Chicago, IL asked in Wrongful Death and Workers' Compensation for Illinois

Q: My husband was electrocuted and died on the job.

I feel the workplace was unsafe. Do I sue his employer or the subcontractor who maintained the space?

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing

A: I am very sorry. There may be a number of potential people to sue.You want to contact a member of the Illinois Assn for Justice who handles explosions and product liablity. They give free consultations. If you need help finding one let me know.

Generally you can't sue the employer if the person was a regular employee. That is covered by workers compensation.

However there are others involved for a lawyer to look at. Members of the Illinois Assn for Justice will also not charge an up front fee, and will investigate these issues.

Jonathan Rosenfeld
Jonathan Rosenfeld
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: You likely have two separate claims. One would be benefits afforded to an injured worker's family under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. These benefits will provide for yourself and your children pursuant to a statutory schedule of benefits.

If your husband's death was due to the negligence of a 'third-party' (party different from his employer) you may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against them. Unlike workers compensation, a civil case against a third-party is based upon their negligence. Consequently, you have the burden of demonstrating that their acts or omissions caused a dangerous condition that resulted in your husband's electrocution. The investigation and prosecution of third-party cases can be lengthy and convoluted, I would suggest that you retain a lawyer who has experience with these cases who can explain the options for moving forward with a case.

My condolences to you and your family. Good luck.

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