Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyer
A workplace injury can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about your future. You may be missing out on paychecks, accumulating medical bills, future economic losses, lost wages and being overwhelmed with paperwork.
Losing work due to a job-related injury can be an extremely stressful and uncertain time. Thankfully, Illinois law protects workers from negative fallout-related job injuries by requiring employers to carry workers' compensation insurance.
However, many injured workers are missing out on all the compensation they deserve. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are here to help.
Every day, our Chicago worker's compensation lawyers fight on behalf of injured workers just like you. If your employer denies your claim and you are unsure where to turn for help, our work injury lawyers can provide the workers' comp legal support you need.
Our Chicago workers' compensation attorneys will stand by your side to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your workplace injuries.
When you work hard and suffer a serious injury, we fight to help you get the Illinois workers' compensation benefits and medical treatment you need and deserve. Call an experienced injury attorney at our Chicago law firm today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.
Workers' Compensation Benefits
Like most people, you want to focus on recovery and putting your life back together. But unfortunately, you may not have the time or energy to dedicate to filing claims or dealing with legal issues stemming from your work injury. For these reasons, many injured workers could be missing out on all the benefits they deserve.
Our Chicago workers' compensation lawyers can help. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our workers' comp lawyers work with you to determine the best ways to secure your rights and maximize your benefits.
Workers' comp benefits can include reimbursement for all reasonable medical expenses related to treatment for the work injury. Additional permanent total disability benefits are available for those so severely injured that they cannot return to work.
For example, if an injured worker is forced out of work due to their injuries, they may be entitled to partial wages. In addition, an injured worker may receive a lump sum workers' comp settlement to compensate for their pain and suffering.
The Illinois Workers' Compensation System Ensures Wage and Medical Benefits to Injured Workers
In the days following a workplace injury, you likely have many questions regarding your benefits and rights through the Illinois workers' compensation system. You may even see advertisements from Illinois law firms that claim to offer fast cash in exchange for filing a worker's comp claim.
Unfortunately, these companies do not have your best interests at heart. Our Chicago workers' compensation lawyers will provide you with professional legal representation throughout the entirety of your case.
Our personal injury law firm is committed to providing you with the finest representation possible. Your workers' compensation attorney will never ask you to sign away any of your rights or accept any small or large settlement that doesn't fully compensate you for personal injuries.
Common Accidents Leading to Workers' Compensation Benefits
According to the Illinois Worker's Compensation Commission, the most common workplace accidents leading to fatalities are:
- Fall accidents: 16% of incoming fall case claims that result in work-related deaths
- Struck by object: 10% of incoming claims in the construction industry that result in death
- Caught in/between objects: 8% of incoming claims that result in death
- Caught in/between equipment: 7% of incoming claims involving dangerous industries that result in wrongful death
- Roadway incidents: 5% of incoming claims that result in wrongful death in a car accident
- Transportation and motor vehicle accidents: 4% of incoming claims that result in death
- Construction site accidents: 7% of claims occur in the construction industry where workers who are severely injured on the job from faulty equipment receive benefits
- Exposure to toxic chemicals: 2% of workers obtain damages in certain industries when exposed to highly toxic chemicals
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission published the above labor statistics based on a year-long study.
Common Work-Related Injuries
Workplace injuries to the following body parts can occur while working:
- Shoulders: Including rotator cuff injuries, biceps tendonitis or tears, and torn labrums.
- Elbows: May result from repetitive motion conditions such as cubital tunnel syndrome. Injured workers have a chance of full recovery if proper medical treatment is given on a timely basis.
- Hands/fingers/wrists: May result from issues with proper tool handling or improper use of hand tools, traumatic injuries such as lacerations and fractures, and cumulative trauma disorders.
- Back: Typically, chronic back pain may result from poor posture when working long hours at a computer station or hunched over while doing paperwork at the office. Also, many workplace injuries are from lifting heavy objects.
- Knees/legs: May result from improper safety equipment such as hard-toed shoes or floor hazards, including grease or oil on the surface, which is not detected through proper worksite inspections.
The IWCC also reports that the most common injuries leading to lost time injuries requiring maximum benefits are:
- Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), including tendonitis: 26% of incoming claims result in lost earnings from missed days from work
- Respiratory diseases from toxic chemical exposure and other hazards represent 21% of claims in the workers' compensation system
- Injuries to Blood Vessels and Lymphatic Systems: 17% of incoming claims result in lost days from work
- Injuries to Nerves: 14% of incoming claims result in lost days from work
- Acute and Chronic Viral Illnesses: 13% of incoming claims result in lost income from time away from work
- Back Injuries: 8% of incoming claims lose a day or more from work due to a back injury
Ergonomic Risk Factors: Repetitive Stress Injuries and Other Work-Related Injuries
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that repetitive stress injuries are the most common workplace-related injuries. Some of these diseases include trigger finger, tenosynovitis, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), and carpal tunnel syndrome, to name a few.
Repetitive motion conditions such as cubital tunnel syndrome can lead to serious harm. However, injured workers have a chance of full recovery if proper treatment is given timely.
Some of the known ergonomic risk factors for repetitive motion injuries include:
- Repetitive movements: 10 or more times per hour, 60 or more times per day, over 100 times per week
- Awkward postures: Arms outstretched to use a keyboard or maintain balance while standing on one leg at a time
Special worker protection laws protect injured employees. For example, all minors who work for pay or as a volunteer and any minor under 16 years of age must complete a certified course in Workplace Safety and Health initially and at least three times per year after being employed.
Worker's Compensation helps to reduce the blame game between employers and employees by providing a no-fault insurance system that pays for a work-related accident, leading to injuries or illnesses regardless of who was at fault.
Under Worker's Compensation, it does not matter whether the employer was negligent in providing a safe working environment. If an employee is injured, they likely may be entitled to Worker's Compensation.
Employers face significant potential liabilities for failing to report a work-related accident, not reporting quickly enough (for example, if an employee reports a work-related injury several days after the incident), and reporting incorrect information.
Employers may be liable to third-party workers outside of their direct control if they fail to report injuries/illnesses on time, leading to confusion as medical costs keep increasing for a person who should not have been working.
In addition, employers can be fined up to $500 for each day that a work injury/illness is not reported to the state authority from the time it occurred.
IWCC provides online information regarding state workers' compensation laws and forms and reports needed to run a business.
Nerve injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Morton's Neuroma
- Peripheral Neuropathy
Lower Back and Cervical Spine Injuries
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission reports that low back and cervical (neck) injuries are two of the most common causes of workers' compensation claims; however, they also report that these injuries can be prevented.
According to The National Council on Compensation Insurance, lost time injury frequency rates were reported as follows:
- Low Back Injury: 4.33 lost-time injuries per 100 full-time workers in 2019
- Cervical Spine Injury: 1.20 lost-time injuries per 100 full-time workers, 2019
The most common causes of cervical (neck) injuries are overexertion, awkward or sudden exertions, and falling/tripping/being struck by an object.
Third-Party Workers' Comp Liability Claims
Were you injured due to someone's negligence who is not employed where you work, but rather doing business for another company? If so, you may be entitled to file a third-party liability claim based on their responsibilities for your temporary or permanent injuries.
Injured victims can file third-party lawsuits against someone employed by another business if they caused the injuries should they seek to obtain compensation or death benefits.
A third-party liability compensation claim could cover medical bills and lost wages in numerous industries, including office workers, railroad workers, construction workers, drivers, and others with mild to severe damages like:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputations (dismemberment)
- Cuts and lacerations
- Burns and scalding
- Infectious diseases
- Occupational illnesses
Workers' Compensation Benefits Under FELA (Federal Employers Liability Act)
If you're injured on the job, even if your work injury is not your fault, you could receive certain benefits from workers' compensation insurance by filing a compensation claim. These benefits include:
- Medical expenses resulting from the accident keep you out of work. If the work injury had to be treated with surgery or hospitalization, you could also expect transportation coverage (a taxi or ambulance) to and from the doctor's office.
- A portion of your lost wages if you're unable to return to work because of your physical injuries. The number of weeks of benefits varies by state. In many cases, the weekly benefit is 2/3 of your take-home pay.
- Permanent partial disability benefits if you suffer from a disabling condition that makes it impossible for you to continue working in your current occupation - or - any occupation at all.
- Temporary total disability benefits are paid to employees who are temporarily unable to work because of their on-the-job injuries.
- Vocational rehabilitation: Typically, vocational rehabilitation (vocational retraining) can help recover compensation by returning to work on a wage differential (lower paying job) due to work injuries.
- Death benefits, which vary by state, are payable if a death results from a workplace accident or disease. Workers' compensation insurance may also pay funeral expenses and certain outstanding debts owed by the deceased person.
Workers' Compensation Reform Act of 2012
The Workers' Compensation Reform Act of 2012 was signed in January 2013. This act changes existing laws, including changing the definition of "employee" for both workers' compensation and unemployment insurance purposes.
Starting January 1, 2014, all employees who met the definition of "employee" under the common law test - regardless of whether they have a written employment contract - were covered by Illinois workers' compensation laws.
Illinois Workers' Compensation Act
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act does not apply to an independent contractor or a sole proprietor. One person owns a sole proprietorship. If you are the sole member of a domestic limited liability company, that entity is also considered a sole proprietorship for workers' compensation purposes.
A worker's status as an independent contractor or employee can sometimes be difficult to determine under state law. The distinction between the two individual workers and the company for which they perform services is important because it determines which federal and state laws apply to the working relationship.
In most cases, a worker is classified as an employee if the company for which they work has the right to control how they do their job. Factors that may be considered in determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor include, but are not limited to:
- How much control does the company has over how the worker does their job
- Whether the worker is paid by the hour, day, week, or project
- Whether the worker is paid overtime
- Whether the worker is reimbursed for business expense
- Whether the worker has other types of coverage. For example, more than 97 percent of business establishments in Illinois are covered by workers' compensation insurance.
Employee status under federal law may lead to minimum wage, overtime pay, retirement plan participation, and other benefits denied to independent contractors. In addition, state laws often determine eligibility for unemployment insurance compensation, workers' compensation coverage, and liability for state payroll taxes.
The first workers' compensation law governing workers' compensation claims was written about a century ago to protect injured employees and employers. The Illinois law has been reviewed and modified several times to keep pace with the current needs of business, age and hour of work laws.
When an injury occurs on the job, an injured worker is typically covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance policy. This policy covers medical expenses and a portion of the injured worker's lost wages.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments.
Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.
The FLSA does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations or holidays. It also does not require benefits, such as health insurance or retirement plans.
Employees who are exempt from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime pay requirements are not entitled to receive them. The FLSA provides an exemption from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and certain computer employees.
Illinois Worker's Compensation System
The Illinois workers' compensation system is a "no-fault" system, meaning no blame is cast on an injured employee for their work injuries resulting in disability.
The workers' compensation insurance system also benefits the employer and may be less expensive than other types of coverage. For example, more than 97 percent of business establishments in Illinois are covered by workers' compensation insurance.
The first workers' compensation law governing workers' compensation claims was written about a century ago to protect injured employees and employers. The Illinois law has been reviewed and modified several times to keep pace with the current needs of business, labor, and society.
Worker's Compensation and The Jones Act
Worker's compensation benefits are available to every worker who is not an independent contractor. The injured party files a claim with their employer's insurance company that usually covers missed weekly wage is, temporary or permanent disability, and medical bills until they are healed completely and can return to work.
Unfortunately, Worker's Compensation benefits are not available to seamen, and others working on or around vessels at sea or on navigable waters. Congress passed the Jones Act to ensure that seamen receive proper medical care and treatment when injured while working on a vessel at sea.
The Jones Act also provides for maintenance and cure benefits which are paid to the injured seaman until he or she reaches maximum medical improvement. Much like worker's compensation, the seaman's employer pays damages on the worker's injury through their insurance company in accordance with the Jones Act.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the point at which an injured worker's condition is unlikely to improve any further with medical treatment. Once an injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement, they may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, including permanent disability benefits.
Starting January 1, 2014, all employees who met the definition of "employee" under the common law test - regardless of whether they have a written employment contract - were covered by Illinois workers' compensation laws.
Workers' Compensation Benefits FAQs
When you are hurt on the job, filing a workers' compensation claim for benefits is the primary means of recuperating and obtaining medical attention and treatment. In addition, worker's comp provides injured workers with financial support during their recovery, helps them get back to work sooner, and protects employers from personal injury lawsuits.
The below items address frequently asked questions about the workers' compensation system (no-fault system) paying on a work injury claim:
What immediate steps should be taken after a worker suffers an injury?
Immediately following the accident, worker's comp representatives will assess your condition and determine whether you are eligible for temporary total disability payments or permanent partial disability benefits. In most cases, an injured worker must notify their employer of the incident within 30 days.
Additionally, the patient should visit a medical professional as soon as possible. Finally, the worker's medical records should be documented for the worker's comp insurance company.
What is a workplace injury?
A workplace accident that causes immediate pain or long-lasting impairment is considered a work-related injury. If an accident on the job results in long-term medical care, loss of wages, disfigurement, or permanent disability, it is usually covered under worker's comp benefits.
What is the time limit for filing an injury claim or personal injury lawsuit?
Worker's compensation claims must be filed within two years of the injury, determined by the last day of your disability. If your disability lasts more than one year, you have up to three years to file a worker's compensation claim.
The deadline to file a workers' compensation case can be extended in certain circumstances, such as if you cannot handle financial matters due to a physical or mental condition caused by the incident.
How long will it take to receive workers' compensation benefits?
In most cases, the first payment of workers' comp benefits will be received within two weeks from filing a worker's compensation claim.
However, the time it takes to resolve your workers' compensation claim depends on certain factors, such as the severity of your condition and whether other parties are involved in the accident.
How are workers' comp benefits determined?
An insurance adjuster generally determines workers' benefits on behalf of the employer's insurance company. Depending on your on-the-job injury, you may receive weekly payments or lump sum payments -- usually up to 2/3 of your average weekly wage, capped at $800/week.
The insurance adjuster will take your average weekly wage and divide it by 52 weeks to calculate the weekly benefit rate. The resulting number is multiplied by 2/3 to determine a maximum weekly payment.
You may receive additional benefits known as a "dependency allowance if you have dependents."
In most workers' compensation cases, with work-related injuries, including permanent partial disability, worker's compensation benefits will be paid until the injured worker returns to work, dies, or reaches retirement age.
If the injury results in permanent partial disability, the worker may be entitled to receive benefits for the rest of their life. These benefits are typically a percentage of the worker's average weekly wage.
How do workers' compensation attorneys maximize benefits for the injured party?
Workers' compensation lawyers work to get the best possible benefits for their clients by:
- Helping them file a workers' compensation claim
- Gathering evidence to support their case
- Negotiating with the insurance company
If necessary, they will take the case to court. In some cases, the victim's workers' compensation lawyer will file a personal injury claim seeking additional compensation for occupational illnesses, injuries, or the wage differential if they must return to work at a job paying less than their current position.
Chicago Workers' Comp Attorneys
Were you injured while working and need to seek maximum compensation for your damages? If so, the workers' compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help you.
Our legal team understands that you have a limited time to file your workers' compensation claim, so do not wait any longer and speak with our work injury lawyers today.
Our Chicago, IL workers' compensation attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. We do not get paid until your workers' comp lawyer wins or settles your third-party claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Our Cook County law firm handles all workers' compensation cases on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, your workers' compensation attorney only receives payment when they recover financial compensation for you, which can be an insurance settlement.
For a free consultation, fill in the contact form or call our Chicago workers' compensation lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call).
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