Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyer
Workplace Injury in Illinois? You very well may be entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
As an employee or worker in Illinois, you are protected by the law from harm brought on by others’ negligence. If you have been badly injured because of someone else’s fault while you were doing your job, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation. But it’s not always easy to claim the compensation you deserve. In fact, injured workers like you are often faced with employers and insurance companies who try to undermine compensation claims.
Let Willens Law Offices fight for you. We are a homegrown Illinois law firm trusted by injured individuals and families throughout the state because of our effective yet compassionate service. Our legal work has obtained million-dollar settlements and verdicts for clients like you, allowing them to get back on their feet after their injury. And throughout the process, we treat them with considerate care to take away their stress and let them focus on healing.
If you’ve been seriously injured at work, call Willens Law Offices and to arrange a free consultation.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation refers to benefits provided to employees and workers under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. It comes as a form of insurance paid by your employer. This insurance kicks in when you are injured due to the negligence of your employer or co-worker while you are at work.
Ideally, these benefits should be straightforward and readily available to you. However, the amount you receive can largely vary depending on how your injury is assessed. The sad thing is that many employers and their insurers use tactics in their assessment to reduce the amount they have to pay. As a result, numerous Illinois workers end up settling for much less than they deserve.
To avoid this mistake and to maximize your benefits, it is best that you get the help of an attorney as soon as you are injured.
What Injuries Qualify For Workers’ Compensation?
While workplace accidents cause a large percentage of occupational injuries, they are not the only scenarios by which you can claim workers’ compensation. The following injuries and illnesses may entitle you to a claim:
Any safety hazard in the workplace can lead to these injuries – from slippery floors and unsafe chairs to falling shelves and defective equipment.
Long-term exposure to hazardous materials. Such materials include asbestos, pesticides, fertilizers, dust, and chemicals that could result in chronic illness. Employers should protect their workers from exposure diseases and make them aware of this risk.
Construction accidents. Given the heavy machinery and equipment at construction sites, catastrophic accidents are unfortunately common.
Ergonomic-related problems. These are health conditions that develop over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and neck or back problems. Many of these illnesses are associated with repetitious tasks, bad posture, and overuse of muscles.
Work-triggered or work-worsened illnesses. A heart attack, a stroke, or an equally devastating health condition can be triggered by extreme demands at work such as consecutive night shifts, long drives, and unhealthy work environments.
A crucial element in all these situations is that they resulted from the negligence of an employer or co-worker. For example, if your employer failed to provide adequate safety measures or failed to address health concerns at your job, it may be considered a form of negligence.
What To Do After Your Work Injury
When you get hurt at work, the first thing to do is to cease your activities to avoid worsening your injury. If there is a medical emergency, don’t hesitate to call 911 to get proper medical attention. Then, as soon as you can, inform your manager or supervisor about what happened, and ask your HR rep about how you can file your workers’ compensation claim. At the same time, you’ll want to get in touch with a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that your rights are protected as early as now.
Debunking Workers’ Compensation Myths
There are several misconceptions about workers’ comp in Illinois, and it’s important that you are aware of what the law truly provides for you.
Myth: Only workplace accidents can qualify for workers’ comp.
As enumerated above, injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation do not have to occur in the workplace. They don’t even have to be caused by sudden accidents. Long-term illnesses and work-triggered health conditions may entitle you to compensation, just as long as you can establish that they resulted from someone’s negligence. Willens Law Offices can help you effectively establish this crucial element in your claim.
Myth: You can’t claim compensation if you were partially at fault.
Illinois follows a “no-fault” workers’ compensation system, which means you CAN make a claim even if you were partly at fault for the injury.
Myth: Only your employer can choose a doctor for you.
Part of the ever-changing workers’ compensation laws in Illinois is the Preferred Provider Program. If your employer is under this program, they can provide a doctor for you. Consequently, this means you can no longer choose two doctors of your own; instead, you may have the option to pick just one doctor.
Myth: You can’t dispute how your claim is being handled.
If you are unhappy about the progress of your workers’ compensation claim, you can raise a dispute through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The commission will then arrange for arbitration, which is like a court trial but facilitated by a third party instead of a judge. During arbitration, you will need to have an attorney represent you.
Note that arbitration can take months or even years to conclude. Instead of waiting for your claim to become complex and difficult, it is wise to have a lawyer on your side from the very start.
Third-Party Lawsuits For Work Injuries
If a third party (aside from your employer or co-worker) contributed to your occupational injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that party. This would be on top of the workers’ compensation that you may claim from your employer. Some examples of third parties are sub-contractors, manufacturers of defective equipment, and owners of unsafe properties.
To help pinpoint all the liable parties for your work injury, consult with a lawyer who has experience in protecting workers’ rights.
Why You Should Contact An Attorney If You’ve Suffered a Serious Work Injury
If you have been seriously hurt at work, the odds are that you may need assistance from a workers’ compensation lawyer. Your employer likely has the professionals of a workers’ compensation company on its side, and you’re better off with your own workers’ compensation lawyer to level the playing field. Neither can you count on a simple insurance claim. Paying you fully and fairly is not in an insurance company’s best interest – paying you as little as possible is.
In addition, a workers’ compensation claim needs to follow specific rules and procedures. Many claimants make missteps during the process, costing them their compensation. Your lawyer can make sure that you avoid these costly procedural errors.
While it may seem difficult to obtain what you deserve, you can successfully claim it with a lawyer who can competently navigate the process. Choose an attorney with a proven track record and a reputation for helping people instead of companies.
You should not worry about the cost. Willens Law Offices charges no legal fees unless and until we obtain an amount for you. Your initial consultation with us is also completely free.
If you have been injured at work, you may have a lot of uncertainty. However, one uncertainty you should not have is about whether a workers’ compensation claim may be used against you. There are many laws protecting injured workers from many types of abuse employers sometimes try to use against them. Here are a few of them.
Laws Protecting Injured Employees
You Cannot Be Fired, Demoted, or Passed over because of a Workers’ Compensation Claim
This is one of the most basic protections built into Illinois’ workers’ compensation laws. Your employer cannot use a workers’ compensation claim against you in any way.
You Cannot Be Forced to Violate Your Doctor’s Orders
Your employer cannot make you come back to work against your doctor’s orders. If you are cleared for light duty, your employer must make suitable work available or you don’t have to work.
You Cannot Be Fired for Making a Safety Report
Reporting dangerous conditions to OSHA is another protected act. You cannot be harassed, fired, or passed over because of a report to OSHA that results in an inspection. Whether you file the complaint before or after your accident, it is still protected. You even have the right to remain anonymous as well as ask for an employee representative to attend the inspection.
Common Workplace Injuries
- Employer negligence: Employers are responsible for creating a safe working environment for their employees. Sometimes safety precautions aren’t installed or the appropriate protective gear is not provided. If your injury was caused because of the negligence of your employer, a workplace injury lawyer from Willens Law Offices will be able to assist you.
- Defective products: If the product you were using caused your injury, you may eligible for a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
- Toxic chemicals and substances: There are a number of hazardous materials that you use on a daily basis, especially if you work in manufacturing. If you have been injured from contact with toxic chemicals or substances you may be entitled to compensation through a toxic tort lawsuit.
Willens Law Offices Has Workplace Injury Case Experience
Throughout Chicagoland and surrounding Illinois areas, people are grateful for the legal service of Willens Law Offices. Our firm provides sharp, effective legal representation that gets ideal outcomes for our clients. Among our numerous successes in the field of workers’ compensation are:
We can help you achieve similar results so you can get your life back on track and achieve a sense of justice.
Throughout thelegal process, our entire team will provide you with compassionate service. We’ll consistently communicate with you to ensure you are fully aware of the progress of your claim. We’ll even come to your home or hospital if you are unable to meet with us.
Workplace Injury Statistics in Chicago, IL
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released its data for workplace injury statistics, showing that the overall rate of injury didn’t change in the workplace, remaining at 117 injuries per 10,000 workers, or 1.17 per 100 workers.
That is based on a total injury rate of nearly 3 million workplace injuries or illnesses in 2011, about a third of which resulted in a median 8 days away from work.
Top Occupations for Workplace Injury
According to BLS statistics, about 20% of all injuries requiring time off from work occurred to workers in just 5 professions:
- Nurses, orderlies, and attendants
- Janitors and cleaners
- Heavy truck drivers
- Police officers
Police officers had an injury rate five times greater than the rate for all workers. The highest injury proportion occurred among workers aged 45-54, although the highest injury proportion also occurred for workers with 1-5 years of service, who suffered 35% of all injuries.
Fatal Workplace Injury Statistics
Fatal workplace injuries make up a very small proportion of total workplace injuries, with 4693 fatal workplace injuries recorded in 2011. The causes of fatal workplace accidents are:
- Transportation incidents 41% (Roadway incidents account for 24% of the total, 57% of transportation incidents)
- Violence and other injuries by persons or animals 17% (Homicides account for 10% of the overall total)
- Contact with objects and equipment 15%
- Falls, slips, and trips 15% (Falls to lower level account for 12% of the overall total)
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments 9%
- Fires and explosions 3%
The falling height is known for about 82% of fatal falls to a lower level. About 57% of those falls are 20 feet or less.
Fatal Workplace Injury by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
BLS also breaks up workplace fatal injuries by what are known as MSAs, which include cities and their suburbs. Chicago’s MSA ranks fourth in the country. The overall ranks of MSAs are given below:
- New York-Northern NJ-Long Island 183
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana 118
- Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown 105
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville 97
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 80
MSAs extend beyond the named city boundaries, and often into nearby states. For example, Chicago’s MSA extends into Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
Get In Touch With Willens Law Offices Today
We at Willens Law Offices are ready to serve you anytime. It costs absolutely nothing to consult with us, soif you’ve had a serious workplace injury do not hesitate to talk to us.
For your free, no-obligation consultation, call us at (312) 957-4166 today.