Chicago workers’ compensation case not so cut and dry for widow seeking restitution

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In an interesting case from Illinois, workers’ compensation was found as an exclusive remedy for the widow of a man killed on the job. The term ‘exclusive remedy’ means that any benefits provided under workers’ compensation are the only remedy (or, in simpler language, ‘monetary award’) available to injured employees or, as in this case, their surviving family members. The rules on exclusive remedy vary from state to state and if you are curious about how they play out in Atlanta, our experienced counsel would be happy to address your questions about this.

Back to our interesting case:  Milovan Prodanic was a maintenance worker and driver for Grossinger Chevrolet in Palatine, Illinois. Court records show that in 2008, Prodanic was sent by Grossinger Chevrolet to fix an overhead garage door at Grossinger City Autocorp, Inc. Grossinger City Autocorp is a Toyota dealership in Chicago that is owned by the party that owns Grossinger Chevrolet.

While Prodanic was working on the garage door that day, it was activated. Records show that the activation caused Prodanic’s fall from an elevated platform, and he died as a result of this fall.  Milovan Prodanic’s widow filed a wrongful death suit against City Autocorp. A Cook County, Illinois circuit court found that workers’ comp was the exclusive remedy for Ms. Prodanic, since her husband was a ‘borrowed employee’ of another company owned by parent company of the deceased’s employer.

Ms. Prodanic appealed, arguing that her husband should not be considered an on-loan employee under Illinois workers’ compensation law because Prodanic’s salary and workers’ comp coverage was paid exclusively by Grossinger Chevrolet.

Illinois’ 1st District Appellate Court upheld the circuit court’s decision in a unanimous panel ruling last week. In its decision, the court said that workers become employees of companies to which they are loaned while performing special tasks. Even though Prodanic’s employment originated with the Chevy dealership, the appellate court said that he’s also considered a City Autocorp employee because managers at that company had the power to direct his work no matter which premises the work was carried out on.

“The record… shows that at a minimum, an implied contract for hire existed between (Mr. Prodanic) and City Autocorp,” the ruling reads.

Sometimes cases have special circumstances or tricky ins and outs that you as a layperson may not know about. We’d be happy to guide you and work toward the most optimum solution for you where your Georgia workers’ compensation case is concerned. Give us a call!



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