Joe’s supervisor at the construction site told him to move some heavy materials from one location to another. Although Joe had received safety training about lifting heavy objects without getting hurt, he didn’t follow the safety guidelines. As a result, he strained his back, injured his spine, and was off work for three months. During his recovery, he expected workers’ comp benefits to start. However, his employer refused to pay because he said Joe’s on-the-job injury was his fault. It was his fault, but can he still get workers’ compensation benefits?
Worker’s Comp 101
Generally, employers buy insurance to cover their employee’s work-related injuries. In fact, Illinois employers are required by law to buy workers’ compensation insurance. Also, most workers are covered, with a few exceptions.
Illinois also uses a no-fault system when it comes to on-the-job injuries. In most cases, workers are not held responsible if their injury was caused by their own mistake. One exception to this is that workers participating in horseplay (boisterous behavior that is not job-related) are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
Workers’ Comp When You Are at Fault
Again, fault generally does not matter when someone files a claim for a job-related condition. In fact, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”), as stated in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Handbook (the “Handbook”), states that
“… accidents that arise out of and in the course of employment are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This generally means that the Act covers injuries that result in whole or in part from the employee’s work.”
The Handbook also states that benefits are paid regardless of fault.
You May Still Get Workers’ Comp Even if You Made a Mistake
In Joe’s case, he did fail to follow the company’s safety guidelines. However, he was not engaged in horseplay or any other type of inappropriate behavior. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time using the wrong lifting methods. He can apply directly to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation, but why face the hassles? An experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer knows the system and how to work in it.
Osvaldo Rodriguez has more than 20 years’ experience helping people like you. Schedule a free initial consultation or ask a question by calling us at 708-716-3441 or by completing the contact form on our website.
Mr. Rodriguez is fluent in both Spanish and English.
We represent clients throughout the state of Illinois, including Chicago, Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Berwyn, Chicago, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, and all of Cook County, Lake County, Kane County, Dupage County, and Will County.