On average, I talk to 50 new people a week about their workers’ compensation claims. Some need representation, some just have a general question. I’ll talk to anyone for free and confidentially. You may not like what I have to say, but you’ll always get the truth from me.
In any given week, I’d estimate that 10 out of the 50 people that I speak think that if they go forward with a claim they will be suing their company. I hear a lot of stuff like:
I was hurt at work back in 2013 I was the passenger in the company work truck there was no stop sign so the driver of the truck did not stop which cause us to be t-boned I have been going back and forward to the doctor for my neck and back and might need surgery. Can I still sue my old job for injuries?
While this worker might be able to sue the driver of the other truck, Illinois law bars you from suing your employer or co-workers for negligence. The trade off is that Illinois workers’ compensation is a “no fault” law where you don’t have to prove negligence to win.
Some people want to sue their employer, especially like in the example above if it was an old employer. Other people love where they work and would never sue their boss. Still others just “aren’t the suing type.”
Well no matter where you fall on the suing scale, workers’ compensation claims are not a lawsuit. They are a claim for benefits just like using your health insurance when you get sick or a short or long term disability policy if you miss an extended time from work due to illness. There is no lawsuit, no Judge, no jury.
It is certainly possible that you might have a hearing one day with an Arbitrator to determine if you are entitled to some benefits, but again, it’s no different than having a hearing to determine if your health insurance company should pay for a surgery. Yes it’s different types of benefits and a different hearing, but the general idea is the same. It’s not the craziness of what many lawsuits are.
Until I talk to you, I can’t tell you whether not pursuing a claim would be viable or a good idea. But I can promise that it’s never a lawsuit and it’s never going to cost you anything to bring a case. So if you don’t at least explore your options to make an educated decision then you are not looking out for yourself. And if you wait too long, you’ll lose your rights forever.