Illinois workers’ compensation differs from personal injury in a number of ways, one of which being the fact that it is a no-fault system. In this article, we’ll explore exactly what that means for Illinois workers.
Fault and Illinois Workers’ Compensation
For workers who are injured on the job, there is no need to prove fault in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This means that even if the employer isn’t at fault for injuries sustained on the job, they are still required to pay for them. There is no need to prove that the employer was negligent. The injury simply needs to have arisen in the course of fulfilling employment duties.
This means workers’ compensation is often advantageous for injured workers. Rather than relying on the fault of some other party to cover medical expenses and lost time from work, the law simply requires an employee to report their injury to their employer and file a claim in order to receive benefits.
Fault Vs. No-Fault System
This, of course, is vastly different from personal injury. In a personal injury case, you need to be able to prove fault in order to recover damages. That means demonstrating that another party owed you a duty of care (i.e. they had a duty to avoid injuring/endangering you) and proving that they were negligent in fulfilling that duty, leading to your injury.
A no-fault system has no such requirement. Whether your employer was negligent or not, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if your injury resulted from your job duties in some way.
Of course, some challenges may still arise. Your employer may try to deny benefits by claiming that your injury wasn’t actually related to work or by minimizing its seriousness. In these instances, you still don’t need to prove fault, but you likely will have to demonstrate that your injury is serious enough to warrant benefits and that it resulted from your job.
Another Advantage of No-Fault Workers’ Compensation
One more advantage of a no-fault system is that it makes it possible to receive compensation that wouldn’t be available through a personal injury claim. For instance, Illinois business owners aren’t responsible for natural accumulations of snow and ice on their property. If you slip and fall on a business owner’s property due to an ice patch, you likely won’t be able to sue for damages.
However, if you’re an employee of that business and slip while performing work duties, you are typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, even though your employer doesn’t own any particular fault for the accident.
Under Illinois law, it doesn’t matter if your work injury resulted from someone’s negligent behavior. It only matters that you were injured as a result of fulfilling work-related duties.
Receiving Workers’ Compensation in Illinois
Of course, there are still some procedures to follow in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. You must report your injury to your employer in a timely manner and file a claim. Seeing a doctor is also vital to demonstrating that your claim is legitimate, and in some cases, you may need an attorney to represent you. If you have been injured on the job—and especially if your claim seems like it might be denied—contact an attorney as soon as possible.