Workers’ compensation insurance protection is a no-fault program intended to provide immediate benefits for workers injured on the job. Coverage specifically allows for medical treatment and wage replacement when the injury lasts more than seven consecutive days. This is a federal standard that is required of employers in Illinois. However, the no-fault limitation only applies when an employer has not exhibited workplace negligence with respect to work conditions or company policy that could have led to the injury. When the employer has obviously been negligent with respect to a reasonable duty of care for employees, then a third-party lawsuit can indeed be filed in addition to eligibility for workers’ comp benefits.
Work environment negligence
Negligence in the workplace begins with maintaining safe conditions for workers along with compliance to all OSHA standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has offices in all states, and the organization sets the rules and regulations for employee safety. When employer non-compliance leads to a workplace injury, the injured worker may bring a third-party liability case against the employer.
Extenuating circumstances and employer liability
There can also be extenuating circumstances that result in third-party liability claims even when they are not necessarily work-related legal matters. Employers are often found liable when one employee is attacked by another associate, especially when the assailant is management personnel. Other claims can also stem from defamation, fraud and invasion of privacy.
Product liability claims are common and often result from using defective work equipment or when an employer is forcing employees to use equipment that they know is not suited for the job. These injuries could actually be the basis for multiple negligence claims against both the manufacturer and the employer in some situations.
Workplace injuries in Illinois could result in additional legal action when very serious injuries occur. The potential for general damages regarding ongoing life issues can be the difference between being properly compensated or only being allowed medical treatment and lost wages for a specified amount of time.