Worker’s compensation is a way for injured employees to get money for work injuries (for medical costs and lost income) without filing a lawsuit. The good thing about this is that you don’t have to file a lawsuit in order to get compensated. The downside, for some, is that you can’t collect the types of damages you could sue for in a lawsuit, such as pain and suffering. Illinois law prohibits injured workers from suing their employers for a work injury.

What you can do is collect benefits that you are entitled to under Illinois workers’ compensation law. Notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible (the law says within 45 days). Then, file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois workers’ compensation commission. If you don’t start getting benefits, if your claim is denied, or if your injury is serious and/or permanent, get an attorney to deal with the insurance company for you because the insurance company’s goal is to avoid paying you.

You are entitled to workers’ compensation if you are an employee and your injury is work related. It doesn’t matter if the injury was your fault. And it doesn’t matter if it was your employer’s fault. These issues are at the center of injury lawsuits based on negligence, but in a workers’ compensation claim, they are irrelevant. This can be good because it saves a lot of time and doesn’t punish you if you made a mistake that led to your injury. On the flipside this can be frustrating for a worker who was injured because of an unsafe work environment or something the employer did. The employee can’t “make them pay” via a lawsuit.

An exception to the no-lawsuit rule is that you can sue someone other than your employer. If a property owner or equipment manufacturer was at fault in causing your injury, then a so-called “third party” lawsuit would be allowed.

Benefits available to you under Illinois workers’ compensation include temporary total disability payments, which are equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage. All related and reasonable medical expenses should be covered. The law says that you can’t sue your employer for a work injury. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In many cases, the system works as it should, getting workers the help they need until they can get back to work.