Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

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Chicago Workers’ Comp Attorney

When you suffer a sudden injury at work or develop an injury or illness because of your job duties, you can likely file a claim for workers’ compensation. This compensation is necessary to provide employees with time to recover without making them financially unstable. If you were injured at work, it’s important to work with a Chicago workers compensation lawyer quickly so that you can file a claim efficiently.

Illinois workers’ compensation law represents a balance between offering health care and job security to injured workers with the need to limit business expenses and lost productivity for employers. Workers’ comp benefits help employees get better and get back to work while limiting the company’s liability by prohibiting civil lawsuits against employers. These benefits are not automatic, however, and employees must file a claim for their injuries.

Connolly Injury Law: Standing Up for Employee Rights

Workers’ compensation exists to protect both employers and employees. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation doesn’t always protect employees as it should. Employers dispute the extent of the worker’s injury or say it isn’t work-related. Workers who do receive benefits find they are not getting as much as they should, or their benefits are cut off before they are ready to return to work. This can be frustrating and difficult to combat as you navigate your recovery or a readjustment to a new way of living.

In order to get the benefits you deserve from a workers’ compensation claim, you need the experienced team at Connolly Injury Law. Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer Mark Connolly is committed to making sure employees are treated fairly and get the benefits they are entitled to when they’ve been injured on the job.

Our firm provides you with the legal support and compassion you need as we negotiate with your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance on your behalf. We understand the importance of a settlement to your financial security, so we provide you with the comprehensive legal care you need to receive fair workers’ compensation.

If you’ve been hurt at work in Cook County or throughout Chicagoland and need help getting the benefits you deserve, call Connolly Injury Law for practical advice and professional assistance with your Illinois workers’ compensation claim.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Chicago

In Chicago, Illinois, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This protects the employers themselves from personal civil liability and also protects the well-being and financial security of employees. If you are injured from an accident at work or you discover a developmental condition, you should inform your employer and file a claim with their workers’ compensation insurance company.

It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The workers’ compensation insurance system makes it rare for employees to recover compensation through civil claims, such as personal injury claims. There are fewer benefits available in a workers’ compensation claim, but you are not required to prove that anyone was negligent or at fault to receive compensation. You must only prove that the injuries were caused by your work and that you did sustain damages.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get the compensation you need from an insurance provider, whose goal is to limit their costs and liability. This is why you need a workers’ compensation attorney who understands the state and local workers’ compensation laws and will protect your interests. An attorney can defend your employee rights.

Injuries and Claims Handled by Connolly Injury Law

Injuries in workplaces happen in many fields of employment, result in many different injuries, and require their own unique approach. When finding an attorney to represent you, you’ll want an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation laws that are relevant to your employment, accident, or injury. At Connolly Injury Law, we are experienced in some of the following areas, among others:

  • Burn Injury: Burn injuries can result from electrocutions, electrical fires, chemical spills, and explosions. These are incredibly painful injuries that can cause immense scarring, disfigurement, and even death. Burns require extensive treatment and may cause permanent nerve damage and disability.
  • Construction Accidents: Construction sites are among the most dangerous forms of employment. Employees can be injured from falls, falling objects, malfunctioning or improperly used machinery, a lack of safety protocols, scaffolding collapses, and numerous other dangerous accidents. When an accident happens at a construction site, there are multiple parties who could be liable in personal injury claims, in addition to the compensation employees receive in a workers’ comp claim.
  • Defective Safety Equipment: Employees in construction, industrial plants, and other hazardous work environments rely on safety equipment to limit the dangers they face. If these products are defective due to a design or manufacturing defect, the distributor and manufacturer of the product are held strictly liable. This civil claim could be filed in addition to a workers’ comp claim.
  • Eye Injury: Eye injuries can be sudden injuries, and they can also be developmental injuries caused by blue light from computer screens. When these injuries are the result of work duties, employees can file for workers’ compensation.
  • FedEx Driver Injury: Delivery drivers and other employees of FedEx are under pressure to meet deadlines and work quickly, and this increases the risk of injury.
  • Flight Attendant & Airline Worker Injury: Airline employees in Chicago can be injured while in flight, while loading and unloading cargo, due to inclement weather, and because of many other hazards.
  • Garbage Truck Driver Injury: Drivers and other employees who operate garbage trucks face dangers from the materials they transport, the machinery they operate, and the potential for car accidents. These injuries should be fully covered by workers’ compensation.
  • Head & Brain Injury: Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries can result in permanent disability for some injured employees. They can also be fatal. When you hit your head or lose consciousness in a workplace accident, it is essential to get medical care immediately.
  • Machinery Accident: Employment fields that use machinery like construction sites, factories, and other industrial sites can create high risks for their employees. When employees are injured on the job, they can recover compensation.
  • Neck & Spine Injury: Spine and spinal cord injuries can be caused by falls, falling objects, and vehicle collisions. Sometimes, these injuries can fully heal with recovery, while others result in permanent nerve damage and loss of function.
  • OSHA Violations: When an employer has faced multiple OSHA violations, this indicates that they are negligent or reckless. If an employee is injured because an employer failed to address the OSHA safety concerns, the employee may be able to file a personal injury claim for additional damages.
  • Road Construction: Employees who work on construction sites on roads face additional hazards from passenger cars.
  • Shoulder & Knee Injury: These injuries occur across many types of occupations and may be the result of a sudden accident, a repetitive motion, or another cause.
  • Third-Party Claims: If another party was to blame for an employee’s accident, a personal injury claim could be filed in addition to a workers’ comp claim. For example, if another driver or a third-party contractor was negligent, they may be liable.
  • Union Worker Injury Claims: For union workers who are injured on the job, it’s important to find an attorney who can navigate the unique workers’ compensation requirements.
  • UPS Driver Injury: UPS drivers and other employees face many hazards in their work, including the potential for car accidents, as well as repetitive motion injuries. Injured employees can file workers’ compensation and may be able to file a third-party claim.
  • Workers’ Compensation Act: The state laws governing workers’ compensation can be complicated, and employees often have to fight against profit-oriented companies. An attorney can help protect employee interests.
  • Workers’ Compensation Claims: The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be complicated, but an attorney can guide employees through it.

Some Areas We Serve:

  • Bridgeview
  • Burr Ridge
  • Cicero
  • Forest Park
  • Libertyville
  • Maywood
  • Oak Park
  • Peoria
  • River Grove
  • Rockford
  • Summit

What Does Illinois Workers’ Compensation Provide?

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act covers almost every employee in the state from day one on the job. The law covers all types of workplace injuries and illnesses, including traumatic accidents, repetitive use injuries, and medical conditions such as stroke or heart attack caused by work. Workers with a pre-existing condition can get benefits when their condition is aggravated on the job.

There are several benefits that employees can obtain with a workers’ compensation claim, including:

Medical Costs

Injured workers receive coverage for all medical care reasonably required to treat their condition, including doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, medications, prostheses and medical devices. When you tell your doctor you were injured at work, they bill the workers’ compensation carrier directly so you don’t have to pay out of pocket for your medical care.

Partial Wages and Disability Benefits

Workers’ compensation also helps out with wage replacement while you are out of work recovering from the injury or illness. Typically, this amount equals two-thirds of your average weekly wage while you are off work (Temporary Total Disability/TTD), or two-thirds of the wage differential if you can work at light duty or with restrictions and at a lower rate of pay (Temporary Partial Disability/TPD).

If you have to switch jobs, workers’ comp can cover the costs of vocational rehabilitation in an approved program. If you are permanently disabled or disfigured but can still work (Permanent Partial Disability/PPD) or permanently disabled and unable to work (Permanent Total Disability/PTD), you can receive benefits based on a wage differential or compensation based on a schedule of injuries. Disability benefits do have limitations based on the yearly state laws, so it’s important to be aware of those restrictions.

Death Benefits

Illinois workers’ compensation also provides a death benefit to family members who lose a loved one to a work-related accidental injury or illness. Death benefits include $8,000 in burial expenses to the survivor or person paying for the burial, plus two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage to a surviving spouse and young children, totally dependent parents, or other persons who were at least 50% dependent on the deceased. These benefits can last for the greater of 25 years or $500,000.

It’s illegal in Illinois to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim, but employers and their workers’ compensation insurance carriers still find ways to deny claims, terminate benefits prematurely, or underpay claims.

Common reasons employers give for denying claims include:

  • Claimant didn’t prove their case – The burden is on the claimant to prove all the elements of a workers’ compensation claim, i.e., the Commission has jurisdiction over the case, the worker was duly employed by the company, there was an accident or exposure at work, that accident or exposure is causally connected to the worker’s injury or illness, and the employee gave proper, timely notice to the employer about the injury or illness.
  • Extent of disability – Employers and insurers dispute how much the worker is really injured, often requiring employees to submit to examinations by their own hired doctors whose sole purpose is not to treat the individual but to render an opinion to the employer on the worker’s injury.
  • Not work-related – Especially when the injury stems from a degenerative condition that occurred over time or due to a traumatic accident that is not well-documented, the employer will claim the worker’s injury happened outside of work, off-duty, or due to a pre-existing condition.
  • Medical bills – The insurer will dispute whether the worker’s medical bills submitted for payment were “reasonable and necessary” to treat the employee’s condition.
  • Wage disputes – It can actually be quite complicated to accurately calculate an employee’s average weekly wage for the purpose of determining TTD, TPD, PPD or PPD benefits. Employers seize on this difficulty to underpay this valuable benefit that an out-of-work claimant desperately needs.
  • Not covered – An employer or insurer may claim that the employee was breaking the law when they sustained the injury, that they were intoxicated, or that they sustained the injury intentionally.

The attorneys at Connolly Injury Law have seen these tactics by employers and workers’ comp insurance providers, and we know how to address them. Many injuries should be covered under workers’ compensation claims, and it is important that you obtain the benefits you need to recuperate.

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Claims Process

As an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer, Mark Connolly understands that the road to benefits can be long and winding, with many places along the way that make or break an employee’s case. See below for a brief overview of the process. If you have any questions or need help filing a claim or appealing a denial, call Connolly Injury Law at 312-780-0816 for a free consultation.

Steps to Secure Workers’ Compensation in Illinois

STEP ONE: Employee report of injury

– Soon after the injury, the employee needs to put the employer on notice about the accident or injury. This is a required step to secure your rights to workers’ compensation rights. This report can be oral or written, but doing it in writing is highly recommended to document this step occurred. If reporting orally, follow up in writing. Include the date and place of the accident and a description of what happened. This notice should be delivered to the employee’s immediate supervisor or someone in management, not a co-worker. Company policy might designate a person to report to. The sooner this notice is given, the better, but it must occur within 45 days of the accident (90 days for radiation exposure) to avoid losing your right to workers’ comp. In the case of an occupational disease, the deadline to report is soon as practicable after the worker becomes aware of the illness.

STEP TWO: Employer reports the injury to the Commission

– Once notified of the injury, the employer should notify the Workers’ Compensation Commission, inform their workers’ compensation insurance carrier, and begin covering the costs of medical treatment. The employer should start making payments three days after the injury or provide a reason explaining why it isn’t covering the costs.

STEP THREE: Commission mails workers’ compensation handbook to employee

– The Commission’s HANDBOOK ON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AND OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES is a valuable guide to benefits and procedures and the rights and obligations of employees and employers, including contact information for Commission offices and more.

STEP FOUR: Filing a Claim

– If the employer isn’t paying benefits, the employee files a claim with the Commission. The Commission assigns a case number and an arbitrator to the case. Arbitrators handle thousands of cases, and it can take years before any hearing is held. The Commission should check in on the status of the claim every three months for up to three years, but the case will not be resolved until the employee is certified by a doctor as having reached “maximum medical improvement.” Workers have three years from the date of injury or disability to file a claim, although this deadline is longer for certain circumstances or types of injury, such as asbestos or radiation exposure.

STEP FIVE: Arbitration

– An arbitration is similar to a courtroom hearing or trial in many ways. The arbitrator hears evidence and is bound to follow the law and legal precedents, and the proceedings are recorded by a court reporter. At the hearing, the burden falls on the employee to prove eligibility for benefits. The employee must prove elements related to jurisdiction, employment, the accident or exposure, a causal connection between employment and the accident, and that the employee gave proper notice to the employer. Although it may take years to get to this stage, a trial is supposed to be held within a month of the request, with a decision delivered within 60 days of the arbitration. Emergency hearings, also known as 19(b) petitions, are available in certain circumstances.

STEP SIX: Appeal to the Commission

– Either side can appeal the arbitrator’s ruling to a panel of three Commissioners. Appeals happen in about 50% of all cases, so it’s good to know this might happen and be prepared to file or respond to an appeal. The Commissioners review the arbitrator’s decision in light of the evidence and trial transcript, along with written arguments from the parties. The Commissioners also schedule an oral argument to hear from the parties and question them about the case. The Commissioners can affirm, deny or modify the arbitrator’s ruling.

STEP SEVEN: Appeal to court

– It’s possible in most cases to appeal the Commissioner’s decision to the Circuit Court. From there, the case can continue to be appealed to the Appellate Court and even the Illinois Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court generally hears one or two workers’ comp cases every year. State government workers are bound by the Commissioner’s ruling and cannot appeal to court.

Although a workers’ comp case can proceed through all of these steps and go on for years, it can also be settled at any time. A skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will work to negotiate an effective settlement at the earliest possible time or advise you on the pros and cons of litigating the case further.

Help With Chicago Workers’ Compensation Claims

If you need help pursuing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in Chicago, please contact Connolly Injury Law at 312-780-0816 to speak with Chicago workers’ compensation attorney Mark Connolly. Your call is free, and there is no fee until after we are successful in getting you benefits. Mr. Connolly will handle your case personally and be with you at every step.


Q: How Much Do Workers’ Comp Lawyers Charge in Illinois?

A: Workers’ comp lawyers in Illinois charge a contingency fee, meaning that they keep a percentage of the final settlement if they are successful. Under Illinois law, this percentage cannot exceed 20%. In some cases, this percentage will be less. Whether your case goes to trial or is settled through negotiation, a workers’ compensation attorney will not take more than 20%. Always talk to your attorney about fees prior to hiring them.

Q: Can You Sue for Workers’ Comp in Illinois?

A: While you cannot “sue” for workers’ comp in Illinois, you can file a claim through the workers’ compensation insurance system. However, it is rare that you can file a civil claim against an employer. If you are injured while on the job or sustained an injury over time because of your job duties, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. You can file a civil claim if:

  • A third party was at fault
  • Your employer caused your injury through intentional misconduct
  • You suffered a latent work-related injury after 25 years

Q: What Is the Average Workers’ Comp Settlement in Illinois?

A: The average workers’ compensation settlement in Illinois does not tell you what your unique settlement will be. A workers’ compensation claim is directly related to the medical costs needed to treat your injuries and the amount of time you are unable to return to work. If you can never return to work due to a permanent disability, your settlement will be much higher than an employee who recovers from their injury in several weeks.

Q: How Long Do You Have to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Illinois?

A: Under state law, you have 45 days to provide notice to your employer about your workers’ comp injury. Whether you suffered a sudden injury or have discovered a condition, you must inform your employer as soon as possible. You must then file a workers’ compensation claim within three years of the incident occurring. This gives you time to contact an attorney and compile important evidence for the claim.

Help With Workers’ Compensation Claims in Chicagoland

Illinois workers’ compensation laws provide a legal process to fight a wrongful claim denial, underpayment of claims or early termination of benefits. This process involves hearings and appeals before administrative and judicial bodies, and representation from a qualified and experienced workers’ comp lawyer is essential to success.

Chicago workers’ compensation attorney Mark Connolly has years of experience and success representing injured workers in Cook County and throughout Chicagoland. Call Connolly Injury Law at 312-780-0816 for a free consultation and help with your claim. There is no fee unless we are successful in getting benefits for you.


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