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Can You File a Personal Injury Claim While Also Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Published on Apr 23, 2024 at 2:57 pm in Workers' Compensation.


Navigating the complex landscape of workers’ compensation and personal injury claims can be daunting, especially when you’re dealing with an injury sustained on the job in Illinois.

Many folks wonder whether they can pursue both avenues simultaneously.

In this post, we’ll explore whether you can file a personal injury claim while also receiving workers’ comp benefits in Illinois, shedding light on what’s allowed and what considerations you need to keep in mind when pursuing both types of compensation.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Before exploring the possibility of filing a personal injury claim alongside receiving Illinois workers’ comp benefits, it’s crucial to understand what workers’ compensation entails.

In Illinois, workers’ compensation provides financial assistance and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. These benefits typically cover medical expenses, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation, aiming to support injured workers during their recovery process.

Some aspects of these benefits that may need to be considered when pursuing simultaneous compensation, can include:

  • The Exclusivity Rule: One of the basic concepts in play when pursuing a personal injury claim and workers’ comp benefits in Illinois is the exclusivity rule. This rule essentially stipulates that in exchange for receiving workers’ compensation benefits, employees forfeit their right to sue their employer for negligence in civil court. However, there are exceptions to this rule, particularly when third-party liability is involved.
  • Third-Party Liability: While workers’ compensation benefits shield employers from lawsuits filed by their employees, they don’t preclude the possibility of pursuing legal action against third parties whose negligence contributed to the workplace injury. For instance, if you were injured in a car accident while on the job due to another driver’s recklessness, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim against that driver in addition to receiving workers’ comp benefits.
  • Dual Recovery: The prospect of what the International Risk Management Institute refers to as a dual capacity—which is described as the recovery of both workers’ compensation benefits and compensation through a personal injury claim—can be enticing for injured workers seeking maximum financial recovery. However, it’s essential to proceed with caution and adhere to the legal parameters governing such claims in Illinois. Engaging the services of an experienced personal injury attorney can prove invaluable in navigating this complex terrain.
  • Coordination of Benefits: When pursuing both workers’ comp benefits and a personal injury claim simultaneously, coordination is very important. Failing to coordinate these benefits effectively could result in overcompensation, which may prompt legal repercussions down the line. Your attorney can help ensure that your workers’ comp benefits and any compensation obtained through a personal injury claim complement each other without overlap.

Impact on Workers’ Comp Benefits

Filing a personal injury claim alongside workers’ comp benefits may impact the latter in various ways.

For instance, per the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, any compensation obtained through a personal injury settlement or judgment may offset or reduce future workers’ comp benefits, particularly if they cover similar expenses such as medical bills or lost wages.

Understanding these potential issues is crucial for making informed decisions regarding your legal strategy and your future.

Seeking Legal Guidance

Given the complexities involved in navigating both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims in Illinois, seeking legal guidance is highly advisable. A knowledgeable attorney specializing in workers’ comp and personal injury law can provide invaluable assistance in assessing your case, identifying potential avenues for compensation, and advocating for your rights throughout the legal process.

In Illinois, there are strict deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, for filing personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims. Failing to adhere to these deadlines could jeopardize your ability to pursue the compensation you’re entitled to.

Also, workers’ comp claims must be filed within three years from the date of the injury (or two years from the date of the last payment of benefits, whichever is later), per the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). In that same document, the state agency also outlines how workers must notify employers of an accident and resulting injury or illness within 45 days of its onset. Failing to meet this earlier deadline with your employer can lead to your workers’ comp claim being denied, as well.

This is why it’s imperative to act promptly and consult with legal counsel as soon as possible following a workplace injury.

While the prospect of filing a personal injury claim while receiving workers’ comp benefits in Illinois may seem daunting, it’s not necessarily out of reach.

By understanding the nuances of workers’ compensation law, the exclusivity rule, third-party liability, and the coordination of benefits, injured workers can make informed decisions regarding their legal options.

Consulting with one of our skilled attorneys at Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP can be key to navigating this complex terrain and maximizing your potential recovery. With the right guidance and advocacy, you can pursue the compensation you deserve for your work injury while still focusing on your health and rehabilitation.

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