Can I receive workers’ compensation benefits if the accident was the fault of someone other than my employer?
If you’ve been injured while working and your injury was due to the negligence of someone or some entity other than your employer you would have both a workers’ compensation case and what is called a “third-party action.”
For example, we previously represented a number of ramp agents at the airport. They take the bags on and off of the airplane. Obviously an airport tarmac is an extremely busy and dangerous work environment. Our office has handled a number of cases where these ramp agents are injured by being struck by a vehicle driven by someone who works for a different company.
This injured person would have a workers’ compensation case because they were injured while working but since the injury was caused by the negligence of an employee working for a separate company they would also have a valid third party action against the third-party who caused the injury.
We strive to always maximize any potential recovery with our clients’ cases and look at any source of recovery. A third-party case might be one where an employee is entitled to much more money than they’d be able to receive in a workers’ compensation case or vice versa. If you’re involved in a car accident while working, we will want to see whether people or entities other than your employer contributed to your injuries because your recovery against a third-party could potentially be greater than what you would only recovery against your employer in a workers’ compensation case.
One advantage of Brian J. McManus & Associates is that we handle both workers’ compensation cases and third-party cases. Many law firms handle one or the other. Our firm has the capability to handle both cases and get the maximum recovery for you.
It is noteworthy that you’re not necessarily entitled to a double recovery wherein you would get a full recovery from workers’ compensation case in addition to a full recovery from your third-party case. The workers’ compensation insurer would technically have a lien on any amount that you receive from the third-party action. With a skilled and experienced lawyer, you’ll be in a strong position to negotiate with the workers’ compensation carrier as well as with the third-party carrier to maximize your total recovery.
Damages in third-party actions
Workers’ compensation recoveries have certain limits in what an injured person can recovery. Typically a settlement or Arbitration award will encompass what permanent disability an injured employee sustained as a result of the accident. In third-party actions, you may be entitled to additional compensation like pain and suffering damages. Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, there is no recovery for pain and suffering.
This is why it’s important to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side – not just to get all of the benefits you are entitled to, but also to look for any potential defendants for a possible third-party claim. A less experienced attorney may take it simply as a workers’ compensation case, not look for the liability of other potential defendants and allow the statute of limitations to run thus foreclosing any potential third-party action.