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For a worker who is injured in an accident “on the job” the first line of monetary and health care protection is “Workers Compensation”. It is a “no-fault” system of benefits paid by employers to Illinois workers who experience job-related injuries or diseases. Using the term no-fault means that compensation must be paid regardless of who or what caused the injuries, as long as they are job related. An absent minded “negligent” worker may be at fault for causing his or her own injuries yet they are entitled to full benefits. Perhaps they removed a safety device from a machine, failed to wear hearing or eye protection? Did they run a red light while making a delivery in the company truck? Could they have fallen from a building under construction because they were not paying attention? Compensation is due these individuals since neither negligence or fault are issues to be decided.
Because the concept of “Workers Compensation” is not based upon fault and benefits are paid directly by the employer (most often through its insurance carrier) there exists a public policy which greatly limits compensation. Absent such a policy, an employer’s cost of doing business in the State of Illinois would be prohibitive, as it has limited means to prevent such accidents. In effect, safety and education in the work place are certainly important but cannot prevent all “no-fault” accidents and injuries.
As a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney our office routinely represents clients’ who have been injured in a job related accident and are seeking compensation. The first question many ask is how much will I receive for my pain and suffering? My answer is always the same, $0. The reason is that workers compensation will only pay your necessary medical bills, and a percentage of your lost wages. No compensation is paid for pain and suffering. Ultimately, your fate is determined by a rate chart which assigns a fixed number of weeks of compensation for the injury to a particular part of the body. Should a worker be killed as a result of a compensable accident, his family is generally limited to total compensation of 500 weeks of the deceased’s wages. This is an incredibly small sum of money as compared to the compensation his family would have received if it were a personal injury case.
So now you know why the “Workers Compensation” settlement was so low!