COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Difference Between ‟Occupational Accident Insurance and Workers' Compensation Insurance”

Chicago Lawyers for Workers’ Compensation Claims

Truckers face significant risks while on the job. These risks are often related to accidents, but in some cases, they are the result of the strains of operating a truck. If you sustained injuries in a work-related accident in Illinois, you may need to bring a workers’ compensation claim. It is important to be aware of the differences between benefits from occupational accident insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. The seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca have more than 60 years of experience advocating for truck drivers and other workers who have workers’ compensation, personal injury, and SSDI claims. We explore every option, including the different types of insurance that may be available to address your losses for a job-related injury or illness.

Difference Between Occupational Accident Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance and occupational accident insurance address work-related injuries but have some significant differences. The workers’ compensation system in Illinois is state-administered. Illinois law mandates that employers provide workers’ compensation insurance for nearly every employee whose job is within the state. There are some exemptions, but it is relatively rare that an employee of a private company in Chicago is not covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Employers that knowingly and willfully fail to get workers’ compensation insurance can be fined a maximum of $500 for each day they are noncompliant, with a minimum fine of $10,000.

When our attorneys are able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, these benefits may include coverage of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for work-related injuries, along with partial wage replacement in the form of disability benefits.

In contrast, occupational accident insurance gives employees and employers financial protection in case of job-related injuries. However, while workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory and state-administered, occupational accident insurance is private. With the latter, employers have much more leeway about how much coverage to provide. Generally, this type of insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages only up to policy limits selected by the employer, and so there’s a cap on what kind of relief you may be able to obtain when handling a claim through the occupational accident policy issued by the occupational accident insurer.

There are strengths and weaknesses to both types of insurance plans.

Advantages of Workers’ Compensation

Employee medical expenses and wage replacement can occur through the workers’ compensation system, which is a no-fault system. However, employees must be able to show the injury is work-related. Additionally, it’s important to be aware that as a truck driver who is injured on the job, you will not be able to obtain pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, or other noneconomic damages through the workers’ compensation system.

As a worker, you typically cannot bring a lawsuit against your employer for punitive damages or noneconomic losses like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment. Your exclusive remedy against an employer may be workers’ comp benefits. Our attorneys will need to bear the burden of showing injuries are work-related.

Occupational Accident Insurance

Occupational accident insurance policies are significantly more complex than the workers’ compensation system. While employer exposure for compensation may be higher under occupational accident insurance, the terms of the individual policy are controlling. The insurance company assesses the risks of employers and the accidents in their workplaces and charges a deductible accordingly. In most cases, occupational accident insurance policies are less expensive than workers’ compensation coverage.

Sometimes truck drivers are owner-operators who are independent contractors. They are not covered by the workers’ compensation and occupational disease laws in that case. However, as an owner-operator, you may be able to obtain compensation through an occupational accident insurance policy.

Consult an Experienced Attorney for Truck Drivers

If you are a truck driver who was injured on the job or a loved one of a truck driver who died for job-related reasons, you should take care to give notice to the entity for which you work, even if you are unsure about whether you are entitled to benefits, and you should also seek legal representation. Our experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers represent truck drivers in Rockford, Champaign, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.