Workers’ compensation law provides important benefits for workers who are injured on the job. However, as discussed in part one of this article, receiving such benefits comes at a price. In exchange, for receiving workers’ compensation insurance coverage, employees are not typically allowed to file a civil suit against their employer for their injuries. This limitation can be frustrating for employees and their families whose benefits fail to make up for what they have lost as a result of an injury. It also means that employers are too often financially protected even when clear negligence has caused pain and suffering for their employees.
However, occasionally exemptions exist even under Illinois workers’ compensation law. First, Illinois, like many states, allows that certain actions by employers may remove their protection against civil lawsuits by injured employees. This includes:
*Employers who fail to provide required workers’ compensation insurance. An eligible injured employee may be allowed in this case to pursue damages in court for his or her injury, pain and suffering.
*Employers who intentionally cause harm to their employee. While negligence by an employer is not typically something for which an injured worker can sue, any action done with the purposeful intent to hurt an employee is not protected under workers’ compensation law. So if, for example, an employee is attacked by their employer, they may be eligible to file a civil suit against that employer.
Additionally, how a worker is classified may change his or her eligibility to sue for any on-the-job injuries. For example, if by Illinois workers’ compensation law you are not considered an employee of a company, you are not bound against filing civil suit against the person utilizing your services. This is because your “employer” is also not required to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits. However, the definition for what constitutes an employee and what does not is often unclear. While independent contractors, for instance, are technically not considered employees, the line that separates them from regular employees is often so blurred and misused that the courts will reclassify a worker, thereby changing their rights. Also, another example involves underage minors who are working illegally. Illinois law allows such a person the choice to either file for workers’ compensation benefits or to waive their rights and instead sue for damages.
When it comes to pursuing injury litigation against an employer, many grey areas exist. As with filing for workers’ compensation benefits, the exceptions, exemptions and fine lines which abound in this area are numerous and blurred. Few things highlight the importance of consulting a Chicago workers compensation attorney more than this topic. At the Law Offices of Millon and Peskin, we recognize that no case is “cut and dry”. What may initially seem like a simple workers’ compensation case may actually be a far more complicated story. Often, we find our clients have not pursued the full benefits for which they are eligible. And sometimes we find that their case extends beyond the traditional parameters of workers’ compensation law. Too often injured workers fail to receive the full consideration their case demands, and as a result lose out on vital benefits. At Millon and Peskin, we utilize our years of legal experience to ensure our clients cases are treated with the attention to detail they deserve.
About the Author: Brooke Haley is a Marketing Associate at Millon & Peskin, Chicago workers compensation lawyers that practice in the areas of Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury. Millon & Peskin is a General Civil Litigation Practice with the goal of representing the interests of injured workers, throughout all applicable Courts in the State of Illinois. For more information about Illinois workers compensation attorney,please visit www.millonpeskin.com.