Under Illinois work comp law, you are never going to get a windfall of money, even if you have a major injury. So how did a worker doing construction on a CTA job site end up with $12 million for a back injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down?
While doing his job, he slipped and fell 20 feet. He received $650,000.00 as a settlement along with payment of all of his medical bills. Under IL law he was barred from suing his employer because you can’t sue them for negligence. All you get is the work comp benefit. While 650k isn’t a small amount of money, it’s certainly not enough for someone who ended up paralyzed from a job accident. He’s in a wheelchair and reportedly has chronic pain.
Most workers wouldn’t get anything else but in this case, he was able to sue the CTA, the general contractor and project managers. His lawyers successfully argued that OSHA rules were violated because workers who were more than six feet off the ground did not have fall protection 100% of the time. There was a security cable, but you had to take it off during some movements.
While I’d argue $12 million isn’t worth being paralyzed either, it certainly will help this man and his family have a somewhat more normal life and reduce the financial pressures they certainly were feeling. He hasn’t been able to work since the accident and the settlement will allow them to modify their home (although that could have happened through work comp and I question why the work comp attorney didn’t make that happen).
It isn’t fair that some injured workers can get millions more than others, but it is the reality of our legal system. If it’s just your employer who is negligent, you are likely out of luck. If it’s someone else that was negligent, you can go after them.
It wasn’t obvious from the facts I read that someone was at fault in this case. That shows why it’s important to speak with a lawyer who will do a thorough investigation and examine every issue beyond the obvious ones. If that hadn’t happened it literally would have been the difference of millions of dollars.
Beyond that, it’s important to know that the best lawyers for work comp aren’t usually the right ones to handle a catastrophic case like this. What we can do for you is help with the work comp and make sure you are connected with one of the ten or so law firms in Illinois who have exceptional success with these types of cases. Call us any time for free at 312-346-5578 to discuss a case with a lawyer.