois, benefits can cover any medical bills related to your workplace injuries. If you can’t return to work, disability payments can supplement your lost wages. The insurance can also pay your family if a fatality occurs.

Payments aren’t a replacement for wages

However, workers’ comp has some limitations. The benefits aren’t a complete replacement for your paycheck. And Illinois limits how long temporary disability payments can last. If your injury prevents you from going back to work before this time is up, you may find yourself without a steady income.

You also can’t go after additional compensation from your employer. If your employer’s negligence leaves you unable to work for the rest of your life or causes you to die, you and your family waive your right to sue the company when you file for workers’ comp.

Filing against a liable third party

While you may expect to file a workers’ comp claim after an accident, you may have more options for compensation. If the accident happened due to the negligence of a third party, Illinois allows you to file a civil suit against them. As a construction worker, this could mean going after:

  • A contractor that didn’t ensure a safe working environment
  • A scaffolding or ladder company that sold defective equipment
  • The maker of malfunctioning power tools

A successful lawsuit could leave you with a higher amount. If you have permanent damage, this compensation can replace the income you would lose if you can’t return to your job. And in many cases, you can still collect on your workers’ comp benefits.

Proving negligence

Third-party lawsuits also have limitations. You must prove the liability of the company or person, showing that their actions had a direct impact on your injuries. If the accident occurred either because of your error or your employer’s error, you might not be able to win in court.

Don’t wait to report an injury

An accident on your construction site can leave you unsure of what to do. Your job requires you to be in good physical health. You may worry that reporting your injuries will leave you without the means to support you and your family.

However, as an employee of a company, you automatically have access to workers’ comp benefits. And with the many dangerous situations in construction, you could be able to seek further compensation against a third party. If you suffer an injury, make sure to report it right away.