As an employee, if you are injured in the course of your employment, you are likely covered under workers compensation under the laws of Illinois. Though workers compensation traces its roots to the days when many more people were engaged in “high risk” trades where catastrophic injuries were commonplace, the workers compensation system remains in place today to protect men and women engaged in all lines of work, even those with very little injury risk.
Who’s Covered Under Workers Compensation Law In Illinois?
That’s right: even sedentary professions like a lawyer and his or her support staff likely are covered under workers compensation if they are injured in the course of their employment. For example, if my secretary injures her back while moving boxes full of files, she can pursue a workers compensation case against my office for her medical treatment, time lost from work and resulting permanency related to the lingering impact of the injury. Permanency is a term used in workers compensation when referring to a permanent impairment that is caused by a work injury.
No-fault employer responsibility
Unlike most types of personal injury cases that require an injured party to establish fault on the part of a wrongdoing party, you do not need to prove fault to pursue a workers compensation case. Similarly, an injured worker is likely limited in his or her recovery from the employer under the terms of the workers compensation act — exclusively.
Benefits afforded to injured workers in Illinois
In Illinois, employers are required to have workers compensation insurance to assure the legal rights of injured employees are satisfied. The statutory rights the Illinois Workers Compensation Act grants injured workers include:
- Medical treatment
- Time lost from work due to injuries
- Permanency benefits for partial or total permanent disabilities
- Vocational training
- Death benefits
Workers that are injured, disabled or have a fatality while on the job are in most cases able to receive compensation for them and their families. However, many people do not know how the worker compensation law works and all the benefits they can receive. In Illinois the weekly benefit maximums and minimums can change every year, so what was offered for the same injury a year ago may have changed. Without an expert on their side, workers may not get all that should be coming to them for their injury. Benefits amounts can differ depending on the wage and salary of the employee and on the type of injury so having legal assistance can help negotiate the best settlement.
How much is my workers compensation case worth?
Understandably so, after the immediate medical needs have been attended to, the attention of most injured workers then focuses on the value of their case. For workers compensation cases in Illinois, ‘value’ of the case is referred to as the ‘lump sum’ settlement or award that is awarded to the injured worker upon his or her return to maximum medical improvement. Once an injured worker has recovered as far as he or she can from their work-related accident, Illinois law allows them to recover a lump sum settlement based upon the extent of their injury and how much money they were making at the time of their injury.
In Illinois each part of the body is is allocated a certain number of ‘weeks’ where an injured worker can recover based upon the extent of his injury to a particular body part. Each injured employee has a responsibility to demonstrate their disability related to their particular injury to the portion of their body alleged.
So for an employee who injured his arm and has only regained 50% functionality, they would be entitled to an award of 50% of an arm under Illinois Workers Compensation Law. When determining the specific dollar figure, the loss of the functionality is calculated against the workers average weekly wage to determine a lump sum award.
Obviously, the employees income at the time of his injury is a substantial factor in determining a case’s value. For example, a person making $1,000.00 per week would get twice as much for a lump sum settlement under Illinois work comp law compared to an employee making $500.00 per week. As an workers compensation attorney, they need to demonstrate the full extent of the impairment in order to recover the maximum amount for each employee.
For a worker who is so significantly injured that he or she can not resume their pre-injury position, Illinois law affords the employee an opportunity to do vocational training and/or an award based upon his diminished earning capacity. In this respect, an employee earning $30.00 per hour at the time of his injury and capable of earning $20.00 per hour thereafter would be entitled to an award based upon the wage differential for the rest of his working life.
In a case of a young worker, they would be entitled to a wage differential award for the entire course of their working life— bit it 10, 20, 30 or 40 years! The amount of a wage differential for an Illinois workers compensation case can be substantial. However, like all aspects of workers compensation law, it is up to the employee to prove the extent of his or her disability– or inability to resume their pre-injury position.
Illinois work comp lawyers seeking to get clients all they deserve
Don’t leave the money that you are entitled to under the Workers Compensation Act sitting with the insurance company!
It is the responsibility of the injured worker to contact the insurance carrier to negotiate a lump sum payment. There is no obligation for insurance carriers to voluntarily pay you your workers compensation benefits. Why not let the Chicago workers compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers assist you in obtaining the maximum statutory benefits that you are entitled to pursuant to workers compensation law? We are experts in what workers are entitled to receive under Illinois law and can help you get the most for your injury to cover your losses.
Similar to our other Chicago personal injury practice areas, we only charge an attorney’s fee when there is a recovery for you. Further, we offer flexible office hours and will even come to your home or hospital to make the process as easy as possible for you. If you or a loved one has had an on-the-job injury, call us to schedule your free consultation right away and let us advise what rights you or your loved one have for compensation.