According to long term employment projections released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security in 2012, there are almost 6.2 million industrial workers in the state, with the expectation that industrial professions will gain another 500,000 workers before 2022. The Illinois work injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers specialize in defending the rights and interests of the many workers who are injured on the job. In addition to providing expert legal representation, it is our goal to educate the public about their rights and how the workers’ compensation works in the State of Illinois. Many of those who are injured in workplace accidents leave benefits on the table simply because they are unaware of their right to those benefits.
Each Industry Presents Different Risks
Located at the center of the continent and home to the industrious city of Chicago, Illinois is an industry behemoth and major transportation hub. This invites millions of industrial jobs to the state and while many of these jobs bolster the state economy, they also pose specific safety risks to employees. The transportation industry provides the most industrial jobs, for example, but transportation work is also the most dangerous. In 2012, 1,188,098 workers were employed by transportation or logistics companies and transportation accidents were the cause of 31% of work related fatalities.
To put things in perspective, only 4% of the work accidents reported in 2011 occurred in the transportation industry. Overexertion and contact with objects and machinery were the cause of 62% of the work related injuries during that year, but the majority of those injuries were non-fatal while transportation injuries proved to be far more deadly. Accidents resulting from slips, trips and falls represented 24% of the injuries reported and 16% of fatalities. The majority of fall accidents occur on construction sites.
What the data suggests is that each industry has its own unique set of risks. While transportation work is linked to more wrongful death cases, construction, agriculture and manufacturing present a greater risk of the worker living with a permanent disability following an accident rather than being killed on the jobsite. Workers’ compensations laws were created to protect employees in the event they are injured on the job so that they can continue to provide for their families.
What You Need to Know about Workers’ Compensation Benefits Offered in Illinois
There are about 200,000 workplace injuries reported every year in Illinois, but fewer than 50,000 of these injuries result in considerable recovery time and lost wages. In 2013, there were roughly 42,543 new cases filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission— meaning the cases were not resolved privately between the workers and their employers and required action by the Commission. Following are your rights when you’ve suffered a work injury.
- You have the right to receive reimbursement of the cost of your emergency medical treatment and any subsequent treatment required to treat your injuries. The state takes this right seriously and if your employer fails to provide compensation within a reasonable time frame or makes a deliberate attempt to underpay, you may be awarded punitive damages equal to 50% of the cost of your care.
- You are also entitled to collect 67% of your pay during your recovery. If you suffer from an injury that permanently impacts your ability to work, you may be able to recover compensation in a lump sum that is meant to cover the cost of your lost opportunities.
- If your accident was the result of negligence of a company who was not your direct employer, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against them for additional damages, including for your pain and suffering and out of pocket expenses.
Our Illinois work injury lawyers occasionally stumble upon employers who lack the state mandated insurance that must be provided in the event workers are injured. It can be frustrating and discouraging to learn that your employer is unable to provide the compensation you are entitled to under employment laws or to learn that your benefits won’t cover the long term costs of your medical care and rehabilitation. Illinois has set up a series of funds to address some of these concerns, however, so it is still possible to recover the compensation you need to be able to lead a productive life after a debilitating injury. These funds include the following.
- The Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund— In 2005, this fund was created to provide compensation to workers in the event their employers did not have insurance to cover the cost of their medical care and lost wages following their injuries. The fund uses fines leveraged against noncompliant companies to meet these needs.
- The Rate Adjustment Fund— Created in 1975, the purpose of this fund is to provide benefits to workers who have been permanently disabled in the value of their cost of living increases over time. The fund also provides benefits to the families of workers killed in fatal accidents.
- Second Injury Fund— In an effort to encourage employers to hire employees who had previously suffered debilitating injuries, the Second Injury Fund was created to assume the cost of the employees’ prior injuries so that employers would only be liable for the cost of future injuries.
The Benefit an Attorney Brings to Your Case
Our Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers are often asked why workers need legal representation if their workers’ compensation benefits are guaranteed by law. 86% of workers who bring cases to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission are represented by an attorney. The primary reason is that employers and the insurance companies that cover the cost of workers’ compensation claims often make attempts to underpay injured workers or take advantage of their lack of knowledge. Our attorneys have decades of experience and have a deep understanding of the law. This guarantees that you will receive every last penny to which you are entitled when filing a claim.
We are also able to evaluate your case to determine whether you have a personal claim against your employer or a third party that contributed to your injuries. The most important benefit we are able to offer, however, is access to a large network of medical professionals who will not only be there to offer quality medical care, but can also provide valuable testimony during your case to substantiate the value of your future medical bills and therapy. Your physical and financial recoveries are of equal importance to us and it is our goal to help you move on from your injuries as quickly as possible without needing to worry about the cost.
Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to speak with one of our Illinois work injury attorneys about your legal options and schedule a free consultation. If you are unable to meet with us at one of our offices throughout Illinois, we will be happy to come to you. Our lawyers work solely on a contingency basis, so you will never be required to pay us a fee until we have secured the compensation that you are entitled to.