Filing and Defending Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Chicago-area construction employees who are injured on the job receive workers’ compensation benefits paid for by the employer’s insurance carrier. All Illinois employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. A Cook County construction accident lawyer can help get compensation if workers’ compensation isn’t enough.
Illinois workers’ compensation laws provide injured employees with the following entitlements:
- Two-thirds of lost wages for the when the injured employee cannot work
- Medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation or job training
- Lump-sum disability payment if the injured employee cannot return to the job
When injured on the job, immediately notify your employer of the accident and seek medical treatment. To obtain workers’ compensation benefits, you must provide medical documentation of your injuries and treatment. After you have received initial medical treatment, you should file a claim promptly with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC).
Workers’ Compensation Claim Situations in Which an Attorney is Needed
If all goes well, your claim will be paid promptly and you will return to work once the doctor releases you, even if the full damages from your injury (such as pain and suffering) are not paid – only what is allowed through workers’ compensation. Below are the most common instances in which a workers’ compensation lawyer should be consulted.
- Your benefits are delayed or denied: Sometimes employers, but more often and workers’ compensation insurers, reject legitimate claims. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney costs nothing up front, and raises the chance of receiving a fair injury settlement.
- All your lost wages or medical bills are not paid: If you’re not offered the full amount you are legally owed, get a second opinion from an experienced attorney before you dispute the amount.
- You can’t return to your job or get any work due to disability: Permanent partial disability or permanent total disability is expensive for workers’ compensation insurers. Often they are denied or the carrier offers a legally substandard settlement offer.
- You receive Social Security disability benefits: An experienced attorney can draft your settlement agreement to minimize or eliminate this obligation and save you thousands.
- Your boss retaliates after you file a claim: If you are harassed in any way such as being fired, demoted, or assigned reduced hours or wages because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
Workers’ Compensation and Third-party Injury Claims
Workers’ compensation was designed to pay injured workers so they will avoid taking civil action against their employers. But you can legally file a claim against a third party whose negligence contributed to your construction injury. For example, if a worker for another contractor injured you in some way, that person – and probably their employer – can be liable for the injury and entire financial value of your injury, including all of your lost wages and pain and suffering.
If your claim is successful, you must pay your workers’ compensation insurer the amount it paid. But the difference between that amount and the full damages you receive from the third party will certainly be greater to cover the lost wages and reasonable pain and suffering. However, if your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer is dragging its feet by waiting for your third party claim to be paid, let your lawyer know about it because this is illegal.
The workers’ compensation system was devised to deliver prompt, payment to injured workers. But over the years, insurance companies and many employers, have learned how to “work the system” to benefit them instead. And the insurance companies defend themselves with teams of excellent lawyers. Hiring a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney helps to tilt the scales of justice back in your direction.
Our firm offers potential clients a free initial consultation. We will review your case to ensure it is valid and will produce timely payment. Buttafuoco and Associates’ team of experienced attorneys can be contacted anytime by calling 1-800-NOW-HURT or completing our online case form.