If you are injured on the job, those injuries can have a detrimental effect on your financial and physical well-being. Not only do workplace injuries affect you physically, serious injuries may affect your ability to perform your job. This is called a loss of employability, meaning that future job opportunities are significantly limited.
Workers Compensation at a Glance
If you are injured while at work or while performing job-related duties, your losses are covered under Illinois’ workers compensation laws. The process is supposed to be straightforward. You get hurt on the job and can’t work while you are recovering. So you file a claim for workers comp benefits.
Those benefits help to pay for your lost income and medical bills. The problem is that this requires an employer to file a claim with their insurance company, which will ultimately cost them more money. So your employer and their insurer try to do what they can to minimize or deny your claim.
This is why some people need to hire a work injury lawyer when they are injured at work. An attorney can help you get the benefits you need so that you are not left without income and stuck paying medical bills you can’t afford.
There are a variety of benefits that are available to workers that have been injured in Chicago area.
Depending upon the severity and the nature of the injuries that an employee experiences, workers’ compensation benefits may cover two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wages, medical benefits, and vocational retraining needs.
For employees who may never be able to return to work after severe injuries, Permanent Partial Disability benefits can ensure that they receive compensation. The exact amount of the benefits will all depend on how successfully an injured employee is able to demonstrate his or her injuries and the financial costs of those injuries.
Your employer is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees in the event of an accident. Nicole Sommerfeld routinely handles issues in workers’ compensation claims after an injury on the job. We can help clients who have recent injuries, as well as those who have already been denied workers’ compensation benefits. It is best practice to reach out as soon as possible after the accident has taken place. You need to act promptly to protect your claim.
These benefits are supposed to be automatic for anyone injured on the job. But, unfortunately employers and work comp insurance carriers do not always take that approach. All too often, adjusters deny valid work injury claims. When that happens, employees can be left with untreated injuries or accumulating medical bills, as well as lost wages. This is a good reason to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you with your claim.
An injury can occur in almost any working environment. But some jobs are understandably more dangerous than others. Some workers commonly injured on the job are employees whose work consists of rigorous labor or who deal with hazardous materials.
Injuries taking place on construction sites, warehouses, and other places where heavy machinery is in operation can be especially dangerous and potentially life threatening. Construction accidents are the leading cause of on-the-job injuries and deaths as the work environment is constantly changing, which creates new hazards almost daily.
If you have been hurt on the job, you should report your injury to your superior and seek the medical treatment you need. You should also consider calling a work injury attorney to discuss your accident and whether you have a claim.
An employer that has workers’ compensation insurance is usually immune from a personal injury lawsuit. The point of workers’ comp insurance after all is to maintain benefits for injured workers and protection from legal intervention. However, a work-related injury can also be caused by the negligence or carelessness of another party altogether. When another employee or company is at-fault for a work-related injury, you may be able to file a third party claim. This would be in addition to the workers’ compensation claim, so you could have two cases.
Besides your employer, an example of a third party responsible for your work injury could include a:
For example, a delivery driver injured in an auto accident would have a workers’ compensation case against their employer. In addition, they may also have a separate case against the driver that was the cause of the crash.
Another example would be a worker injured by a piece of machinery that is defective. If a construction worker is injured by defective machinery, like a forklift, they may be able to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer.
Whether or not a third party can be held responsible for your work-related injury depends on the details of your case. These types of situations can become difficult with numerous legal intricacies in each claim, sometimes making it more difficult than a standard work injury case. Every workers comp case and potential third-party claim needs to be investigated thoroughly to determine what happened and who can be held responsible.
An injury on the job entitles an employee to paid medical treatment, as well as payment for the time they miss from work. In addition, a worker may be able to receive a lump sum payment at the conclusion of a case. Medical bills are often sent directly to workers’ compensation insurance for payment, but they are sometimes not paid. This might mean that an employee or the employee’s lawyer will have to fight the insurance company to protect the employee’s rights.
Additionally, payment for time off work can take one of several forms, depending on the nature and degree of the injury. Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are payments made while an employee is recovering from an on-the-job accident and unable to work.
Alternatively, permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are payments made when the employee is able to work again but when the employee suffers permanent damages, limiting his or her ability to perform a job. Finally, permanent total disability (PTD) benefits provide payment to an employee who can no longer work due to injuries at work. These payments are to take the place of a weekly paycheck. Without contacting an attorney, it is unlikely that an employee will receive all the benefits and compensation that the law provides for them.
Remember, even if you were at fault in a work accident, you can still recover for your injuries. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act allows workers to recover for their injuries regardless of fault. Therefore, do not hesitate to call us just because you believe you were at fault or partially to blame.
It is against Illinois law for an employer to harass you or terminate your employment because you have initiated a workers’ compensation claim. If you think you have been terminated due to your claim, you should contact an Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
In addition to disability benefits, workers comp also covers your medical care and medication. This generally includes:
While a work injury case may sound easy, there are many obstacles and pitfalls to a claim. Some common issues that may come up can be:
Another difficult issue is determining what your injury is worth and what amount to settle for. An insurance carrier could offer you money, and you would have no idea if the amount is a fair settlement. Further, you could be missing out on other benefits like permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, a wage loss differential, and/or vocational training.
Often workers that fail to contact a personal injury lawyer never learn that they have a right to a settlement. They never receive any benefits beyond having their medical bills and temporary lost wages paid because they didn’t know their rights.
Workers’ compensation insurance carriers routinely fail to advise work comp claimants of their settlement rights. They do this hoping that the worker will not contact a Chicago work injury attorney and that the three year statute of limitations will lapse.
If you are injured at work, you need to protect your rights. This means following the proper procedure.
The easiest way to protect your legal rights is to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Technically, you can do this verbally or in writing. But to be safe, you should report all on-the-job injuries in writing to the appropriate person.
Illinois requires that you report your injury within a certain period of time (45 days), but you should definitely report your injury the same day or within a few days of the incident. The 45-day rule is meant to accommodate extraordinary circumstances.
The next step you should take is to get medical treatment. Getting the proper medical care can help to catch secondary injuries and prevent complications. Additionally, this exam serves as an official way of documenting your injuries.
Finally, you should contact a workers compensation lawyer. On the job injuries cost employers and insurance companies money. They want to prevent that. That is why you need legal protection in the form of an attorney as soon as possible.
Workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid if they recover money for your case. If your workers’ compensation benefits claim has been denied or you are receiving inadequate benefits, a lawyer will review your claim and decide whether to take on the case. Once both parties decide to work together, the injured party does not have to pay anything out of pocket. Any attorney fees are paid from the compensation recovered for your injuries.
$410,000 –Workers’ Compensation Settlement. Petitioner struck his back on a step while working, requiring surgical fusion to repair his injuries. His post-accident restrictions prevented him from returning to his prior job in the capacity he was able to before the incident occurred.
$145,000 – Work Injury Settlement. The petitioner fell from a ladder and injured her shoulder, requiring surgery and leaving her with permanent restrictions that prevented her from returning to her job.
$330,000 – Work Injury Settlement. Petitioner required surgeries for both of his knees. Before settlement, lawyers secured payment of his medical bills and 33 months of disability pay for his time off work.
$195,000 – Chicago Workers Compensation Claim. Semi-truck driver moving a refrigerator at work with disc herniations in his lumbar spine. Plus an additional $28,000 disability pay for time off work