Employees injured at their workplace may benefit from workers’ compensation, but employees who accept these benefits can’t sue their employer. In instances where workplace accidents are a result of someone else’s negligence or defective products, it’s possible to file a third-party lawsuit. Here’s what you need to know about filing claims against third parties in Illinois.
Workplace Injuries Involving Third Parties
Even if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, it’s your legal right to file for compensation from at-fault third parties. The claim is often a personal injury claim that you can file under the following situations:
• The injury results from a defective product: In such a case, you can file a claim against the manufacturer. Defective products include faulty tools or unsecured merchandise. • An injury caused by a toxic substance: You may sue the substance’s manufacturer for the injury. • A work-related injury from an auto accident: You may bring a claim to the at-fault driver or their insurance provider. • Injuries from a slip-and-fall accident: You can file a claim against the property owner or facility manager. • Construction site accidents: Depending on the cause of the accident, you can file a claim against another company working at the site.
Liability in a Third-Party Claim
While negligence is not a factor when filing for workers’ compensation, it is always considered in third-party claims. Thus, you must prove that the third party solely contributed to the accident. The claim must establish the following:
• The third-party had a duty to care for you because the property owner allowed you onto their property or the manufacturer allowed you to use its products. • The third party failed to keep you safe. • Since the third party failed to keep you safe, you suffered injuries. • The injuries caused losses such as medical expenses or disability.
You should file a third-party claim within a year after the injury. Additionally, before filing the lawsuit, you should notify the workers’ compensation insurer of your intent. It’s recommended that you contact an attorney to guide you in the process.