Work Injuries and Third Party Claims

Jay R. Luchsinger, a partner and personal injury attorney at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates answers a listener’s question on Free Legal Advice Friday’s:

When can there be a third party claim in a construction case?

Well, in a construction injury case under Illinois law, if you’re say working for subcontractor A you are not allowed to sue you’re employer if you get injured on the job.

The good news is that you have a workers’ compensation case. But, that’s a no fault system. You’re going to have a workers’ compensation claim vis-a-vis your employer, but you cannot sue your employer. That is the bargain we’ve [as people] made with the employers – we [as employees] won’t sue you if you have workers’ comp insurance.
Now, if there’s a third party (you’re the first party, the employer’s the second party) whose negligence (whose lack of reasonable care) was a cause of your injury, now you may have a viable claim against that company or entity.

What’s the first thing I should do when I get hurt?

Well, the first thing you should always do when you get hurt is report the injury – tell your foreman, tell your superintendent – and most importantly get medical care. That is always the most important thing to do. And begin that process to make sure that you are taken care of, that you are mended, and that you are ok physically.
But also, at some point in time, it is prudent to seek legal counsel and just explore what possibilities or what you may do if necessary.
And again, you want to talk to an attorney that is knowledgeable in that field.

I settled my workers compensation claim already, can I still file a third party claim?

Wayne Newman, a partner and workers’ compensation attorney at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates answers a listener’s question on Free Legal Advice Friday’s:
You certainly can. Both claims are independent of one another. The remedy for recovery against your employer is exclusively under the workers comp laws. If there is a third party involved that contributed to your injury, you can file a claim or lawsuit against them in civil court.Jay Luchsinger and Wayne Newman answers Free Legal Friday listener questions regarding work injuries and third party claims.

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