Injured on the job in Oak Lawn? Talk to an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney today.
Located on the southwest side of the city of Chicago, Oak Lawn combines easy access to Chicago’s resources with the slower pace of village living. Since 2002, Oak Lawn has seen plenty of redevelopment, bringing in new jobs in construction, retail, and other fields.
Twenty years of economic growth has helped Oak Lawn’s residents find good jobs and expand their careers. Yet every job poses risks. Illinois workers’ compensation laws help protect Oak Lawn employees who are injured on the job.
Top Workplace Injury Causes in Illinois
Any workplace can be a site of injury or occupational illness. The National Safety Council (NSC) categorizes common types of workplace injuries. In 2020, the four most common on-the-job injuries reported nationwide were:
- Exposure to hazardous substances or environments. These injuries accounted for 36.1 percent of all on-the-job injuries in 2020. This category includes exposure to COVID-19 and other pathogens, as well as exposure to extreme temperatures, pressure changes, toxins, and other hazards.
- Overexertion and bodily reactions. These injuries accounted for 21.7 percent of all US workplace injuries in 2020. Back injuries were the most frequently reported type of overexertion injuries. This category includes strains, sprains, and repetitive stress injuries, as well as other types of overexertion and damage.
- Slips, trips, and falls. Slips, trips, and falls made up 18.0 percent of all workplace injuries reported in the US in 2020. Strains, sprains, and tears were the most common result of these incidents. This category includes both falls on the same height and falls between different heights, such as a fall from scaffolding or a fall into a hole or trench.
- Contact with objects or equipment. Being struck by an object, throwing against an object, or having a body part trapped by one or more objects all fall into this category. In 2020, this type of injury accounted for 16.7 percent of all on-the-job injuries in the US.
Other common causes of workplace injuries in 2020 included transportation incidents, acts of violence by people or animals, and fire and explosion injuries.
Different industries saw different patterns of injury, lost work time, and other consequences from on-the-job incidents. For example:
- Construction saw the highest total number of workplace deaths.
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting jobs had the highest rate of death per 100,000 workers – more than twice the rate of death in construction.
- Education and health services industries had the highest total number of injuries that required time off work and the highest rate of these injuries per 100,000 workers.
The NSC notes that COVID-19 deeply affected nonfatal injury and illness rates in education and health services. Before the pandemic, transportation and warehousing saw the most lost time from on-the-job injuries and illness, with education and health services coming in seventh.
Types of On-the-Job Injuries
In 2020, approximately 4,000,000 workers nationwide needed medical help for workplace injuries, according to the NSC. Common types of injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common results of falls, according to data from the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). They can also result from contact with objects or equipment and other workplace hazards.
- Spinal cord injuries. Another common injury suffered in slip and fall accidents, transportation accidents, and contact with objects or equipment, spinal cord injuries are among the most expensive and difficult serious injuries to treat.
- Broken bones. Broken bones are one of the most common results of a fall, according to the NFSI. They can also occur in many workplace situations.
- Damage to soft tissues. Muscle damage, nerve damage, and other damage to body tissues can cause lingering problems with pain and mobility.
In addition to bodily injuries, on-the-job accidents can also cause illnesses. Exposure to toxic substances or pathogens, overexertion in heat, and other situations can result in serious illness. While some illnesses are easy to spot, others may not show their signs for months or even years after workplace exposure has occurred.
These injuries are costly. In 2020, the NSC estimated that workplace injuries cost US workers and businesses $163.9 billion. This total includes:
- $44.8 billion in lost wages and work productivity,
- $34.9 billion in medical bills,
- $12.8 billion in extra costs when employers didn’t have required workers’ compensation coverage.
The cost per medically consulted injury in 2020 was $44,000, according to the NSC. This number includes not only medical bills but also lost wages and the value of the time spent fighting for workers’ compensation coverage.
What Happens in an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance. Employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover certain costs if an employee is injured on the job.
Who is Covered?
Workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance if they are employees who are injured while working in Illinois or for an Illinois company. You do not have to be a resident of Illinois to be covered by workers’ compensation. For example:
- If you reside in Wisconsin but you’re injured while working in Lake County, Illinois workers’ compensation may apply to your injuries.
- If your employer is located in Lake County but sends to you Wisconsin for work, Illinois workers’ compensation may apply.
Workers’ compensation only applies to employees. If you are an independent contractor, you may not be covered by workers’ compensation. Speak to an experienced attorney if you have questions about your workers’ compensation status.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation provides payments to help injured employees make ends meet while they recover from their injuries. Because the losses from a work-related injury or illness depend on several factors, several types of benefits are available. These include:
- Medical Benefits. Medical benefits cover the costs of medical care for a work-related injury or its effects. They may include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medical tests, and other costs.
- Rehabilitation Benefits. Some workers need help from a vocational rehabilitation specialist to regain their ability to do their job after an injury. Workers’ compensation in Illinois includes benefits for participation in an approved vocational rehab program.
- Temporary Benefits. Temporary benefits help employees who are recovering from their injuries. Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits help employees make ends meet when they have to take time off work to recover. Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits help employees who return to restricted work that pays less than their usual job.
- Permanent Benefits. Like temporary benefits, permanent benefits help employees who face limitations in their work. Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits help employees who experience some disability or disfigurement, but who can continue to work. Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits help those whose injuries prevent them from working at all.
- Death Benefits. Some workplace injuries are catastrophic. If an on-the-job injury claims an employee’s life, death benefits help surviving family members.
As you become fully aware of the extent of your injuries, you may discover you need various types of workers’ compensation benefits. If you believe your claim for benefits has been unfairly denied, don’t hesitate to speak to an experienced attorney.
Workers’ compensation claims handle the costs of an injury between two parties: The injured employee and their employer. Workers’ compensation covers an employee’s injury costs regardless of fault.
In some cases, however, an injury is caused by someone who isn’t the employee or the employer. For example, a delivery driver may be injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. An employee may be injured if a hidden defect in a tool or piece of equipment causes harm.
These claims are called “third-party” claims because they involve someone who isn’t an injured employee or their employer. Workers’ compensation doesn’t prevent you from seeking compensation from a third party if that third party is at fault for your injuries. Experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers are familiar with third-party claims. An attorney can tell you if you have such a claim and can help you pursue it if you choose.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured at Work
Illinois law requires employers to pay for the cost of workers’ compensation benefits. Many employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance for this purpose, although the state allows certain employers to self-insure.
Employers may not charge employees for the costs of workers’ compensation. They may not discriminate against employees for seeking workers’ compensation benefits, either. Employers and workers’ compensation insurers may not refuse to pay benefits to employees who are qualified for them under Illinois law.
If you’re facing trouble with your workers’ compensation claim, don’t wait. Talk to the experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys at Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg today. We’ll answer your questions and help you take the next step. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.