Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Illinois: Intervening Insurer is Not a Party to Injured Worker's Third-Party Tort Suit

December 09, 2020 (1 min read)

Under section 5(b) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act [820 ILCS 305/5(b)], an employer or insurer who intervenes in a civil action filed by the injured employee against a third-party is only allowed to play a limited role in such litigation, held a state appellate court. The employer or insurer does not become a “party” to the underlying litigation by intervening to protect its lien. It was error, therefore, for a state trial court to hold an intervening insurer in contempt for failing to comply with discovery orders. The trial court's sanctions order entered against the insurer was also inappropriate, held the court. The insurer had contended it would have cost $200,000 to comply with the plaintiff's discovery request, an amount that exceeded its lien. The appellate court noted that the plaintiffs had provided no contradictory evidence as to the insurer's contention and held that in as much as it was not a "party" to the underlying lawsuit, it was not subject to the ordinary discovery rules.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Burdess v. Cottrell, Inc., 2020 IL App (5th) 190279, 2020 Ill. App. LEXIS 810 (Dec. 1, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 116.05.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

Sign up for the free LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation enewsletter at