As an American Airlines International flight attendant, you travel a great deal and may encounter unexpected, even dangerous situations, not only on the plane, but while on layovers or in hotel restaurants. If you’re injured in the scope of employment, you’re entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. However, if a third party contributes to or causes your work injury, you may be able to also file a civil lawsuit against the third party to recover damages. You need to be aware that American Airlines or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier may have the right to recover expenses related to payment of workers’ compensation when a third party was at fault. This is called a subrogation interest. Subrogation of American Airlines international flight attendant claims can be extremely complicated. If your work-related injuries may have been caused by someone other than your employer, you should consult the experienced Chicago workers compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. As an AV-rated law firm, we’ve fought for fair compensation for more than 60 years.
Subrogation of American Airlines International Flight Attendant Claims
Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. Through this system, lawmakers intended you to be able to recover benefits without needing to establish an employer’s liability as you would in court. In exchange, you cannot sue your employer for work-related injuries and your benefits may be less than what you’d recover if liability were established in a lawsuit. However, if a third party is responsible for your work injuries in Chicago, you may be able to pursue damages in a lawsuit against that person or entity.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act creates a lien that is meant to stop an injured worker’s double recovery from a personal injury lawsuit arising from an injury you sustain that would be compensable under the Act. For example, if you’re staying overnight in an airport during a layover, and the bed in your hotel room collapses and you’re injured, you could have a claim against the airport hotel. For another example, if construction is ongoing in the breezeway leading from the airport to the airplane door, and unsafe work conditions result in you suffering a back injuries, you may have grounds to sue the construction company and airport. Similarly, if you’re a flight attendant who is injured due to defective equipment, you may be able to pursue damages in a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the equipment. The airline would be subrogated to your interests.
Under 820 ILCS 305/5(b) an employer has a right of reimbursement for compensation it pays to an employee if a work injury is found to be caused by the actions of a third party. The employer’s right to reimbursement is protected by statute. To the extent that American Airlines and its insurer do waive rights, the waiver must be explicit with regard to section 5(b).
It is very helpful to retain a Chicago attorney who understands both workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits. When there are multiple people potentially at fault for the accident and the employer may bear some responsibility, too, subrogation of American Airlines International flight attendants requires an attorney to sort through competing interests and strategies to look out for the flight attendant’s best interests.
Even if they can obtain reimbursement, your employer and its insurer are still supposed to pay a pro rata share of costs and reasonably necessary expenses in connection with the third-party lawsuit and attorneys’ fees of 25% of the gross amount of reimbursement.
Notifying American Airlines
You should notify American Airlines of work-related injuries as soon as possible, and certainly within 45 days. You should also notify it if you are bringing a third-party lawsuit. The employer then has a chance to join your civil lawsuit. It may protect its lien by petitioning to intervene or serving a lien letter. American Airlines can sue the third-party directly to enforce its statutory lien under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act for benefits paid related to the accident, if you choose not to do so.
Sometimes workers’ compensation claims are pending at the same time as personal injury lawsuits. If an employer has a lien against your third-party lawsuit, you won’t be able to enter a release or settlement of the claim without the employer’s written consent unless the employer has been fully indemnified or is protected by a court order.
Hire Our Lawyers When Subrogation Rights May Be Involved
Subrogation of American Airlines International flight attendant claims requires extremely careful handling. You should talk to the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We represent flight attendants in Champaign, Rockford, 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.