If You Were Injured on the Job in Lake County, Talk to an Experienced Injury Lawyer Today
Lake County’s location just to the north of Cook County and Chicago offers the best of many worlds. Lake County residents enjoy easy access to the waters of Lake Michigan, the nearby beauty of Wisconsin, and the resources of Chicago.
Lake County is also the site of a rapidly-growing economy with diverse participants, from manufacturing and construction companies to retail, services, and other industries. Most Lake County businesses do their best to comply with federal and state safety regulations. Nevertheless, every job carries some risk of injury – and some jobs pose a higher risk than others.
If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t wait. Talk to an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer today. From our headquarters in Chicago, the legal team at Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg offers the resources to answer your questions and protect your legal rights.
Top Workplace Injury Causes in Illinois
While all workplaces pose a risk of injury, some pose higher risks than others. In 2019 and 2020, construction saw the highest total number of preventable fatal work injuries, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Other industries that posted higher rates of fatal injury and death included:
- Transportation and warehousing,
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting,
- Leisure and hospitality.
Although construction sites saw the highest number of workplace injuries and deaths in 2019 and 2020, other industries had a higher rate of serious injuries per worker. In agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, for example, the rate of fatal injuries was 22 per 100,000 workers in 2019, compared to less than 10 per 100,000 workers in construction.
About four million workers in 2020 required medical attention for on-the-job injuries, according to the NSC. The most common causes of these injuries in 2020 were:
- Exposure to harmful substances and environments, including exposure to electrical shock, radiation, temperature extremes, pressure changes, toxins, COVID-19, and other pathogens, and to traumatic or stressful events.
- Overexertion and bodily reactions, including repetitive stress injuries from repeated lifting, pushing, twisting, and similar activities. Strains and sprains fall into this category, as do injuries or illnesses resulting from overexertion or exhaustion.
- Slips, trips, and falls, including both falls on the same level and falls from a height to a lower level, such as falls from scaffolding or a fall into a hole.
- Contact with objects and equipment includes objects striking workers, workers bumping into or otherwise contacting objects, and workers being injured in crush, squeeze, and other types of accidents.
These four common injury categories also resulted in days or weeks lost from work as injured workers recovered from the harm they’d suffered. On average, workers lost:
- 13 days for exposure to harmful substances or environments,
- 14 days for overexertion and bodily reactions,
- 14 days for falls, slips, and trips.
Transportation-related accidents, fire and explosions, and violence from other people or animals also contributed to workplace injury totals in 2020.
Types of On-the-Job Injuries
The most common causes of on-the-job injuries can all result in various injury types. Many of these injuries can leave permanent damage behind.
Common types of injury suffered at work in Illinois include:
- Brain and spinal cord injuries. These are some of the most common injuries from falls, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are also among the most expensive and difficult types of serious injury to treat.
- Fractures. Broken bones are the number one result of falls in the US, according to the NFSI. Broken bones often result in time lost from work and other challenges, including limited mobility.
- Burn injuries. Whether from heat, electricity, radiation, or other sources, burn injuries can cause severe pain and damage, including severe scarring.
- Soft tissue damage. Damage to muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments and other body structures can lead to lost time from work, lingering symptoms, and problems with ongoing pain or mobility.
The National Safety Council has found that some types of work-related injuries result in more days off the job than others. The NSC estimates that the median number of work days lost for injuries includes:
- 4 days for head injuries,
- 9 days for back injuries,
- 13 days for foot and leg injuries,
- 13 days for injuries to body systems like the lungs or digestive tract,
- 15 days for wrist and hand injuries,
- 18 days for knee injuries, and
- 28 days for shoulder injuries.
This time off work costs workers dearly. Every day off work is a day when workers don’t take home the pay they need to support their families. Workers’ compensation helps compensate workers for these losses.
Navigating Workers’ Compensation in Illinois
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act governs workers’ compensation claims in the state. The Act requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance in case an employee is injured on the job. When an employee is covered by workers’ compensation, benefits are paid whether or not the employee was at fault for their own injuries.
Workers’ compensation claims are governed by specific rules. To understand how the rules apply in your situation, it’s important to speak to an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.
Who is Covered
The Workers’ Compensation Act covers employees who “are hired, injured, or whose employment is localized in the State of Illinois,” according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Handbook.
Employees who are covered by workers’ compensation do not have to earn their right to coverage by working a certain period of time. They are covered starting on the first day of work.
The Act limits coverage to employees, however. Independent contractors typically are not covered by workers’ compensation. They may, however, have access to other sources of compensation. Speak to an experienced attorney for more information.
Workers’ compensation in Illinois includes several different types of benefits for injured employees. These benefits include:
- Medical benefits to cover the costs of treatment of the injury or its effects,
- Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits to help employees pay bills while they are off work recovering from an injury,
- Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits to make up the difference between an employee’s usual wage and a lower wage they may receive while working fewer hours or restricted duties as they heal,
- Vocational rehabilitation and maintenance benefits for employees who require vocational rehabilitation to help them return to work,
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits for employees who experience permanent disability or disfigurement but can still work,
- Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits for employees whose injuries prevent them from working at all, and
- Death benefits for family members if a workplace injury causes a worker’s death.
Not all benefits apply in every situation. A worker who can make a full recovery from the injury, for example, may not need permanent benefits. In most cases, however, medical benefits will be needed, and a worker may also need some form of temporary benefits.
If you were denied workers’ compensation benefits even though you believe you qualify, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission allows you to pursue a claim for benefits without an attorney. Working with an experienced lawyer, however, can greatly increase your chances of success. Your lawyer can also take on the responsibility and work required to file a claim so that you can focus on healing from your injuries.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides support for injured workers so that these workers don’t have to prove their employer was at fault to get help. In some cases, however, a third party may be partly or totally responsible for your injuries. For example:
- A drunk driver may collide with an employee making a delivery or driving as part of their job, causing injuries.
- A defective tool or piece of equipment may cause injuries.
- A customer or other visitor may act violently, causing harm to an employee.
- Employees responsible for making deliveries may encounter aggressive dogs or other hazards that result in injuries.
These claims are called “third-party claims” because they involve a third person or company – one who is not you or your employer. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you have a third-party claim.
Where to Turn for Help
In 2020, workplace injuries cost US workers $163.9 billion, according to the NSC. This total includes:
- $44.8 billion in lost wages and work productivity,
- $34.9 billion in medical expenses,
- $12.8 billion in extra costs when employers lacked the workers’ compensation coverage their employees needed.
On average, a workplace injury that requires medical attention costs $44,000 in medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. When workers’ compensation is unfairly denied, workers bear the burden of these costs – but they should not have to.
If you’ve been injured at work, talk to an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney today. At Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg, our attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients in Lake County and throughout the greater Chicago area. We’ll answer your questions and help you decide what steps to take next. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.