Workers' Compensation vs. Third Party Claims in IL

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Illinois 

According to the workers’ compensation law in Illinois, all injuries—including exacerbated pre-existing conditions and work-related injuries suffered outside of the workplace—caused during the scope of an employee’s job duties are covered by workers’ compensation benefits. 

Workers’ compensation in Illinois provides the following benefits to injured employees: 

  • Medical and rehabilitative expenses 

  • Temporary total disability benefits equal to two-thirds of the workers’ average gross weekly wage, if the employee cannot work during recovery 

  • Temporary partial permanent disability benefits equal to two-thirds of the difference between the average amount the employee would make before his/her injury and the net amount he/she earns while performing light-duty work during recovery 

  • Permanent total disability benefits, if the employee loses the use of a body part 

  • Job retraining 

All employers throughout the state are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. In turn, employers are protected from facing a civil lawsuit filed by the injured worker citing non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Furthermore, Illinois workers’ comp law protects the employee and ensures he/she will receive benefits – regardless of who was liable for causing the work-related injury. 

What are Third-Party Claims? 

If an employee suffers an injury caused by anyone other than his/her employer or co-workers, he/she can file a third-party liability claim against the at-fault party. Common third parties involved in such lawsuits include general contractors, subcontractors, architects, construction site property owners, rental companies, tool and equipment manufacturers, drivers on the road, etc. 

The following are common examples of third-party claims: 

  • Car accidents – An employee is injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver while working 

  • Premises liability – If an employee is injured by a hazard on the premises, the property owner can be held liable in a third-party claim. 

  • Defective products – If an employee suffers an injury caused by a defective or malfunctioning machine, piece of equipment, or other product, the manufacturer of the product can be held liable in a third-party claim. 

In order to succeed in a third-party claim, an injured worker must prove that the (1) third party had a duty of care, (2) the third party breached their duty of care, (3) the third party’s breach was the cause of the employee’s injury, (4) the employee suffered damages. 

Unlike workers’ compensation benefits, financial compensation from a third-party claim includes past and future medical expenses, all lost wages, and non-economic damages. 

In Illinois, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

Can You File for Workers’ Comp Benefits & a Third-Party Claim at the Same Time? 

Yes! Third-party and workers’ compensation claims are entirely separate. Therefore, an injured employee can maximize his/her compensation by obtaining both workers’ comp benefits and damages from a third-party claim. 

There are many attorneys who handle both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims, while others specialize in one of those practices. At McHargue & Jones, LLC, our legal team has nearly two decades of experience handling both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. 

If you have been injured in a workplace accident in Chicago, call (312) 739-0000 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation.