Workers' Compensation History and Basics
Workers' compensation is not a fault-based system and is premised on the idea that "the burdens of caring for the casualties of an industry should be borne by industry and not by the individuals whose misfortunes arise out of the industry … ," Supreme Court of Illinois (1954). Some questions about workers' compensation that Joe frequently answers for his clients are found below.
What are the tax consequences for my Workers' Compensation benefits?
- The workers' compensation benefits are tax free. You should keep this in mind and insist upon workers' compensation benefits rather than group insurance or disability payments.
What if my employer's Workers' Compensation insurance carrier offers me a lump sum payment?
- In order to ensure that your legal rights are protected, especially if offered a lump sum settlement, you should speak with a lawyer at the time you are injured. Without an attorney to guide you, you might unknowingly waive any right for further medical treatment and any other rights should your disability increase.
- If, on the other hand, your attorney helps you obtain an award through a hearing, you will normally receive a permanent disability compensation payment. You will also be able to receive treatment of your injury for your lifetime.
What is the difference between a personal injury lawsuit and a Workers' Compensation claim?
- Personal injury lawsuits often require that the injured person prove that the defendant was at fault in causing his or her injuries.
- Filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits is not a lawsuit. Fault is irrelevant in a workers' compensation case. Even if the employee negligently caused his or her own injury and if it was work related, he or she is entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
- Oftentimes, an injury that is recoverable under the Workers' Compensation Act will also be recoverable against a third party in a civil lawsuit (a personal injury claim). Accordingly, you should hire a Bloomington workers' compensation attorney such as Joe McCarron who knows how to coordinate a workers' compensation claim and personal injury case arising from the same injury.
What other areas of law might apply?
In addition to injury claims, injured employees will often have issues involving other fields of law including, but not limited to:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees with a disability.
- Social Security Disability Benefits: If the employee is unable to find employment in a job in substantial numbers throughout the country due to a disability, he or she is entitled to these benefits.
- Retaliatory Discharge: An employer cannot fire or take an adverse employment action against an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim.
- ERISA and other insurance claims: Where workers' compensation benefits are being denied, alternative relief can often be had through group insurance plans or group disability plans.