Purpose of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

In Illinois, Workers’ Compensation is designed to promote the general welfare by providing compensation for accidental injuries, illnesses, or death suffered in the course of employment to most workers with job-related injuries. According to the Supreme Court of Illinois, “the primary purpose of the Act is to provide employees a prompt, sure, and definite compensation, together with a quick and efficient remedy for injuries or death suffered by such employees in the course of their employment (O’Brien v. Chicago City Railway Co. 305 Ill. 244; Raymond v. Industrial Com. 354 Ill. 586) and to require the cost of such injuries to be borne by the industry itself and not by its individual members.” O’Brien v. Rautenbush, 10Ill. 2d 167 (1956). In other words, the purpose is to provide protection to employees by providing them with prompt, and equitable, compensation for their injuries. The Act is a substitute from the harsh fault-based common-law rights and liabilities of employees and employers regarding work-related injuries or deaths. In this regard, the Act requires payment of benefits regardless of fault.  This means that the general requirement for an injured party to prove the other party was at fault for their injury  is not applicable to Workers Compensation cases. In this way, the Act provides financial protections for injured workers by providing benefits to those workers without forcing them to show negligence on the part of the employer. Under the Act an injured or sick worker can receive a portion of their wages, medical benefits, and expenses.

The Act also frees injured workers from harsh common-law defenses. For example, employees will not be punished for making a mistake because the Act prohibits a reduction in those benefits under the common-law defense of “contributory negligence.”

If you, or a loved one, has been injured at work, then you need information about your rights. At Shunneson Law Office, I am devoted to demanding an insurance company cover your injuries following accidents. Call 847.693.9120 for more information or contact us to schedule a consultation. Located in Lake County, Illinois, with meeting locations throughout Chicago, we have the ability to meet with you at any convenient Chicagoland location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. However, evening and weekend appointments are available upon request by calling 847.693.9120.

-Drake Shunneson (copyright 2012)

NOTICE: The materials provided are for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice. It may also be viewed as advertising material. You should contact us directly, or your attorney, to obtain advice to any issue or problems. This article, by itself, does not create an attorney-client relationship and the opinions are those of the individual author and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Office or any other individual, attorney, entity or individual. Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net While the author has utilized his experience and knowledge of workers compensation law in writing this article, as well as many articles, books, statutes, regulatory rules, treatises, and internet sources, some of the ideas and material for this article were obtained from the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Illinois Workers’ Compensation Practice Guide (2011), which deserves special recognition.