Workers' Compensation Law Firm
Almost three million people in the USA are involved in non-fatal accidents at work every year, while more than 93 people die every week in workplace related injuries. These are frightening statistics, and for those who are the victims of personal injury on their jobsite their lives will often never be the same again.
Injuries at work take many forms and can be relatively minor or permanently disabling. Most accidents are as a result of lifting, carrying, slips, trips and falls, or they can be caused by negligence of other employees and sub-contractors, or failures to follow proper safety rules. Significant numbers of employees are also hurt in fires or explosive incidents in their working environment, are harmed by exposure to hazardous substances, or have been even been attacked by persons or animals in their workplace.
When employers fail to take appropriate measures to protect their workers from harm, workers can make a claim for compensation in respect of the injuries that they have suffered, so whether you have been hurt as a result of inadequate training, unsafe equipment or poor health and safety practices, you are entitled to receive financial recompense for your suffering. In Illinois, if you are a worker injured in an accident that arises out of your employment, and in the course of your employment, you may have a compensable claim.
How Can We Help?
William S. Wojcik Ltd. has a team of highly qualified and skilled workers compensation lawyers in Chicago, specializing in helping injured employees obtain the damages that they deserve for the injuries that they have incurred at work. We have 40 years of experience in representing individuals who have been hurt in the line of duty when making a claim against their employers, and we can help with all aspects of filing a claim as well as assisting those who have had their benefits wrongly terminated.
We can offer advice for workers' compensation claimants across the whole of Cook County, including Oak Lawn, Alsip, Evergreen Park, Burbank, Blue Island, Chicago Ridge, Bridgeview, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Worth, Hickory Hills, Western Springs, Orland Park, Crestwood, Oak Forest, Homer Glen, Tinley Park, Mokena, Frankfort and New Lenox.
Types Of Workers' Compensation Claims
There are several kinds of workers' compensation claim. These include:
● PTD – Permanent Total Disability Awards
● Wage Differential Awards
● PPD – Permanent Partial Disability Awards
● Disfigurement Awards
● Medical Expense Awards
● TTD – Temporary Total Disability Awards
As experts in workers' compensation claims, we have obtained arbitration awards and settlements in all these categories and we can help you to find out more about your rights under the Illinois Workers Compensation laws.
Applying For Workers' Compensation Benefits
If you are injured at work, you have the right to seek out and apply for workers' compensation benefits under the terms of the Illinois Workers Compensation laws. However, these laws are very complex and it can be difficult to file the claim on your own behalf, especially if you have suffered from a debilitating injury. Seeking help from a Chicago workers' compensation lawyer is the best way to ensure that you get the financial recompense that you deserve.
Usually, the severity and nature of your injury, paired with the amount of interference it will cause to your working capacity will determine how much workers' compensation you will receive. In reality, disputes are common, with employers disputing the extent of the injury, the way in which it was incurred and how much it is likely to interfere with the employee's ability to work. This results in many people who are in desperate need being mistakenly refused benefits or having their benefits wrongfully terminated. The good news is that we are here to help.
What Is Workers' Compensation?
Workers' Compensation is a form of insurance which offers medical care and cash benefits to employees who have become ill or been injured because of their employment, and the claim is paid in all cases where the employer or their insurance company agree that the illness or injury has been caused as a direct result of worker's job.
In Illinois, Workers' Compensation is governed under the law, determining that individuals who are injured in the course of their employment receive benefits to sustain them during their period of recovery or to help to support them if they are permanently disabled as a result of their injury. However, in practice, many injured parties find themselves out of pocket, as if the employer or their insurer argues that the injury is unrelated to the worker's job, benefits may be refused or terminated.
Which Types Of Employment Injuries Are Covered?
Workers' compensation in Illinois covers all employees, even those who are temporary or seasonal workers, however independent contractors are not covered. If you are uncertain as to whether or not you are an employee or a contractor, as a general rule of thumb if taxes are withheld from your paycheck by your employer you are considered to be an employee.
Employees are often still eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits if they are partially responsible for their own injury, however there are exceptions to this. For example, if the injury has occurred because of the worker's own misconduct, for example because they were intoxicated, they will not be eligible to claim. Some of the injuries and illnesses covered by Workers' Compensation include:
● Repetitive strain injuries – these are very common in workplaces where employees are required to repeat the same task or motion repeatedly. Sometimes known as RSIs, RMIs or CTDs, the most common injury of this time is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a condition which affects the forearms, hands and wrists due to repetitive movements like typing. While this is most common among office workers, RMIs can affect other body parts too. For example, shelf stockers may end up with chronic back pain after lifting heavy boxes for many years. Workers who are diagnosed with RSI due to their employment activities may be entitled to payment for their medical treatment and rehabilitation as well as permanent impairment benefits and weekly compensation benefits.
● Occupational illnesses – this is a term referring to any disease which has resulted from the sufferer's working conditions or due to exposures in their workplace. One such example is the condition called mesothelioma, which is caused as a result of exposure to asbestos and is common among firefighters. Workers in noisy environments may suffer from hearing loss, while allergens in the workplace can cause skin reactions or respiratory problems. Asthma is one such condition which may arise due to exposure to hazardous substances. In order to any occupational disease to be compensated, it must be acknowledged as being an industrial injury i.e. one that is caused by factors such as environmental hazards in the workplace.
● Mental or Emotional Stress Injuries – these days, mental and emotional stress related conditions are sometimes recognized by the courts and may in some cases be covered by Workers Compensation. Employment related stress is a major cause of injury which results over time in conditions like cancer and heart disease, however the difficulties arise in proving the mental and emotional condition's existence and also proving that it is directly due to employment factors. While stress is cited as a problem for 80% of Americans, it is still relatively uncommon to be awarded Workers' Compensation benefits for these conditions due to the challenges of proof. Engaging the services of a skilled Chicago workers compensation lawyer will give you the best chance of securing recompense for your psychological distress caused by your job.
● Physical injuries – there are many types of physical injury which can be suffered in the workplace. Depending on the working environment, these could range from slips, trips and falls to cuts or burns, or even to physical attacks by members of the public or animals. Those who work in a potentially hazardous environment, for example construction workers, may suffer serious injuries such as electrocution or injuries from poorly guarded or dangerous equipment, but even those who work in apparently safe environments such as offices may still end up being the victim of a personal injury if, for example, they slip on a wet floor or injure themselves because of poor training in the use of equipment. Some of the physical injuries which are covered under workers' compensation include catastrophic and serious loss, such as loss of a limb, paralysis, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, permanent scarring, burning or disfigurements.
Are Employees Covered Even If They Were Not Physically Working When The Injury Took Place?
Some workers don't claim the compensation that they are owed because they feel like they are ineligible because they were partially at fault or because they were not physically working at the time of the injury. For example, employees who were injured while on a break may believe that they cannot make a claim, however this is not the case. In most cases, if they employee is injured while on a break, but is still on the employer's premises, they are still covered for compensation purposes as the injury will have occurred during the course of employment. If you are not sure whether or not you are covered by Workers' Compensation for your injury, contact our team of workers compensation lawyers in Chicago today and we can advise you further as to your eligibility.
Which Medical Benefits Should I Receive?
In the state of Illinois, employers must pay for all of the essential medical expenses for any employee who is injured while at work as well as for any essential emergency treatment or first aid to treat the employee's injury. Under the terms of the Workers' Compensation Act, this treatment must be necessary and reasonable to remedy the effect of a workplace injury, and we can advise you as to your rights in this respect. We can also offer you advice about your choices regarding physicians and specialists, how long your medical benefits should last and how the payments will be handled. Whether you are a temporary or part time employee, are worried about what will happen in respect of your bonuses or overtime pay, or are wondering whether you are eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation, a worker’s comp lawyer in Chicago from William S. Wojcik's experienced team can offer you the best possible advice.
If an employee is accidentally killed in a workplace incident, their family will naturally be traumatised. Not only do you need to cope with the loss of your loved one, you may also have medical bills to pay as well as funeral costs and then have to handle the long-term consequences of the loss of their wages. The Workers Compensation law in Illinois has been designed to help families in this position by extending death benefits to the deceased worker's estate. The worker's spouse, dependent children, dependent elderly parents or any other family member who was a minimum of 50% dependent on the worker when they died are all entitled to receive benefits to help pay for the funeral and to compensate for the deceased worker's lost wages. These benefits can last for as long as 25 years or up to a maximum of $500,000. If you believe that you may be entitled to death benefits in respect of your lost loved one, contact our legal team today for advice and support.
No Win, No Fee
If you need the services of a worker’s comp lawyer in Chicago but are worried that you can't afford an upfront fee, there's no need to worry. All of our workers' compensation claims are handled on a contingency basis with no upfront costs to pay. We will take our fee as a percentage of the award that we secure on your behalf, and if we fail to obtain compensation for you, there is no fee to pay.
Contact William S. Wojcik, Ltd. Today
If you have been injured in the workplace and have had your benefits discontinued or have been denied your workers' compensation rights, contact our team of workers compensation lawyers in Chicago. We are flexible and can find you an appointment to fit around your schedule during the evening or at the weekend if necessary so that we can offer you a free initial consultation to discuss your claim and to start the process of getting you the financial recompense you deserve.