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Each year, employees are hurt in a number of different on-the-job accidents. A few of the most common of these include repetitive stress injuries, falls from heights, car accidents, and more. If you have been hurt while at work, you have a number of legal options. After sustaining a serious injury, you may not know what these are, the next steps to take, or how to exercise your rights. Below, one of our Chicago workplace injury attorneys explains how to obtain the compensation you need for your injuries and other losses. 

Types of Workplace Accidents 

You never expect to go to work and become injured while there. Unfortunately, there are many ways employees become hurt while on the job. The most common of these include: 

  • Motor vehicle accidents: Car accidents can be classified as a workplace accident if it occurs while you are driving as part of your employment duties. For example, if you are driving between work sites or your employer asks you to pick up supplies for the office and you are involved in a crash, it is a workplace accident. On the other hand, if you are driving to or from work, or running personal errands while on a break and become involved in a crash, this is not a workplace accident. 
  • Slip and falls: Slip and falls are one of the most common types of workplace accidents. A slip and fall may sound like a minor event, but these accidents can result in some of the most serious injuries. 
  • Falls from heights: Falls from heights are much more serious than other types of slip and falls. In certain situations, such as on a construction site, workers may not even survive a fall from a height. 
  • Repetitive stress injuries: Repetitive stress injuries occur when one part of the body experiences wear and tear due to the fact that it is used quite regularly. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common type of repetitive stress injury. 
  • Electrocution: Electrocutions are most common in the repair, utility, and construction industries. Still, dangerous conditions and defective equipment can also cause electrocutions to workers in other industries. 
  • Overexertion injuries: When workers engage in heavy physical labor for a long period of time, it can result in an overexertion injury. Overexertion can cause other medical conditions such as heat stroke and dehydration. 
  • Struck by or against an object: Falls from heights, factory and warehouse work, and other types of employment can cause employees to become struck by or against an object. These are some of the most serious workplace accidents. 

Our team of attorneys has helped many clients obtain a verdict or settlement for fair financial compensation after a workplace accident. 

Common Injuries in Workplace Accidents 

A workplace accident can result in a number of different injuries. The most common of these are as follows: 

  • Broken bones 
  • Lacerations and bruising 
  • Tendon and muscle tears and strains 
  • Ligament tears and strains 
  • Whiplash injuries 
  • Herniated discs 
  • Neck and back injuries 
  • Shoulder injuries 
  • Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis 
  • Head injuries 
  • Knee injuries 
  • Crushing injuries 
  • Traumatic brain injuries 
  • Amputations 
  • Toxic exposure 

Common Causes of Workplace Accidents 

Any negligent act or failure to comply with safety standards can cause a workplace accident. Some of the most common causes of these incidents are as follows: 

  • Improper lifting techniques 
  • Low visibility  
  • Trips and falls 
  • Fatigue 
  • Contact with moving objects 
  • Messy or cluttered workplace environments 
  • Lack of safety equipment 
  • Multiple distractions 

How to Recover Compensation After a Workplace Accident 

If you have recently been hurt while at work, you are likely feeling very stressed and overwhelmed. Your medical bills may be piling up and you may not be able to return to work right away. If the accident occurred while you were performing duties in the scope of your employment, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. The majority of employers in Chicago and throughout Illinois are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage to protect injured employees. 

There are times when a personal injury claim is more appropriate than a workers’ compensation claim. If a third party, such as a delivery person or subcontractor, caused your accident and they did not have a relationship with your employer, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. It is important to speak to an attorney who has the necessary experience with these accidents and who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. 

How Does Workers’ Compensation Differ from Personal Injury Claims? 

There are many differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. The first major difference is the issue of fault. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means you do not have to prove that your employer or co-worker caused the accident. You can also file a claim even if you contributed to the accident and it will not affect any benefits you receive. In a personal injury claim, though, you must prove another person was at fault. If you contributed to the accident, this could result in a forfeiture or reduction of damages. 

The damages available in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims are also different from each other. Workers’ compensation will only provide medical benefits, temporary disability payments, and a permanent disability award. The amounts awarded in workers’ compensation cases are typically much lower than what a jury would award in a personal injury case. If you are successful with a personal injury claim, you can claim compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, emotional suffering, and more. 

Lastly, the process between the two different types of claims are also drastically different. When filing a workers’ compensation claim, you inform your employer and they will essentially handle the rest of your claim by informing their insurance company. When filing a personal injury claim, you should speak to an attorney who will send a demand letter to the liable party’s insurance company and negotiate with them for a fair settlement. Additionally, while you have three years from the date of the injury to file a workers’ compensation claim, you generally have only two years to file a personal injury claim. 

Common Defenses in Workplace Accident Claims 

There are many defenses your employer, and the insurance company representing them, may raise in your case. The most common of these are as follows: 

  • Your injuries were self-inflicted 
  • You failed to follow the rules or safety precautions 
  • You were not performing employment duties at the time you were injured 
  • Intentional misconduct caused your injuries 
  • You were impaired at the time of the accident 
  • A pre-existing condition, and not a workplace accident, caused your injury 
  • You failed to notify your employer 
  • You failed to file your claim on time 
  • The accident was not connected to your employment 

Our Workplace Injury Attorneys in Chicago Can Advise You of Your Legal Options 

After a workplace accident, you have many legal options. At Kennedy Watkins, our Chicago workplace injury attorneys can explain what those are and determine which one is the best for your situation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will travel across the state to meet with you and review the facts of your case. Call us now at (312) 448-8181 or contact us online to schedule a free review of your case and to get more information. 


About Workplace Accidents


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Kennedy and Watkins were referred to myself and my husband by another attorney. From the very first conversation we knew we made the right choice. Everything was always communicated from the beginning to the end which made the process smooth and in the end we were extremely satisfied with the results of our case.

– Trena L. Wallace

Highly recommended! Jack was very attentive to my case after my accident and walked me through each step along the way clear and concise. My case was settled in a timely manner overall I was very pleased.

– Shelby Furcron

I’d want to mention that working with Mr. Kennedy was a pleasure because he was a huge help and support in my case. He was good at communicating and made sure that everything was crystal clear. He also had a great deal of empathy for the circumstances. I would recommend him to anyone who needs legal advice.

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