Home » The Difference Between Civil Cases and Workers Compensation Cases

I wanted to talk to you today about the difference between us what I’ll call a civil case and a workers compensation case. Kirkpatrick Law Offices is a workers compensation lawyer in Swansea, IL and we represent only plaintiffs. By “plaintiffs” I’m referring to the people that get hurt. My office has never represented an insurance company and we never will.

My office handles both civil cases as a personal injury lawyer in Swansea, IL, and workers compensation cases; in other words, we handle cases for anybody injured in any respect.  But, I wanted to inform you of the difference between a worker’s compensation case and a civil case.

Civil cases are things such as automobile accidents, product liability cases people who are hurt in construction accidents medical malpractice and any lawsuit where another individual has been negligent and caused somebody to have an injury.

Those civil cases are filed in the circuit court or in the federal court depending on the circumstances but those civil cases are ultimately are determined by a jury. If they’re not settled beforehand, the civil cases are claims that go through your local circuit court generally speaking. Those are the ones that you see on television where there’s the jury trial. You might also read about them in the newspaper when a large verdict against the company, doctor, hospital or maybe an automobile accident trucking accident etc.  Those cases that are filed are not against your employer.

On the other hand, a worker’s compensation case is a totally different animal from a civil case. It is a situation where you are hurt in the course of your employment. The technical terminology is that you are injured in an accident that arose out of and in the course of your employment.

A workers compensation case is handled through the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. The paperwork for a Workers Comp case is filed in Chicago. There is no jury. There is no process of discovery. Workers compensation cases all go before an arbitrator not a judge. These these cases are held throughout Illinois. For example, in southern Illinois the main dockets are in Mount Vernon, Heron and Collinsville. Then there are other dockets throughout the state.

A person is not allowed to sue their employer directly in a civil case. Other times we might see cases where there are both the workers compensation case and a civil case at play. This means that somebody was hurt at work but there was also a third partysomeone other than the employer that is believed to be responsible for the accident.

Just recently an ironworker came into the office having fallen at work well as it turns out the step that he fell on was negligently or carelessly built by another contractor who was on the same job.  This person has a workers compensation case against his employer and  will likely file a civil lawsuit against the other contractor who created this danger through their negligence.

Again, my office handles both aspects – Civil and Workers Compensation Cases, but we always represent the plaintiffs. We do not represent the insurance companies. If i can help you out, or if you want to discuss your case, give us a ring at: 618-239-6070