Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
We Have Helped Thousands of Clients Receive Compensation
Being injured on the job is particularly stressful. In addition to having to miss work while you recover, it can be difficult to navigate the complicated insurance and workers’ compensation processes. Furthermore, many workplace insurance companies try to pay out as little as possible to employees, leaving many feeling as if everyone is against them. This is where our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers can help.
When you need someone on your side, contact McHargue & Jones, LLC at (312) 487-2461. We fight for employee rights.
Illinois Provides Strong Protections for Workers
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act
Chicago employees are protected by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, which requires anyone with one or more employees to cover the costs of all work-related injuries. No matter who was at fault, workers’ compensation insurance kicks in if anyone is accidentally injured, disabled, or killed in the workplace. This act also protects employees from facing retaliation should they need to file for damages under the act.
Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, this federal law allows any employee on a merchant vessel to bring a personal injury lawsuit should they be injured on the course of the job. They are guaranteed the right to a jury trial (not usually allowed by maritime law) and may choose to bring the case in district or state court. In the case of wrongful death, a representative of the deceased may bring suit.
In recognition of the dangers faced by railroad employees, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act covers workplace injuries for them. Injuries or accidental death caused by workplace negligence must be compensated by the employer. Unlike workers’ compensation, FELA does allow employers to argue that a worker was partially at fault and, if acknowledged, to reduce their payments accordingly.
Though not covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, federal employees do have recourse for on-the-job injuries under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). The law covers costs for injury, disability, disease, or death in the workplace.
Sometimes workplace accidents aren’t due to employer or coworker negligence or mistakes. When this is the case, injured employees (or the survivors of deceased employees) may be able to sue related third parties. This might include:
- Manufacturers of faulty equipment or defective products
- Delivery drivers employed by another company
- Owners of dangerous offsite properties
In third-party lawsuits, employees have a stronger burden of proof. They must show that the accused party is responsible, at least in part, for the injury they suffered.
Some jobs are more obviously dangerous than others, but all employees face some risk at work. Falls are one of the most common work injuries, and anyone from an office worker tripping over an unsecured cord to a fast food employee slipping on spilled oil can be injured. Workers across many industries, including receptionists, nurses, waiters, customer service representatives, and more, face repetitive stress injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Just because you assume workers’ compensation is for construction workers, firefighters, or others who perform heavy manual labor doesn’t mean you can’t file for help. If you’re not sure where you stand, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more.
These Industries Face High Injury Rates
In 2017, 163 workers died on the job in Chicago. Over 130,000 others sustained injury or illness in the workplace that year, with a little more than half of those missing at least one day of work. Though injuries did happen across many industries, some occupations stood out as much more dangerous:
- Freight warehousing stockers
- Truck drivers
- Delivery drivers
- Nursing assistants
- Auto mechanics and techs
- Construction workers
- Agricultural workers
No matter your industry, our team at McHague & Jones, LLC can help evaluate your workers’ comp claim. Call us at (312) 487-2461 or reach out online with your questions.
Workers’ Compensation and You
Countless people sustain injuries and illnesses at work each year. If you are a full employee (not an independent contractor), you are likely protected by workers’ compensation. The insurance kicks in the moment someone is injured due to a work activity. You and your employer will both need to submit the paperwork to start the claim process, and you’ll need to be evaluated by a doctor.
Workers’ compensation is part of the guarantee your employer provides in exchange for your labor. Especially in a tight workplace, it may feel odd asking for insurance coverage for an injury. However, this compensation can be vital to your financial stability. It can cover:
- Medical bills
- Recovery expenses
- Future treatment costs
- Lost wages
- Short-term disability
- Long-term disability
What Causes Workplace Injuries?
A dangerous workplace doesn’t necessarily signal an ill-intentioned employer. Most companies really do mean well. But, a small mistake at the top of the chain could result in serious consequences for those on the floor. Here are the factors that cause most workplace accidents:
- Inadequate training
- Unsafe working environments
- Failing to adhere to safety codes
- Unreasonable working schedules
- Malfunctioning machinery
- Improperly maintained equipment
- Exposure to dangerous substances and toxic chemicals
What Should I Do After a Workplace Accident?
If you’ve been injured in the workplace, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Delaying care is not only dangerous—it may hurt your case. Usually, insurers expect injured parties to minimize damages after the accident. If your reticence to visit a doctor makes your injury worse, you may be required to pay some of your medical costs.
Next, you should ask your employer for the papers you’ll need to file a claim. They are required to report the injury, but that alone won’t trigger the insurer to act. You must report your injury to a manager within 45 days of the incident, and then fill out an application for a claim. This is where you may want to begin working with an attorney. Our experience can guide you through filing, and we can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf, so you get the necessary compensation for your recovery.
Can I Be Demoted or Fired for Filing?
No. Workers’ compensation law explicitly protects employees from facing disciplinary actions after reporting their injury and filing a claim. If you think you are facing backlash, start keeping a record of negative encounters with, or unfounded criticism from, higher-ups. Our team can help you spot illegal retaliation and advise you on how to handle it.
My accident was a slip and fall at the workplace, what should I do?
Slip and fall injuries are some of the most common work-related accidents that occur on the job and warrant a workers’ compensation claim. This is due, in part, to the fact that slipping and falling is a job hazard of virtually every occupation in the U.S. Whether you work in the food industry, retail, or at a desk, you are never immune from the possibility of slipping on a wet surface or tripping over a congested walkway. As you’ll see from the list below, some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents at work can happen in any job setting:
- wet surfaces;
- uneven surfaces;
- moisture collection;
- obstructed walkways;
- loose floorboards or mats; and
- recently waxed or mopped floors.
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t want to cover on-the-job injuries and they will do everything in their power to deny the workers’ comp claim you file. That’s why it is imperative that you fully document the accident, including environmental factors connected to the fall, and act quickly when filing. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you prepare your claim or appeal a claim that’s been denied by the insurance company.
Know Your Workplace Rights
Workers’ compensation can be complex. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions to learn even more about the law. Or, check out our compendium of blog posts on specialty subjects:
- Why Should I Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
- Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Medical Expenses for All On-the-Job Injuries?
- Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover Mental Conditions?
- Do You Need to Prove Fault to Receive Workers’ Compensation?
- Can I Get Workers’ Compensation if the Injury was My Fault?
- What Information on Workers’ Compensation Should Employers Provide?
- What to Do if Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Navigating a Workers’ Compensation Claim with a Pre-Existing Condition
Call (312) 487-2461 to Schedule a Free Consultation
Workers’ compensation laws are important, as they are what protect workers from unscrupulous employers and unsafe work conditions. At McHargue & Jones, LLC, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys treat every case with the care and attention it deserves. We fight aggressively for employee rights, and we are prepared to fight for you. We believe in creating strong attorney-client relationships and, in addition to offering free consultations, our entire office is also fluent in Spanish. Our goal is to support you and help you get the compensation you need. Also, we accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay us unless we win for you. We will use every tool provided by the law to get our clients maximum compensation for their injuries.
Schedule a free evaluation with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Chicago by calling (312) 487-2461.