Work-Related Personal Injury Lawsuits and Third-Party Defense
An overabundance of personal injury lawyers has led to an increasing number of civil lawsuits filed in connection with work-related accidents.
A typical scenario might involve a construction site accident in which a tool or piece of equipment malfunctioned. After the accident, the injured worker files a workers’ compensation claim with his or her employer’s comp carrier. The worker also talks to a personal injury lawyer and files a civil lawsuit against the defective product’s manufacturer. In turn, the manufacturer or its insurer will assert that the injured worker’s employer played a contributing role in the accident and implead the employer as a third-party defendant.
For you, as an employer, this can be a major problem, because it is essentially a “back door” way around the liability protections workers’ compensation insurance is supposed to afford.
At Knell Law L.L.C., you will find the kind of experienced and aggressive legal representation you need to protect your rights and interests. We are a Peoria-based law firm that is dedicated almost exclusively to the defense of workers’ compensation claims for insurers, third-party administrators and employers, and to related matters including third-party defense.
In Illinois, one of the most important third-party defense cases is Kotecki v. Cyclops Welding. In that case, decided in 1991, the Illinois Supreme Court held that an employer’s maximum liability in a third-party suit for contribution is limited to an amount no greater than its liability to its employee (the plaintiff) under the Workers’ Compensation Act. However, the court has held in decisions subsequent to Kotecki that employers can waive their Kotecki protections by contract.
Our attorneys have followed developments in the law with regard to Kotecki waivers and third party beneficiary issues, and they provide aggressive third-party defense representation statewide. If you have concerns in this area, we invite you to get in touch with us about them today.
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