The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Claims

Don’t confuse a workers’ compensation claim under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act (commonly referred to as a “comp claim”) with a civil claim for damages (a “third party claim”). Although sometimes third party civil litigation arises from a “comp accident”, the two are distinct animals.

A comp claim involves only the employer (a “second party”) and goes before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.  A third party claim arises when the actions of a third party (or multiple parties) contribute to an injury. In the case of a third party claim (against a party unrelated to the employer), it goes into the court system.

Occassionally, an injury results in a comp claim and a third party claim.  For example, if a worker sustains an injury while on the job caused by a party or parties unrelated to the employer, the injured worker has the right to file a comp claim and a third party claim.  This could happen where a third party builds a defective product or creates a negligent condition at the worksite.  The injured person has the right to file a comp claim and also to seek compensation from the at-fault company.  This results in a claim pending before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and (possibly at the same time) a claim progressing through the court system.

One set of standards, methods of compensation, and procedures apply to comp claims. Another set of rules governs civil claims. Perhaps most importantly, at the time of accident, different notice limits apply. Remember that when a worker hires a lawyer to pursue a comp claim, he doesn’t engage the lawyer to handle any third party civil claim unless the worker specifically retains the lawyer for that purpose.

We have spent years studying and training in this area of the law and in representing clients with workers’ comp and third party civil claims. We have devoted a large segment of the practice to these types of cases. We welcome your inquiries.

Copyright Campbell Claims Compensation 2019