According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 154,000 employees in the state are injured at work every year. This statistic translates to an annual injury rate of 3.5 per 100 workers. Many people are likely to suffer job-related disability at some point in their career, as a worker compensation lawyer in Woodstock knows. Illinois law provides benefits for injured workers in most cases, even if the accident was partially or totally their fault.
Workers’ compensation and fault
Illinois workers’ compensation is a system designed to help injured employees without the burden and expense of determining who is at fault in each individual incident. Workers who are part of the compensation system waive the right to sue their employers for damages because of fault or negligence. In return, they are protected if they make a mistake at work that leads to injury.
Not all injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation
Some injuries on the job are broadly disqualified for workers’ compensation. The most common examples include the following:
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Accidents occurring because of alcohol abuse or drug abuse
- Accidents during the commute to or from work in a private vehicle
Workers are generally denied compensation benefits after incidents of this kind. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, approximately 11 percent of claims are dismissed, often for the above reasons.
Case study #1: Amputation on the assembly line
In April 2008, an inexperienced 18-year-old worker was in his first week on the job at an Illinois factory when he ignored his supervisor’s instructions and incorrectly grasped a piece of machinery on the assembly line. Three of his fingers were caught in the mechanism and had to be amputated. He was awarded permanent partial disability for the amputation, even though the accident was his fault.
Case study #2: Alcohol abuse in a commercial kitchen
A 52-year-old chef in a Highland Park commercial kitchen was drinking on the job when he spilled a pot of boiling water and severely burned his legs. A breath test showed that he was severely intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level of .23 percent. He was denied workers’ compensation benefits. A worker compensation lawyer in Woodstock sees many tragic cases of this sort.
Illinois workers’ compensation law can protect employees even if they are at fault in an accident. Injured workers may wish to learn more by contacting a worker compensation lawyer in Woodstock.