In Illinois, product liability lawsuits can be filed to hold manufacturers, producers, distributors, retailers, and vendors accountable when their products cause injuries. You need not be the consumer who purchased the product to hold accountable any of these parties who put a dangerous product into the stream of commerce. However, the situation does become particularly complex when an accident involving a dangerously defective product occurs at work. In that case, there may be both a workers’ compensation claim and a product liability lawsuit you can pursue for relief. Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers have more than sixty years of experience handling claims and litigation, including product liability lawsuits, and may be able to represent you.Product Liability
Product liability lawsuits can be complex. They often require expert testimony. Generally, they are pursued under a theory of negligence or strict liability in Illinois. When our lawyers allege negligence in court in connection with a defective product, we will need to show: (1) the defendant owed a duty of care to you, (2) the defendant breached its duty, (3) the breach caused your injuries and the injuries were foreseeable, and (4) you suffered damages as a result of an injury that was compensable.
Strict liability can be a more favorable theory under which to pursue damages in court. Anybody in the chain of distribution from the seller to the retailer can be held strictly liable for a defective product that harms somebody. Our attorneys would need to prove: (1) your injuries arose from a condition or defect of the product that was made or sold by the defendant, (2) the defect was an unreasonably dangerous one, and (3) when the defect existed when the product left the manufacturer’s control.
Products can be defective in terms of their design, manufacturing, or marketing. Even when a product label provides some sort of warning, it could be found inadequate for not giving sufficient or adequate information about the risks.Workers’ Compensation
When a Chicago product liability lawsuit arises out of a work accident, it can be difficult for the worker to know how to proceed. For example, if you are a Ford Assembly worker whose hand is caught in a piece of defective machinery and crushed, you may lose use of your hand. In that situation, you would be able to pursue your losses through both a product liability lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim.
While a product liability lawsuit is filed in court, a workers’ compensation claim is kicked off through notice to the employer, who then notifies its insurer. Unlike civil litigation, the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. The insurer is responsible for making certain payments such as medical benefits, disability benefits, and even, in certain instances, vocational rehabilitation whether it is at fault, or someone else is.
However, an employer and its insurer are entitled to recover some, or all of the payments made to you, in connection with a work-related injury. It is typical for an insurer to retain a subrogation right in the proceeds you obtained through the workers’ compensation claim under section 5b of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/5), which means it can go after the proceeds of your lawsuit.
Many people do not realize that the employer or insurer has this right. You should keep in mind that your employer’s insurer is not on your side, and that these situations can become acrimonious and adversarial. Our experienced lawyers work hard to ensure clients are able to keep the maximum amount to which they are entitled.Hire a Law Firm for Product Liability Issues in Workers’ Compensation Claims
We handle workers’ compensation claims that involve product liability issues in Champaign, Rockford, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. Our Chicago attorneys also handle third party lawsuits, such as those that may need to be brought against a manufacturer, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Call us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or complete our online form.