Wrongful Death in Workers’ Compensation? Not Exactly

wrongful death

The Illinois workers’ compensation system, much like systems across the country, was designed to provide injured workers with a mechanism for recovery from injury that was less costly and faster than litigation. Before the system was created, injured employees whose employers did not take responsibility for their injuries had to take the employer to court and prove that it was liable before they were able to obtain benefits.

Such a system was heavily in the employer’s favor as most employees could not afford to fight their employer in court and receive care for their injuries at the same time. After the creation of the workers’ compensation system, employees who were injured while performing the duties of their position were able to obtain immediate care at the expense of their employer. One area into which this system extends is with regard to death benefits.

“Death Benefits,” or more aptly, Survivors’ Benefits

Unlike lawsuits under wrongful death statutes, families of workers who are killed while on the job must seek any recovery for their loss under Illinois’ workers’ compensation statutes. This is because the family of the worker essentially steps into the place of their loved one and accepts benefits in his or her stead. Not all family members are entitled to survivors’ benefits, however, as the statute specifies exactly who may recover for the loss.

According to Illinois law, full benefits are payable to the spouse and/or children of the deceased worker. These benefits continue indefinitely until the spouse remarries, or the children reach a certain age (with an exception for dependents who are physically or mentally disabled). If the worker has no spouse or children, the survivors’ benefits can be payable to any dependent parents, grandparents, or other heirs who were “at least 50% dependent” on the employee at the time of his or her death.

As stated previously, the workers’ compensation system is designed to ensure that workers receive prompt and effective care for injuries, without regard to who was at fault for the incident causing the injury. This system protects employers as much as employees and was designed to provide as much of a “win-win” situation as possible whenever a traumatic event occurs in the workplace. Employers benefit from less time they must operate without the injured employee because faster treatment often leads to less time the employee is out of work.

Further, both parties are encouraged to continue to move forward after an incident rather than become embroiled in protracted litigation to prove who or what was at fault for the accident. This system can provide closure in the event of an employee’s death for the employer as well as the survivors by allowing for a mechanism through which the circumstances surrounding a loved one’s death is neither ignored nor drawn out unnecessarily.

Need a guide?

Even though the workers’ compensation system was designed to allow for fairly swift recovery in the event a loved one is injured or killed in the workplace, there are rules that must be followed in order for a survivor to recover the benefits to which they are entitled. If you or a loved one has been injured in the workplace and you have questions about recovering against an employer, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. in Antioch today at (847) 395-2200. Our attorneys have years of experience fighting to protect workers and ensure that they receive what they are owed quickly, despite an employer’s recalcitrance.

Proving Your Case: Damages and Settlement

When a person who has never been involved in a devastating accident sees a news headline proclaiming a million dollar settlement in a personal injury lawsuit, he or she may be tempted to accuse the plaintiff of “playing the lottery” with the legal system.  This is a characterization of a process that was designed to help victims overcome tragedy and hold those responsible for their injuries accountable.  They should not be shamed by those who are ignorant of their situation for seeking justice through the lawful use of the court system.

One of the most egregious cases of victim shaming occurred after the now-infamous “McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit.”  Rather than focus on the corporate defendant’s version of the case summary (i.e. “coffee is supposed to be hot”), the focus should have been on the willful and wanton disregard for the safety of consumers who were being handed a 190 degree liquid through a small window with only a thin piece of styrofoam and a flimsy lid between them and 3rd degree burns.

Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Many corporate defendants clamored for tort reform following the 1994 jury verdict awarding the “hot coffee” plaintiff millions of dollars for her injuries.  What it took decades for people to finally realize, however, was that tort laws allowing for damages in personal injury cases were designed to ensure that injured victims were not left paying for someone else’s wrongdoing.  Personal injury laws around the country are supposed to protect citizens from having to not only live with a permanent injury but also pay for it out of their own pocket.  Where is the justice in a system that allows a guilty offender to do harm to another without penalty?  All too often, as in cases where a loved one is lost forever, no amount of money can fully help a victim’s family heal.  However, the law allows for a wrongdoer to be punished, through a monetary damages award, in order to serve as a warning to others whose carelessness may lead to someone’s injury or death.

In Illinois, a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit can recover an amount of money that will “reasonably and fairly compensate him” for the damage caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of the defendant.  One type of damages that available to an injured plaintiff includes compensatory damages, or money for medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.  Another type of damage award that was alluded to previously consists of punitive damages, which are designed to act as a “punishment” to the defendant in cases of gross negligence or wanton and willful misconduct.

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Need Help?

The Woodstock attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C are experienced in all areas of personal injury law.  If you are injured by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you should not have to suffer in silence.  Call today and speak to an attorney about possible recovery options to help you move forward and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.


The Great Equalizer: Slip and Fall Accidents

As evident by a recent lawsuit filed by a pro athlete, slip and fall cases are not limited to falls in grocery stores by average individuals. The lawsuit also brings to light how serious slip and fall accidents can be and how important it is to seek treatment immediately to determine whether a lawsuit is necessary. Regardless of your station in life, an accident caused by someone else’s negligence can have a very serious and long term effect on your life.

The professional treatment

Many believe that slip and fall accidents are a gimmick, created by greedy plaintiffs who are seeking a fast, lucrative paycheck for something as simple as falling down. The reality, however, is much more serious. As in the case of the tennis professional referenced above, her injury caused her to suffer serious head trauma that led to her being forced to withdraw from numerous tournaments. Because of these withdrawals and her inability to perform at the same level as before the accident, she has also allegedly fallen in the world rankings. An unsympathetic mind may not believe this is all that terrible, given the fact that she is a famous individual and therefore perceived as having sufficient wealth to cover any harm. However, when thought of in the context of an average citizen, such an injury can lead to missed work or even termination if the injured person cannot perform at the level they once could.


What many people forget when discussing slip and fall accidents is that they are most often the result of someone else’s derogation of duty. Whether it is the traditional example of a grocery store manager not paying attention to dangerous conditions in his store or a world class sporting venue not properly maintaining the areas commonly used by participants, the law remains the same. Negligence has been defined by Wisconsin courts as being comprised of four elements: “duty, breach, cause and damages.” What this means is that in order for someone to be held legally responsible for a slip and fall accident, they must have owed a duty to the injured person, breached that duty (through carelessness or wanton disregard for others’ safety), the breach caused the person’s injury, and the injury was such that it caused the person to suffer damages (i.e. bodily injury leading to monetary loss).

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The court system was designed to allow people who have been injured to bring the alleged wrongdoer before a neutral body and obtain a fair judgment that places them in a position that is equal to where they were before the accident. It is not greed to want what you are entitled to by law and right. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C in Antioch and speak to an attorney today. Our team can help you decide the best path forward toward full recovery.

Our Deepest Condolences

Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and fellow officers of “G.I. Joe” Joe Gliniewicz.  Joe, a 1981 graduate of Antioch High School was a Fox Lake police officer killed in the line of duty last week.  He was and will continue to be a very important part of our community.

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Man Dies in Antioch Hit and Run

Early Wednesday morning on Route 173 near Antioch, a motorcyclist was struck and killed in a hit and run crash. The woman originally left the scene of the accident but turned herself into authorities about 6 hours later.

Robert Edens is an Antioch motorcycle and auto accident lawyer representing injury victims throughout Lake County, Illinois. Contact Bob today at (847) 395-2200 for a free consultation.


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Passenger Injured Near Antioch

On Sunday in unincorporated Lake County a passenger jumped from a moving vehicle and is in critical condition after sustaining numerous injuries. According to police, at approximately 1:30 pm the Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to a reported accident near North Lake Avenue and Route 173 near Antioch. The passenger was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens is an auto accident law firm representing injury victims in Lake, McHenry and Cook Counties. If you or someone you know has been injured contact us at (847) 395-2200 for a free consultation.

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Man Dies After Being Struck by Trucks in McHenry

According to authorities on Tuesday a man from Johnsburg was fatally struck by two trucks.  The man was said to be walking east on Route 120 near Kent Road in McHenry when he was struck by a truck.  According the the news release after being hit the man was able to get up and continue walking when he was then hit by a semi-trailer and fatally wounded.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens is a McHenry personal injury and accident law firm representing clients throughout all of McHenry county and surrounding areas.  For a free consultation, call today at (847) 395-2200.


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the accident.

Ingleside Accident Leaves Motorcyclist in Critical Condition

A motorcyclist is in critical condition after an accident involving a SUV on route 59 in Ingleside on Sunday. Authorities said the motorcyclist was going northbound on Route 59 near Wilson road when a Jeep struck the motorcycle while attempting to turn left. The critically injured motorcyclist was taken to Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville.

Robert Edens is a Lake County personal injury lawyer who has represented individuals who have been injured in motorcycle accidents. Contact us today at (847) 395-2200 for a free consultation.


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Harvard Man Injured in Roll-Over Accident

According to Harvard authorities a man from unincorporated Harvard rolled over his vehicle while trying to avoid a deer on Monday evening at State Line Rd. and Lilja Rd. When crews arrived on the scene, the man was outside of his vehicle but was not in the road. He sustained minor injuries and was transported to Mercy Harvard Hosptial.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens represent injury victims throughout McHenry County, including those injured in automobile accidents. Call today at (847) 395-2200 for a free initial consultation.


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Two Injured in Motorcycle Accident on I-294

Early afternoon on Sunday two were injured in a motorcycle accident near Rosemont when the motorcycle hit the back of a Toyota on I-294 said Mark Pilgrim of the Illinois State Police. Both of the injury victims did not sustain life-threatening injuries and the driver of the Toyota had no indication of injury.

If you have been injured in any type of accident in Cook, Lake or McHenry County, Robert Edens can help. He has represented injury victims involved in auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, and all type of personal injuries. Call us today for a free consultation.


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