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Understanding how a prior injury affects your on-the-job injury

In many ways workers' compensation is a flawed bargain between workers and the insurance companies that provide coverage for employers. That's because legislators tried to strike a balance between ensuring that injured workers get medical treatment when they are injured on the job, while also preventing those injured workers from bankrupting their employers through personal injury litigation. Under Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, workers are not allowed to sue their employers directly for injuries they incur on-the-job.

However, the flipside of that restriction is that most employees who are injured while at work will qualify for workers' compensation coverage -- as long as they are operating within the scope of their employment. This also applies to workers who may have already had a pre-existing injury before their on-the-job accident. This may seem unfair to some employers but it's important to remember that this is also a trade-off for the employer's immunity against their worker's personal injury lawsuits. This can be a considerable advantage for employers who often engage in questionable safety practices.

You also need to know that despite the restriction against suing your employer, you may nevertheless sue third parties who may have contributed to your accident. A good example of this might be a faulty hydraulic line valve that failed while you were operating a piece of industrial equipment. Through an Illinois personal injury and workers compensation attorney, you may be able to make claims against workers' compensation while also pursuing the manufacturer of a dangerous or defective part.

An attorney representing your products liability claims can bring in experts to examine the extent of your industrial accident injuries as well as the faulty equipment or components that may have caused them. In some cases where there is compelling evidence of product liability, manufacturers may choose to negotiate terms of a settlement agreement to dispose of your claims.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, "(820 ILCS 305/) Workers' Compensation Act.," accessed July 23, 2015

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From our office in Laurel, we serve clients throughout the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. We handle all injury and disability claims on a contingency fee basis, so we charge no fee unless we recover compensation for you.

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