Archive for the ‘Illinois law’ tag

The Difference Between Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation

August 19th, 2016 at 1:13 pm

personal injury, Chicago workplace injury lawyerWhat happens if you get injured on the job and it was your fault? You cannot receive damages because you would not win a lawsuit or be eligible for workers’ compensation, right? Wrong. Some injured workers confuse personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation, thinking that if they themselves were the cause of their injury, they are not entitled to anything. However, the truth is that you can rarely file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer because the modern system is set up to protect workers not through civil lawsuits, but through workers’ compensation. Additionally, fault is not generally relevant one way or the other when it comes to workers’ compensation.

If worker A was injured on the job because they simply made a mistake and if worker B became injured because their employer failed to provide a non-slippery working surface, the two workers would receive the same compensation for their injuries (assuming the injuries were identical in this hypothetical situation). If you were injured on the job, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

There are other differences between workers’ compensation and a personal injury lawsuit as well. Understanding these differences is important in determining how to seek the compensation you deserve.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

To successfully recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit:

  • Fault must be found with the party that is being sued;
  • Medical bills are covered, as are rehabilitation bills, property damage, missed wages, lost earning capacity, and permanent impairment; and
  • Pain and suffering are factored into the equation, as is loss of enjoyment of life.

Workers’ Compensation

A workers’ compensation claim, by contrast, has very different requirements:

  • Fault is not relevant. Either you or your employer could be negligent and it would not affect the amount of compensation you receive;
  • Medical bills are covered, as are vocational rehabilitation bills, weekly missed wages, and permanent impairment benefits if the injury will result in a permanent disability; and
  • Pain and suffering are not factored into the equation.

When You Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Your Employer or Another Party

While, in most cases, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit because of an accident that happened at work (this includes filing against a coworker), there are some exceptions to the rule. For one, if a maritime worker is injured on the job, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer under the Jones Act. Interstate railway workers can also file personal injury lawsuits against their employers under the Federal Employers Liability Act. If an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, an injured worker can file a lawsuit against them. Additionally, you may be able to file a personal injury or faulty products lawsuit against the negligent party:

  • If you were injured by a chemical or toxic substance injury you may be able to file a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the toxic product;
  • If you were injured by a defective product you may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit to the manufacturer; and
  • If your employer or co-worker intentionally caused the injury to occur, you will probably be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them, and they may face criminal punishment as well.

If you were injured on the job, contact the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio today at 630-574-2288. Reach out to us today for help.




The History of Workers’ Compensation and Who It Covers

July 8th, 2016 at 11:57 am

workers, Chicago workers compensation attorneyIf you were injured on the job, your employer may be legally bound to provide workers’ compensation to replace your wages while you recover from your injury or illness. Many workers have questions regarding their eligibility, to whom the compensation can be awarded, the amount of payment they should receive, and other questions. In some cases, employers may attempt to deny an injured worker the compensation that they deserve. If you have been denied coverage, it is in your best interests to retain a skilled attorney who can discuss the options available to you..

History of Workers’ Compensation

During the industrial revolution of the 1800s, workplace injuries and fatalities skyrocketed. Factories were famously hazardous and workers were offered little to no protection during their long, dangerous hours on the job. In order to be compensated for an injury, an employee would have to sue their employer for negligence, which was simply impossible for most workers, as they had neither the time, money, or other resources necessary to find success in a courtroom in this manner. Additionally, the court usually sided with the employer in these cases.

It was not until the early 1900s that state-specific legislation was proposed to protect the rights of workers to be compensated for their injuries and fatalities. Wisconsin was the first state to provide a permanent workers’ compensation plan back in 1911. With higher standards and employers being held accountable, fatalities and injuries have fallen dramatically in the century since. However, 13 people are killed on the job every day, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover and Who Receives Benefits?

The injured employee can receive compensation to cover their medical and rehabilitation costs, which are often the highest in a serious workplace accident. Workers’ compensation can also cover lost wages, which can be awarded to a fatally injured worker’s dependents as well. These death benefits may also cover a worker who was killed in the very unlikely event of a terrorist attack. Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance, which means that an employee will be eligible for compensation regardless of fault. However, workers’ compensation usually takes away the employee’s right to sue their employer for negligence in the event that the injury or illness was the fault of their employer. There are exceptions to this rule, however. If the employee believes the injury or illness was caused by an intentional act, they may bring a lawsuit for an intentional tort. These intentional acts, that may end in physical or emotional damage, include:

  • Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Conversion;
  • Defamation;
  • False imprisonment;
  • Fraud;
  • Invasion of privacy;
  • Intentional causation of emotional trauma; and
  • Trespassing.

What Mandatory Workers’ Compensation Laws Exist in Illinois?

In Illinois, compulsory workers’ compensation begins at 40 hours per week for 13 weeks of the year. If you have been denied, or offered too little for you injuries or illness, it may be time to contact an attorney. Call a skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio today at 630-574-2288.




Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Scarring and Disfigurement

February 26th, 2016 at 6:51 pm

scarring, Chicago Workers' Compensation AttorneyWorkers’ compensation law is designed to protect workers who are hurt while on the job. Many benefits are geared towards replacing lost income from missed work. But, some injuries such as burns and scars leave workers able to complete their jobs, but take a terrible mental toll. These kinds of injuries are known as disfigurement and scarring injuries under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and there are special considerations in getting compensated for them.

Types of Disfigurement and Scarring Injuries

Disfigurement and scarring represent a broad category of injuries under workers’ compensation law. Some of these injuries may totally or partially interfere with the execution of normal job duties, while others may not interfere with the worker’s job at all, but cause significant mental anguish.

Some common types of disfigurement and scarring injuries include:

  • Loss of a finger or toe;
  • Lacerations;
  • Burns;
  • Nerve damage to face;
  • Nerve damage that limits use of limbs;
  • Loss of a limb;
  • Loss of an eye or ear; and
  • Damage to the retina, cornea, or other parts of the eye.

The Claims Process

While there are strict reporting requirements that mandate a worker to report an accident to his or her employer as quickly as possible, a settlement for workers’ compensation benefits when dealing with disfigurement and scarring injuries does not typically take place until at least six months of healing has taken place. The amount of benefits awarded will depend on the location of the disfigurement or scarring, if the injury is permanent, the degree the injury interferes with bodily function, and the part of the body the disfigurement or scarring is located.

Because the law dealing with scarring and disfigurement injuries is complicated, it is important that you have an experienced workers’ compensation helping you negotiate your claim. Even though formal negotiations often do not start until six months after your injury, the sooner you involve a lawyer, the better prepared your case can be when it is time to discuss settlement. If you wait too long to process your claim, you may lose out on the right to get any benefits for your injuries.

Disfigurement and scarring benefits are usually paid out in lump-sum payments. Some cases, however, may require payments to be made over time.

If you have been involved in a workplace accident, you need to understand your rights. You should speak with a skilled and tough Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer right away. Call the Law Offices of Frank J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 to schedule a consultation. You may only have a short time to take action.




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