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Difference Between Workers Comp and Personal Injury Claims


Individuals injured in the workplace often ask if they should pursue compensation for their injuries through a Workers’ Compensation claim or a Personal Injury lawsuit.

As an attorney who represents Chicagoland clients in both Workers’ Comp claims and Personal Injury lawsuits, I am knowledgeable and expert in both areas.  There are two key provisions that separate Workers’ Compensation claims and Personal Injury cases:

  • Fault requirement.
  • Compensation available.

Personal Injury cases are based upon ‘fault’ and who caused injury to a victim; whereas for Workers’ Compensation claims ‘fault’ is not relevant.    Since no one is at fault in Workers’ Compensation claims, compensation for damages is usually faster but limited to specific areas.

No Fault Workers Compensation claims.

In Illinois, with few exceptions, an employee injured in the scope of employment is automatically entitled to specified Workers’ Compensation benefits.    No fault for the injury needs to be established.  The injured employee does not need to prove or demonstrate that the employer, work conditions, equipment, or another employee caused the injury.  Even if the injury was actually caused by the negligence or incorrect actions of the employee, the injured individual is entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Fault Established in Personal Injury cases.

While accidents where no one is at fault do happen, in order to recover damages for a Personal Injury, in Illinois, the victim needs to prove that the injury was caused by someone’s negligence.   The victim (and their attorney) needs to prove that it was the other party’s negligence that created the conditions that caused the accident and the injuries.

For example, in an auto accident, you can only recover damages from the other driver if the other driver is at fault.  In an accident with a commercial truck, personal injury from a medical treatment, an animal attack, a slip and fall in a building, a construction site, or on a sidewalk, a victim can only recover damages if they (and their lawyer) prove that it was the negligence of another party or parties that caused their injury.

Personal Injury cases are usually complex because they can involve multiple responsible parties and a range of compensation.

Different Compensation.

In Illinois, with few exceptions, those entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits are not entitled to benefits for pain and suffering.    They do, however, promptly receive weekly compensation while away from work, payment of medical bills, vocation rehabilitation, and, where necessary, permanent impairment benefits.   By eliminating any claim for pain and suffering and restricting injured employees from suing their employer and co-workers, Illinois Workers’ Compensation laws create a clear process where the injured worker receives weekly compensation and medical bills are promptly paid.

For Personal Injury claims, the victim is entitled to recover all damages suffered – lost earning, medical expenses, lost earning capacity, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, permanent impairment, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other things.

We Help Victims.

As an attorney, every day I am personally involved in fighting for those who are injured in the workplace (Workers’ Compensation lawyer) and those injured as a result of the negligence of others (Personal Injury cases).

The Attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Law are knowledgeable and expert in representing people who are injured.   We apply a disciplined approach to gain a comprehensive perspective on the facts, issues, and injuries experienced by victims.  We make the legal process as stress-free as possible; we focus on recovering the compensation you deserve; while you focus upon recovery.

The attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Law make the legal process as stress-free as possible.  We focus on recovering compensation for you – while you concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery.

If you or a loved one is injured at work or in an accident, please call my office at 312-346-8465 or contact us using the form below.

author avatar
William Turner
William J. Turner

William Turner has represented hundreds of working men and women who have been victims of the negligence of others – gaining equitable compensation for the medical expenses and pain and suffering for his clients. He concentrates his practice in the trial of complex personal injury cases, including car and truck accidents, construction mishaps, medical malpractice, dog and animal attacks, nursing home abuse, and slip-and-falls. Additionally, he offers niche counsel and advocacy for workers who are injured on a job.

William has obtained judgements from juries in approximately 150 cases and has secured fair and comprehensive settlements in even more over his career. William Turner has dedicated his professional life to fighting for the rights of those who are injured as a result of the negligent acts of others.

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