You suffer a severe injury at work. Your employer was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. You should be able to sue your employer for all they’re worth, right? Well, that’s not the case if your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance.
In Illinois, the law requires that most employers have workers’ comp insurance. This means that if you are injured on the job, your recovery is limited to the benefits provided by the workers’ compensation system. You cannot sue your employer for any additional damages.
A no-fault system
On the surface, the inability to sue your employer may seem like a gross injustice. However, it’s important to keep in mind the purpose of the workers’ compensation system. Both workers and employers receive some degree of protection from the system.
For example, what if you suffered injuries in an accident that was mostly your fault? A distraction caused you to lose focus, resulting in an injury. You overlooked some safety procedures which led to an accident. Imagine your employer saying, “Well, it’s your fault, so good luck!”.
Workers’ compensation removes the blame from workplace accidents. Obviously, this a two-way street. You should still receive coverage if your actions primarily led to your accident. The flip side is your employer is largely free from additional liability if they are mostly to blame.
What happens if a party other than my employer was involved?
If your accident involved a party other than your employer, such as the project manager on a construction site, or the manufacturer of a defective tool or piece of machinery, you might be able to pursue additional damages through a third-party liability lawsuit. It would be best if you discussed your case with a skilled professional who can help you understand all of your available options.