Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Worker Injury Lawyer
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is responsible for ensuring that state roads, streets, and highways are safe for motorists and commuters using public transportation, riding a bicycle, or walking. To do this, the State hires roadway maintenance crews who repair potholes, install signage and remove roadway debris.
IDOT road crews are a part of the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees), the largest public-employee union in the United States.
Were you or a family member injured while working at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)? If so, you are likely entitled to worker's comp benefits. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are legal advocates for injured Illinois workers.
Contact the Chicago workers' compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC for more information and a free review of your legal rights and options.
IDOT Work-Related Accidents
Even under the best conditions, working on a roadway maintenance crew is a dangerous occupation because road crews must often perform their duties within inches of motorists speeding past an area temporarily under construction or repair.
The number of individuals killed every year in motor vehicle accidents in work zones has risen substantially. Out of the more than 40,000 serious accidents in work zone areas every year, many involve roadway maintenance crews and construction employees.
IDOT road crews are taught “safety on the job” and what to do before stopping their vehicle on a state highway to make repairs or perform maintenance. Typically, some safety measures include increasing the vehicle and employee's visibility and using roadway cones to direct the motorist to slow down.
Roadway crews are taught to pull off the road completely when installing or repairing signs, picking up trash, filling potholes, and other work performed in a temporary work zone.
Increasing Work-related Injuries and Fatalities
Unfortunately, state workers and roadway maintenance crews are being injured at an alarming rate. Any time an IDOT employee is driving in a state-owned truck or performing repairs and maintenance on the roads and roadsides on behalf of the State, they are at extreme risk of serious injuries or fatalities.
The hazard of working on the road is often generated by traffic congestion, excessive speed limits, and impatient drivers who are stressed, agitated, and restless while waiting in traffic, driving at slow speeds, or traveling in adverse weather conditions.
A report released by the US Department of Transportation revealed that the leading cause of fatalities and workplace injuries occurring in temporary construction zone areas involve:
- Speeding traffic
- Distracted driving is when motorists use smartphones, send text messages, read email, converse with occupants, eat, drink, groom, or use electronic devices like GPS navigational systems.
- Failure to obey signs when motorists attempt to move out of the lane under construction or repair before it is too late. This reckless behavior endangers the lives of roadway maintenance crews.
- Over-exertion is a serious problem for state road maintenance crews, especially during the hot and cold months of the year when working long hours in extreme temperatures can lead to significant injuries.
Below is a sample of injuries and fatalities involving full-time and temporary highway maintainers working for the Illinois DOT.
- Woodstock, IL [August 2011] – An IDOT worker suffered a serious injury and died on the morning of August 22, 2011, after being struck by a vehicle in Woodstock, a northwest suburb of Chicago. The 34-year-old Kenosha, Wisconsin Illinois DOT maintenance employee Ryan Nichols was hit and killed in traffic by a Mercury Grand Marquis that was driven by a Woodstock resident driving westbound on Route 14.
Just before hitting the IDOT employee, the driver of the car made a left turn onto Route 14. Paramedics for the Woodstock Fire Rescue District transported Nichols to the Woodstock Centegra Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
- Stark County, IL [February 2014] – A 49-year-old part-time IDOT worker was killed while operating a snowplow in Stark County during late morning hours. The IDOT employee had been a part of the winter operations team for five years. The crash occurred on Illinois Route 17, two miles west of Toulon.
AFSCME members can contact their area International Union office located at:
9075 N. Meridian St., Suite 200
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Chicago area counsels and affiliates are located at:
Counsel 31 Chicago Headquarters
205 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2100
Chicago, IL 60601
5509 N. Cumberland, Room 505
Chicago, IL 60656
House Staff Association of Chicago
1900 W. Polk St., Room 612
Chicago, IL 60612
IDOT roadway construction maintenance crews must manage their work zone effectively to avoid accidental injuries. The AFSCME union and the state Department of Transportation provide construction zone management guidelines to limit the potential risk of suffering serious injuries or dying in a road repair accident.
These guidelines include:
- Keep signage well maintained and clean
- Issue radio and press releases to inform the public of area roads temporarily under repair.
- Use traffic controlling devices to coordinate construction traffic movements in the traveling public.
- Place traffic control workers in strategic locations for visual contact or use two-way radio communication to move traffic safely through the temporary construction zone. Controllers must wear conspicuous clothing that passing motorists easily detect.
- Lower traveling speed before and in the construction zone is limited to a speed consistent with safe traffic movement and site operation.
- Avoid posting needless and redundant roadway markings and traffic control signs in the area approaching the temporary roadway construction zone to avoid confusing the motorists.
Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim: Wrongful Death and Serious Injury Cases
All injured workers hurt on the job, including Illinois DOT employees, have a legal right to recover compensation when injured at work.
These benefits are paid by the employer's insurance company that must provide payment for the employee's medical expenses, lost wages, total/partial disabilities, and other damages.
Surviving families of victims who died in preventable accidents can file wrongful death lawsuits seeking the same compensation in addition to funeral and burial expenses.
However, filing a claim with the insurance company and resolving the monetary recovery case is complex and often requires the skills of personal injury attorneys who specialize in worker's comp negligence laws and employer obligations.
Contact our attorneys at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation to discuss how the proximate cause likely resulted in your injuries to prevent the insurance company from denying our claim for your injuries.
Contact An IDOT Worker's Compensation & Injury Law Firm
If you have been injured on the job while working as a state employee, it can be frustrating and overwhelming when attempting to navigate through government agency bureaucracy to receive the financial recompense you deserve.
Our law firm encourages you to contact our state employee occupational injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to discuss how your personal injury lawyer can handle every part of your case.
Our Illinois worker's comp law firm provides legal services through a contingency fee arrangement, meaning your personal injury lawyer will not be paid until you obtain your compensation through a negotiated out-of-court settlement or jury trial award.
Our Chicago, Illinois personal injury law firm will work aggressively on your behalf to defend the truth about how you were injured and hold IDOT and any other defendant responsible for their negligence.
Our attorneys' provable track record proves our professional service serves our clients' best interests throughout northern and southern Illinois, including Cook County, Kane County, DeKalb County, DuPage County, Lake County, Winnebago County, Sangamon County, and Will County.