Our workers' compensation attorneys in Chicago take the rights of workers seriously when it comes to recovering benefits for their injuries. Our law firm works strictly with injury cases and has successfully recovered compensation on behalf of clients whose injuries were due to the careless actions of their employers, coworkers, and other negligent parties. If you have been injured on the job, a Chicago workers' comp lawyer from our firm can help you get the financial recovery and benefits you are entitled to.
Choose the Top Workers' Comp Attorney at Our Chicago Injury Firm
Our law firm is honored to be sought out by workers and their families following an incident on the job that results in injuries. We recently settled a lawsuit for $2.25 million on behalf of a warehouse worker who injured his legs when he was struck by a forklift. In a separate matter, one of our Chicago work injury lawyers settled a case for $800,000 for a union plumber who injured his back when he assisted in the unloading of pipes on a job site.
If you’ve been hurt on the job, complete our online intake form for a free review of your situation today. One of our Chicago work injury lawyers will advise you of your legal options for filing a case without cost or obligation on your part. Our law firm represents injured workers with all types of personal injury, wrongful death, and workers’ comp cases across the state of Illinois.
The Role of Workers’ Compensation in Work-Related Injury Cases
If you are injured due to the negligence of your employer or coworkers, you are limited to benefits provided under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. The law provides for three primary types of benefits for people injured on the job:
- Lost Time Benefits: You can receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage when you are deemed to be temporarily totally disabled (TTD) by a treating physician.
- Medical Expenses: Your employer must pay for medical care causally related to your work injury.
- Lump-Sum Payment: The law provides for a lump-sum payment to workers who have a permanent disability as a result of their injury. The amount is determined by a set schedule of injuries related to specific body parts and the wages at the time of the injury.
These benefits are statutory in nature and apply regardless of who caused your accident, including yourself. While these benefits appear to be straightforward, there is room for interpretation, meaning that the value assessed for your benefits by an employer may be significantly less than what the law provides for. Having a Chicago work injury lawyer on your side can ensure that your benefits are fairly assessed.
Our work accident lawyers in Chicago represent people from across Illinois in workers’ compensation cases. All of our work comp cases are handled on a contingency fee basis: A legal fee is only received when we are successful in recovering benefits on your behalf. Complete our online intake form and your case will be reviewed by our lawyers for work-related injuries in Chicago.
Rights of Injured Workers When a Third Party Causes an Accident
When a party aside from a direct employer or coworker causes or contributes to your injury, you are entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits from your employer and pursue that party for civil damages that are not covered under workers’ compensation.
Cases pursued under civil law as opposed to workers’ compensation generally have greater value, as the potential damages far exceed those available under workers’ compensation.
Possible grounds for third-party work injury lawsuits include:
- Negligence: Negligence is the basis used for filing a lawsuit against a person or company who fails to use reasonable care, resulting in an injury or death of another person.
Example: A laborer is injured while working on a construction site when a subcontractor’s employee throws debris from the roof. In this situation, the laborer could likely pursue a case against the company of the individual who threw the debris.
- Premises Liability: When the owner of a property fails to maintain their premises in a safe manner and a person is injured as a result, they may file a lawsuit against the property owner for their injuries.
Example: While making a delivery to a restaurant, a delivery person falls down a flight of stairs due to improperly installed carpeting. In this situation, the delivery person could likely pursue a case against the restaurant owner and/or the owner of the property.
- Product Liability: If you were injured due to a defective product, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the equipment or machine that caused your injury.
Example: While working on a punch press machine, an assembly-line worker injures his hands because the machine does not shut off properly. In this situation, the employee could pursue a case against the manufacturer and/or the company in charge of maintaining the machine.
- Wrongful Death: The family of a worker fatally injured due to the conduct of a party aside from the deceased’s employer can file a lawsuit to pursue damages for loss of emotional and financial support.
Example: The family of a construction worker fatally struck by a truck while working on a highway repair project could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking company.
Damages Recoverable in Third-Party Lawsuits
- Pain and Suffering: Civil law allows an injured person to recover financial compensation for pain they experience as a result of their injuries as well as their medical treatment and rehabilitation.
- Lost Wages: An injured worker can recover both past and future lost wages when their injuries prevent them from returning to their position. This applies to situations in which significant injuries render a worker permanently disabled.
- Medical Expenses: All medical expenses incurred as a result of a job-related injury or accident are compensable under Illinois law. Examples would include emergency room care, hospitalization, surgical fees, pharmacy expenses, physical therapy, and assistive medical devices.
- Disability: Many people become permanently disabled due to incidents that occur while on the job. In these situations, Illinois law allows the worker to receive compensation for their lost wages.
Time Constraints to File a Workers’ Compensation or Third-Party Lawsuit
It is important to understand that Illinois law has a strict statute of limitations for filing any type of lawsuit. Your failure to file a case within the statutory guidelines will forever bar your recovery.
For workers’ compensation cases, a worker has three years from the date of the incident or two years from the last date their employer voluntarily paid benefits to them, whichever is later.
In a situation where a person is injured on the job and is filing a third-party lawsuit against an entity, they typically have two years from the date of the incident to file a case. An exception to this rule would be in a construction setting, where an injured worker has four years to file a lawsuit.
As you can see from the situations above, the application of the law can be very fact-specific. Consequently, it is important to consult with a workplace injury attorney in Chicago to see what the time constraints are in your particular situation.
Industries and Situations With Unique Laws Protecting Workers
The presumption is that if you are injured on the job in Illinois, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some exceptions to the rule that deserve to be addressed. The situations below are unique because the laws that apply to workers injured in these contexts fall outside of the scope of both workers’ compensation and tort law.
- Railroad Workers: The United States government has deemed railroad work to be so dangerous that they created a special law to protect these people. The Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA) allows an injured railroad worker to recover compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering when their injuries are causally related to their work. Read more about FELA cases on our FAQ page.
- Maritime Workers: When a person who regularly works on a boat is injured, they can file a lawsuit against their employer under the Jones Act. The act allows a worker to pursue damages for the employer’s negligence and recover compensation for lost wages, pain, and medical expenses. Visit our Jones Act FAQ page for more information.
- Toxic Substances: Workers in many industries are regularly exposed to toxic substances that may result in illnesses with an immediate or delayed onset. In the case of workers exposed to asbestos who have developed mesothelioma, a trust fund has been established by the asbestos industry to ensure that people can receive compensation, regardless of whether they can determine the manufacturer. Visit our mesothelioma FAQ page to learn more.
Industries in Which Our Law Firm Has Represented Injured Workers
While any person could be injured at work, these professions are considered to be some of the most dangerous occupations. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has been fortunate enough to represent some of these workers in workers’ compensation and civil lawsuits.
- Construction Workers: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21.4% of all work-related fatalities were related to the construction industry in 2015. The leading causes of construction accident fatalities were falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in or -between incidents.
- Factory Workers: While manufacturing jobs continue to dwindle in the United States, around 12.4 million Americans earn a living working at a factory. Frequent causes of injuries in factory settings include getting limbs caught in machines, repetitive use injuries, forklift accidents, and exposure to toxic substances.
- Agricultural Workers: People working on farms and with livestock are considered agricultural workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2014, 761,000 people worked in this industry. Primary job risks include exposure to chemicals, injuries with heavy machinery, and overexertion.
- Refinery Worker: Workers in the oil and gas industry continue to experience a heightened risk of injury on the job due to the inherent dangers of the work and industry failure to adhere to safety regulations. Frequent refinery worker injuries may be related to falls, explosions, transportation accidents, toxic exposure, and incidents involving heavy machinery.
- Refuse Workers: Workers in the garbage collection and recycling industries have a fatality rate 10 times that of the average worker. Because they are frequently working with heavy loads and large trucks, workers experience injuries related to lifting, accidents on highways, and machinery.
- Health Care Workers: According to the BLS, by 2024, more than 2.3 million people are expected to be employed in the health care industry. Many people in this field are nurses, nurses’ assistants, and hospital workers. They frequently work with ill patients who pose risks to the workers who must lift and assist them.
- Trucking and Logistics Workers: Almost every product we purchase has spent some time on a truck or in a warehouse. The pressure to deliver goods more efficiently puts added strain on these workers. People in this industry are exposed to risks involving truck accidents, loading docks, warehousing, forklifts, and rail yards.
- Utility Company Workers: In 2013, OSHA collected $300,458 in fines related to safety violations in this field. Workers in the utility industry are at risk of injuries related to falls from utility posts, electrocution, falling debris, and cave-ins in excavated areas.
Get an Experienced Work Injury Law Firm to Protect Your Legal Rights
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is one of the leading workplace injury firms in Illinois because we place the current and future needs of clients first when taking on these cases. Our access to a network of medical professionals, economists, and other specialists doesn’t just allow us to build a case on your behalf; it also allows us to connect you with the resources you will need to address your physical and emotional recovery.
Contact us now to arrange a free consultation with one of our Chicago work injury attorneys so that we can evaluate your case and help you on the path to your physical, emotional and financial recovery. All of our work injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis: If we are unable to help you secure the compensation that you deserve for your injuries, our services will be free of charge.