When Workers’ Compensation is Not Enough

b2ap3_thumbnail_injured-worker.jpgIf you have been injured in the course of doing your job, filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits may seem like your only option for covering your injuries. In many cases, this may be true and employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage in the event of a workplace injury. However, there may be situations in which workers’ compensation is not available, and others in which the payable benefits are insufficient to meet your needs. Such cases may require you to file a third-party workplace injury claim against any potentially liable party.

Off-Site Injuries and Other Reasons for Third-Party Claims

Employees who spend good part of their workday away from their employer’s office, store, or facility are often at the mercy of many other companies and individuals. A truck driver for a soft-drink company, for example, is employed by the beverage distributor to deliver product to grocery stores and other retail outlets. One day, as he is unloading his delivery at the loading dock of a grocery store, the delivery driver from a dairy company crashes into him with a loaded pallet of milk, breaking the soft-drink company driver’s leg in two places. While the injured driver may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim against his own employer since the injury occurred on the job, his injuries were more directly caused by the actions of the dairy driver and a third-party lawsuit is likely to be appropriate.

Consider a slightly different scenario. The soft-drink delivery driver is pulling a pallet of product through the backroom. The pallet, however, was loaded precariously at the distribution facility and several cases of soda fall from the moving pallet, striking and injuring an employee of the grocery store. As far the grocery store employee is concerned, the injury occurred on-site, but was caused by the actions or negligence of a third party.

In addition to examples such as these, other types of personal injury lawsuits may be appropriate in a third-party action. Defective products, premises liability, auto accidents, and others can all be basis for a third-party claim.

Additional Compensation Available

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission governs the application of workers’ compensation benefits in the state. Under the Commission’s guidelines, an injured worker may be entitled to collect:

  • Recovery for medical expenses and hospital care;
  • A percentage of lost wages;
  • Permanent partial or total disability;
  • Training for a new job if necessary; and
  • Limited death benefits.

A third-party personal injury lawsuit, however, may offer a number of additional collectable damages, including full restitution of lost wages, decreased earning capacity, scarring or disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and in the most extreme cases, even wrongful death.

If you have been injured at work, an experienced personal injury attorney in DuPage County can help you understand your available options. Contact the office of Martoccio & Martoccio today to schedule your free consultation with one of our highly-trained legal professionals. We will work with you in protecting your rights, and offer our insight on how to best proceed with your case.

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