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IL injury lawyerIn almost any industry, small injuries are expected. Even in an office job, an accident can occur. However, not every accident or injury is eligible for workers’ compensation. Anything that cannot be safely handled by a basic first aid kit could be eligible. When an injury occurs at work that threatens future work and pay, a family’s livelihood could be at jeopardy. This is why workers’ compensation laws are in place.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation is an insurance required by law to be had by employers. No matter the size of a staff, or the number of employees, most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance protects employees in the event of an accident caused by work that affects the employees’ ability to work. Workers’ compensation can cover lost wages and/or medical treatment depending on the severity of the injury. When filing workers’ compensation, this prevents you from suing your employer for a personal injury claim. However, if a third party is responsible for the negligence that caused your injury, they can be sued.

When occurring an injury that prevents the ability to work, whether short or long term, you are eligible for compensation through your employer's workers’ compensation insurance. The first step, after seeking immediate medical attention if necessary, is to alert your employer about the injury that occurred at work. If you cannot work for three or more days due to the injury, your employer is required to begin paying temporary disability or give a written reason why benefits are being denied.

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IL injury lawyerAlthough the majority of employers are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance, an employee may feel like their employment is at risk after an incident at work. The truth is, employers cannot fire someone based solely on filing a workers’ compensation claim. In fact, it is illegal to discriminate, threaten, or refuse to rehire an employee on the grounds of filing a claim.

What Is Worker’s Compensation Insurance?

If a person gets injured or killed because of an accident at work, they are entitled to compensation based on medical care and missed time at work. No matter how small a business is, all employees are entitled to the protection that workers’ compensation provides. Depending on the injury, it may put a person out of work for a long time, and the compensation assists with lost wages. If a person cannot return to work, they may qualify for permanent disability and their compensation will be higher than temporary disability.

To avoid complications, research how to properly file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. They may have specific guidelines and policy for reporting. They may want the injury reported a certain way and require specific documentation in order to receive compensation.

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Kane County workers' comp lawyer job injuryWorkers' compensation exists to protect workers after an accident, or circumstance, that causes them to be injured and prevents them from returning to work temporarily or permanently. In the case of an injury which occurred while an employee was working or because of their work, an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance pays for any medical bills and provides compensation for lost wages due to disability. 

In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.8 million injuries by private employees that did not result in death. Common industries with a high volume of workers’ compensation claims are construction, labor, and retail. While many injuries fell into the expected categories, such as slip and fall accidents, there were a number of unusual claims in which workers received benefits, including:

  • Company Time - In Austria, a woman received workers’ compensation after getting injured on a work trip. The catch is that she was having sex in a hotel room, and a light fixture injured her nose and mouth. After developing depression, the woman filed for workers’ compensation for physical and emotional injuries. Her employer’s insurance company initially accepted the claim but later rejected it, stating that her bedroom activities were not part of a standard work trip. In 2012, a federal court ruled in the woman’s favor, and she received an undisclosed amount of benefits.
  • Mystery Liquid - A woman working in an American fast food restaurant accidentally drank lye, a high alkaline solution, out of a cup sitting in the break room. The woman received third degree burns to her esophagus. She received workers’ compensation for the injury. Her doctor stated that after reaching a maximum recovery, she sustained a 65 percent permanent disability. The legal team behind the restaurant wanted to meet with the doctor, and in 2012, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that employers can demand information from doctors in regards to workers’ compensation claims. 
  • Under the Influence - A Montana man was mauled by a grizzly bear while working at an outdoor adventure park. The man was doing his job, feeding the bears, but his employer denied his eligibility for workers’ compensation because he had smoked marijuana that morning. The owner also claimed that the man was not an employee, but a volunteer who he gave money to periodically. The use of marijuana was found to have no relation to the bear attack, and the man was awarded enough money to cover his medical expenses. 

Contact an Aurora Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Whether your work injury is fairly typical or out of the ordinary, it is your right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Contact an experienced Kane County workers’ comp lawyer to learn about your options. We work to provide solutions, no matter your situation. Call our office at 630-907-0909 to schedule a free consultation.

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Illinois workers compensation lawyersWorking in the construction industry is nothing like a 9:00 am to 5:00 pm office job. It is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. According to the United States Department of Labor, for every five workplace deaths, one is a construction worker. Aside from working at potentially dangerous heights, construction workers also deal with harsh chemicals and powerful equipment that can be deadly when used improperly.

Workers Compensation in Illinois

When an accident happens on a construction site in Illinois, the law says the victim can only file a workers compensation claim, but not a personal injury claim, against the employer. Third parties, however, can be held accountable for a personal injury claim.

Despite the dangerous conditions of construction work, accidents can be prevented. It is the responsibility of a construction company to keep employees safe to the best of their ability. Here are some ways to build safety in the construction community:

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Aurora workers compensation benefit lawyersGetting injured at work can be a scary experience. Not only are you suffering a physical injury, but you are also probably worried about how you will pay your bills if you cannot work. Thankfully, all employers are required to have what is called workers’ compensation insurance, which is insurance designed to help workers who are injured on the job. In Illinois, workers’ compensation is required to provide three types of benefits to injured workers: medical benefits, disability benefits, and death benefits. These different types of benefits can greatly help employees and their families if an accident does happen. 

Medical Benefits

The first and most basic benefit that is provided by workers’ compensation is medical benefits. If you are injured while you are at work, your employer is required to pay for all of the medical expenses relating to your injury. Expenses that are covered can include:

  • First aid;
  • Emergency care, such as ER costs and ambulance rides;
  • Doctor visits;
  • Hospital care;
  • Surgery;
  • Physical therapy;
  • Chiropractic treatment;
  • Prosthetics;
  • Prescription medications; and
  • Medical appliances.

If your injury results in a permanent disability, the cost of devices, such as a wheelchair or wheelchair ramp, may be covered as well.

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6 Steps to Take if You Have Been Injured at Work in Illinois

Kane County work injury attorneyYou go to work every day having some degree of expectation for what your day will be like. But nobody knows when an accident will happen--that is why they are called accidents. Thankfully, the United States has a system in place to help those who have been injured on the job. The workers' compensation program allows injured workers to receive compensation for lost wages, have their medical bills relating to the accident paid, and receive disability pay if the accident results in temporary or permanent loss of earning capacity. In order to receive these benefits, you must follow guidelines to have your case submitted and approved. Knowing what steps to take after a workplace accident is crucial to getting benefits that are owed to you.

1. Get Medical Attention

This may seem obvious, but the way you go about getting treated for your workplace injuries can impact how your case is handled. Often, employers will have what is called a Preferred Provider Program (PPP) in which there is a network of approved medical providers that you can see. Within your employer’s PPP, you have the choice of two physicians. If your employer does not have a PPP, you have the choice of any two providers. If you decline to use providers in the employer’s PPP, you use one of your choices, and you can choose to go to any doctor or hospital, but any further change of providers must be approved by your employer.

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The Four Types of Permanent Partial Disability Benefits in Illinois

Aurora workers' compensation benefits attorneyThe United States has taken actions toward making workplaces as safe as possible for employees, but there are unavoidable accidents that still occur. Sometimes, accidents result in serious injuries that affect a person’s ability to work or to continue doing the job they were doing prior to the injury. In these cases, the employee is usually eligible for some sort of workers’ compensation benefit which can help supplement the loss of wages that they might experience. If a person loses a part of their body or loses the function of that part of the body, they usually qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.

Commission on Workers’ Compensation

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is the state agency that all workers’ compensation claims go through. The Commission helps employees and employers settle cases that involve a workplace injury or illness by acting as an impartial administrative court system. The Commission awards four types of PPD benefits:

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5 Industries With the Most Workplace Injuries in Illinois

Aurora, IL work injury lawyer hazardous industriesWork-related injuries can be preventable with proper precautions and safety measures, but unfortunately, they are not uncommon--accidents do happen. In the state of Illinois, an estimated 137,500 non-fatal workplace injuries were recorded in 2016 for all industries. Certain industries tend to be more dangerous than others, but understanding which industries carry the most dangers can help you take precautions.

1. Educational and Health Services

Though it may surprise some people, the educational and health services industry has the largest number of workplace injuries in Illinois. An estimated 24,300 injuries were reported in the industry in 2016. This industry includes educational institutions like schools, universities, educational support services, hospitals, and nursing facilities. Most of the injuries reported in this industry were falls, trips, and overexertion.

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Temporary Partial Disability Vs. Temporary Total Disability

Aurora workers' compensation partial disability benefits attorneyWork is an essential part of a person’s life, allowing them to earn an income and provide for their family. When someone is injured at work, they have the right to receive workers’ compensation to pay for their medical bills and provide for their needs when they are unable to earn an income during their recovery. If an employee’s inability to work is expected to only last for a short time, they may be eligible for either temporary partial disability (TPD) or temporary total disability (TTD), and it is important to understand what is provided in these forms of compensation.

What is Temporary Partial Disability?

If an employee’s injury has resulted in an inability to fully perform their duties, they may only be able to work on a part-time basis or perform lighter duties while they are recovering, and this may result in a reduction in their pay. During this time, the employee can receive temporary partial disability benefits of two-thirds (66 2/3%) of the difference between their normal pay and the reduced pay.

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What Is Workers’ Compensation, and How Can You Request It?

Kane County workers' comp benefits attorneyIf you experience an accident while on the job, you may qualify for benefits that will assist you while you are out of work. Most full-time and part-time employees are eligible for workers’ compensation, and these benefits can be paid regardless of who was at fault.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation consists of benefits provided to employees who have either been injured or have fallen ill on the job, as long as the injuries or illnesses occur while the employee was working or were caused by the job they are performing. Aggravations of pre-existing conditions, injuries caused by repetitive use of specific parts of the body, heart attacks, strokes, and other physical issues that occur while working qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

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Workers’ Comp: Permanent Partial Vs. Permanent Total Disability

Kane County workers' comp disability lawyerIf you have been injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers compensation benefits, especially if you are no longer able to go back to work due to the nature of your injury. If severely injured, you may qualify for permanent disability benefits. Even though there are two different types of permanent disability benefits, there is a major difference between permanent partial disability (PPD) and permanent total disability (PTD), and it is important to understand the distinction between the two types.

Permanent Partial Disability

In order to receive permanent partial disability benefits, an injured individual may still earn income from their job, but they are partially impaired from a permanent injury. Permanent partial disability can include the following injuries:

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Types of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Naperville workers' compensation benefits attorneyWorkplace injuries can be devastating to your life and your finances, impacting not only your health and well-being, but your ability to earn an income and provide for your family. For employees who are injured while on the job, workers’ compensation benefits allow them to obtain financial relief due to the situation and/or injury. There are three types of workers’ comp benefits: 

  1. Disability benefits: These benefits replace the wages an injured employee loses due to their inability to work. The injury the employee has must be work-related. Disabilities fall into four groups: 
    • Permanent Total Disability (PTD): If an employee has this type of disability, that means they are unable to earn income in the future from the type of job he or she held when they received the injury. Employees with a permanent disability are eligible to receive lifetime disability payments.
    • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): This type of disability partly hinders the employee’s ability to earn income. Examples include the loss of a finger or hearing loss. In these cases, an employee will typically receive an award based on the body part that was injured and the percentage of impairment.
    • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): Also referred to as short-term disability, this type of disability benefit is for employees who are partially and temporarily disabled by the work-related injury. Benefits in these cases are typically available while the employee is recovering from their injury.
    • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): The employee cannot work at all for a short amount of time due to his or her work-related injury. In these cases, an Illinois employee will receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage until they are able to return to work.
  2. Medical benefits: Medical benefits often have no deductible and are unlimited. Payments are made until the injured individual is provided with the maximum amount of relief or is cured completely. The medical bills are sent to the workers’ compensation carrier. In Illinois, employees can use a doctor from their employer’s Preferred Provider Program (PPP), or they may choose one other doctor. If their employer does not have a PPP, they may choose up to two doctors.
  3. Death benefits: If an employee passes away because of a work-related injury, death benefits are paid to the employee’s dependents. In Illinois, these benefits are two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, paid until the death of a surviving spouse or until dependent children reach the age of 18, whichever comes later. Funeral and burial costs up to $8,000 are also covered by death benefits in Illinois. 

Contact a Kane County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you were injured while on the job, or if you are unable to work due to a work-related illness but your employer is withholding benefits or wages from you, contact our firm today. Our attorneys will assess your situation and help obtain the best resolution for you and your family. We understand what workers and their families go through when they are unable to work due to an injury or illness, and we will aggressively fight for you to receive the benefits you deserve. Contact an Aurora workers’ comp attorney at 630-907-0909 to schedule a free consultation.

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Kan County workers' compensation attorneysAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, develops in some individuals who have gone through a particularly frightening, shocking, or dangerous experience. The disorder is commonly associated with members of the military who have served in a combat zone, but it is hardly limited to those in the armed forces. PTSD can affect victims of auto accidents, criminal assault, or rape, as well as those who may have witnessed a tragic or horrifying event. It can even result from accidents that occur on the job, which could make the sufferer eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Common Symptoms of PTSD

It is difficult to know for sure how many people suffer from PTSD, as many are reluctant to seek the treatment they need. Estimates, however, place the number of sufferers at around 5.2 million each year in just the United States alone. Those dealing with PTSD may show symptoms that include flashbacks to the triggering event, nightmares, severe depression, “survivor’s guilt,” difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and memory loss. The disorder can also have a serious effect on the sufferer’s family, as his or her behavior may be erratic, unpredictable, and, in some cases, violent.

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Kane County workers compensation lawyers Workers’ compensation reform has been a hot topic over the past few decades, with many states deciding that lowering employer costs for insurance coverage will help encourage new job growth within state lines. The logic of many policymakers maintains that by cutting costs for employers and increasing their margins, the profits will trickle down to the employees in terms of job creation and higher wages.

However, the truth of the matter is that workers’ compensation reform only hurts employees and the local economy. It makes it more difficult for injured employees to receive the benefits they need and reduces the benefits available to each worker. Injured employees may be in danger of being evicted from their homes and being denied the medical coverage they deserve because of some these reforms, which are currently being pushed by Illinois lawmakers. If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at once for professional assistance with your case.

Lobby Groups Intent on Cutting Workers’ Compensation Benefits

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Aurora workers compensation attorneysEach year, approximately three million workers in the United States suffer from a work injury or illness. Some suffer only minor injuries and are eventually able to return to work. Others experience more severe injuries, such as head injuries or spinal injuries, which may leave them unable to work for an extended amount of time. The most serious may experience catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, and even death. Yet all have one thing in common: it is critical that each one knows how to effectively protect their rights.

The Importance of Timely Reporting

Work injuries should always be reported to your employer immediately after the injury occurs or as soon as is practical. At maximum, the injury should be reported within 45 days. If the possible injury involves exposure to radiation, the maximum time of reporting is 90 days after exposure. Any delays that extend beyond these constraints can become highly problematic and could potentially result in a denial of your claim or delay of benefits. Do not take any chances; report your injury immediately.

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Kane County workers' compensation lawyerWhen you have been hurt on the job, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage should be available to offer you the benefits you need to recover quickly and get back to work. A work-related injury can be painful, of course, but it should not leave you struggling financially. It should be relatively easy to obtain coverage for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and even lost wages while you heal. According to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, however, it may be too easy to get workers’ compensation benefits, and he wants something done to fix the problem.

Coverage for a Workplace Injury

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that any injury that arises out of and in the course of the injured party’s employment is intended to be compensable under the law. It is up to the injured employee to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his or her injuries were related to employment. As far back as 2012—before Governor Rauner was even elected—state officials observed that courts in Illinois, as well as the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), have traditionally used very broad interpretations of the law to allow injured parties to collect benefits.

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Kane County workers' compensation lawyerWhen a person is injured on the job, he or she should not return to work until he or she has recovered enough to do so. In some cases, such healing may only take a few days, while, in others, physical recovery may require weeks, months, or even years. According to Illinois law, injured employees who miss time at work are eligible to collect temporary disability as part of a workers’ compensation benefits package. Recent studies suggest, however, that injured workers in Illinois miss about 50 percent more work, on average, than injured workers in Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Wide Disparity

The average length of a temporary disability claim in Illinois is 18.4 weeks, according to the 2015 annual report issued by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. By comparison, injured workers in Indiana missed an average of 10.5 weeks, 10.9 weeks in Wisconsin, and 11.6 weeks in Iowa. In Michigan, an average claim for temporary disability lasted approximately 15.7 weeks, the second-highest in the region. Some of the disparity in the amount time missed can be attributed to types of work found in each state. The balance of manufacturing, office, farming, service industry, and public sector jobs can all have an impact on the types and severity of sustained injuries.

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Aurora workers compensation attorneysWhen you have been injured on the job, your first source of relief—after addressing your physical injuries—is usually provided by benefits offered through workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits typically offer coverage for medical expenses, temporary or permanent disability, and some recompense for lost wages. Because the law in Illinois requires employers to provide workers’ compensation for their employees, many workers simply take the system for granted. They give little thought to the reality that workers’ compensation is a type of insurance policy that the employer must purchase at the expense of the company.

High Expenses, Even for Safe Workers

In recent years, the growing costs of purchasing workers’ compensation in Illinois has led many business owners to question the sustainability of the current system. The neighboring states of Missouri and Indiana manage to offer comprehensive workers’ compensation benefits with a significantly lower price tag. One business leader, whose company offers trucking services, said that if he moved his 17 trucking jobs to Missouri, his company could save more than $25,000 annually, just on workers’ compensation costs. He could reportedly save $66,000 on the insurance by moving to Indiana. “We’re just a victim of a high-priced system,” the company president said.

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