Illinois Car Accident - Work Comp Claims and 3rd Party Claims - Affects on Recovery by Victim when Competing Claims
A car accident occurred in Illinois as the result of a truck going approximately 60 MPH and ramming into the back of our client's, Donald's, vehicle that was sitting at a stop light. We are pursuing two claims on behalf of Donald, a personal injury claim against the at fault driver as a result of his negligence and an Illinois Workers' Compensation claim as Donald was driving a company vehicle at the time of the accident and was on duty for is employer.
Personal injury claims and Workers' Compensation claims vary in many ways. In Workers' Compensation claims the amount of money, or damages, Donald is entitled to is based on his injury translated into a disability rating which is then calculated by different factors depending on what part of the body is injuried and how much he earned per week at the time of the injury.
The personal injury claim is filed through the Illinois court system as a negligence case against the driver. The primary issues are liability and damages, or in other words, whose fault it is and how much money the victim should get as a result of that fault and the resultant injuries. These cases are ultimately decided by a jury, if a settlement is not reached, and damages are based on the jury's determination based on bills, economic damages, and pain and suffering, non economic damages. There is no magic formula for determining the damages but it is left to the jury.
When both types of cases are filed, the Workers' Compensation insurance company is entitled to a lien on the proceeds from the personal injury case. This lien is based on the fact that in workers' compensation claims liability is not an issue and medical bills are paid by the work comp insurer, entitling them to a lien to recover their expenses for paying the medical bills as the result of the 3rd party's negligence.
It is always worthwhile to pursue both the work comp case ans the negligence case when their is an a fault party that is not also employed by the same employer. Many clients worry about the lien, however, this can often be negotiated down to make sure the client receives a good recovery on both cases, and ultimatley a larger recover than if they pursued only one case.