Did You Commit a Safety Violation? You Could Still Get Workers’ Comp

Posted on July 05, 2019

If an employee is injured on the job as a result of violating a workplace safety rule, he/she is still entitled to workers compensation benefits, as long as the violation is not a purposeful act.

Workplace Safety Rules

In many jobs, workers are required to follow safety rules imposed by their employer. Depending on the company and type of employment, these regulations can take on different forms, but they usually outline how a worker should do his/her job to stay safe and prevent workplace accidents and injuries. If a worker violates a workplace safety rule and suffers an injury as a result, workers compensation benefits can still be collected, if the violation was a mistake.

If a worker mistakenly violates workplace safety rules and gets injured, he/she may be required to show proof that the violation was not a purposeful act done to collect workers compensation benefits. A worker who violates a company safety rule on purpose to collect benefits can face serious consequences. Filing a workers compensation claim under these conditions is a Class E felony offense, punishable by a $10,000 fine, or an amount that is double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater. A workers compensation claim may also be dismissed, if a worker is aware of violation consequences, but ignores the risks.

If a workers claim is denied because a workplace safety rule is violated, important factors may impact the case:

  • Was the worker performing work for the benefit of his/her employer at the time of the injury?
  • Was the worker performing his/her normal job tasks?
  • Was the worker aware of his/her normal job tasks?
  • Was the worker aware of his/her injury risks?
  • Was the worker aware of committing a violation of a company safety rule?

The answer to each question can have a positive or negative impact on the outcome of a workers comp claim and benefits. In some cases, claims get denied if a worker was not performing his/her normal job tasks when the injury occurred, even if the violation was an innocent mistake. When a claim is denied, a Chicago workers compensation lawyer can file an appeal to review the claim. In Illinois, workers comp claims that involve any type of intentional, self-inflicted injury or death are not eligible for workers compensation benefits.

Illinois Accident and Injury Claims

Under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act, the terms “accident” and “injury” are not clearly defined. The Act does not describe the standard of proof required by an employee in proving that he/she sustained an accident or injury. It only states that the claimant has the burden of proving an accident or injury by a preponderance of the evidence. In complex cases, a Chicago workers compensation lawyer can navigate through state restrictions and limitations that often impact the outcome of a workers compensation claim.

To receive workers compensation benefits for an accidental injury, a worker must prove that the injury occurred during the course of his/her normal employment. Illinois is not a positional risk state, instead, it adopts the minority rule. To prove that an accident is compensable, a worker must show that the accident and injury were related to a specific job, not simply because of employment. The worker must show that the accident occurred as a result of a risk related specifically to his/her job, and not a common risk to the general public.

Notice of Discovery

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act states that an employee should be aware of a workplace injury and the date that it occurred in relation to his/her employment. According to the Act, an employee must file a workers compensation claim within specified time frames, based on the date of the injury.

Notice of Injury

Illinois law states that an employee must give notice of a workplace injury to his/her employer as soon as possible after the injury occurs, but no later than 45 days after the date of the accident. If a claimant fails to give notice of the accident within 45 days, the claim is barred.

Filing Procedures

A claim starts with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission when it’s filed by a Chicago workers compensation lawyer. Once a claim is filed, it is assigned to an arbitrator who reviews the claim and accepts or denies the claim. If the claim is denied, an appeal must be filed within 30 days of the denial letter.

Statute of Limitations

An Illinois workers compensation claim must be filed within three years from the date of the accident, or two years from the last date of payment of compensation, whichever comes later. If an employee receives any compensation, or medical payments are paid after an accident, the statute of limitations does not begin until two years after the last date of any payments. This provision includes both the payment of medical benefits or indemnity benefits.