Typically when you have an accident on the job that causes an injury the best you can hope for is a good workers compensation case. A workers compensation case of course will cover all of your medical expenses, and financial benefits while you are off work recovering from the injury. Usually in cases like this you cannot sue your employer for negligence because that is barred under Illinois law. But if a third party that is not your employer was involved in the accident, you might be able to sue them.
That’s exactly what happened in a recent case that while unique, shows the importance of making sure every angle is analyzed when pursuing a case.
The injured worker in this case was asked to unload a 300 pound desk. The employer had contracted with some other companies to help on the job and an employee of one of these other companies let go of his end of the desk. Ultimately this lead to a major back injury with surgery and the injured worker can no longer do his job.
After a further investigation (again, you can’t leave any stone unturned) it was discovered that there were safety violations by multiple companies so this worker was able to sue all of them. Due to the seriousness of the injury along with the fact that there wasn’t adequate equipment or proper staffing, the case was successful. The company that delivered the desk should have made reasonable accommodations with additional workers or a forklift to ensure that nobody was injured. That of course did not happen.
To be clear, this is a unique case, but that doesn’t mean your case isn’t unique. If other companies are involved in any way in your injury, we must know about it and a good attorney will ask these questions as part of their investigation. In most cases you only have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit or it will be forever barred (it can be as little as one year) so it’s really important to have these cases investigated right away. It’s not enough to just know that other companies were involved.
I’m not a part of this case, but my guess is that the work comp case is worth around $500,000.00 so if nobody realized the worker could sue it would have cost him over $14 million.
Bottom line is that every angle must be analyzed in every case. If you want our opinion as to whether or not you can do more than work comp, call us at 312-346-5578 for a free consultation with one of our lawyers.