What should I do if I was injured in a workplace accident?
Most Chicago-area residents work hard to earn a living and rely on their wages to make ends meet. An injury caused by a workplace accident can be financially and emotionally devastating. If you were hurt on the job, you're likely facing mounting medical expenses. At the same time, you're not able to work and collect a paycheck.
You may be wondering how you will afford your medical bills and living expenses. You may not be sure where to turn or what course of action you should take. The Chicago attorneys at Coplan + Crane discuss your legal options if you were injured or became ill at work.
Workplace injuries happen in all industries from the office to the construction site. Some of the most common injuries and illnesses we see include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Bone fractures
- Neck, back, and spine injuries
- Burns, cuts, bruises, and abrasions
- Soft tissue injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Lung illnesses linked to occupational exposure
Collecting workers' compensation
Workers' compensation is a "no fault" system. This means that you should be eligible to be compensated for medical expenses and partial lost wages, no matter who was at fault for your injury, as long as the injury happened within the scope of your employment. (There are a few exceptions, such as if you intentionally injured yourself.) You may also be eligible to receive compensation for partial or total disability, depending on the extent of the injury.
If you sustain an injury or illness at work, it's important that you notify your employer or supervisor right away. Follow your employer's protocols for reporting an injury. An incident report will need to be filled out and documented. You should then see a qualified physician as soon as possible and get an accurate diagnosis.
You will also need to speak to an experienced attorney who knows how the workers' compensation system in Illinois works and how to litigate cases like yours. Obtaining workers' compensation benefits isn't easy. Any errors made during the process can cause your benefits to be delayed or denied. The insurance companies responsible for compensating you may argue that your injuries aren't serious enough or that particular medical treatment isn't reasonable and necessary, even if it's what your doctor recommended.
What if my workplace injury was the result of negligence?
You can't sue your employer or a coworker for a workplace injury caused by their negligence. But if your injury was caused by someone other than your employer, you may be able to pursue damages through a third-party liability claim. For instance, you may have a third-party claim if your injury was caused by:
- An employee or supervisor from another company who was working on the same site as you.
- A driver who hit you while you were within the scope of your employment—for instance, while traveling from site to site during the work day.
- The owner or manager of a property where your injury occurred—for instance, if you were visiting a client's home or another company's property, or if a third-party company is responsible for maintenance or security at your workplace.
- The manufacturer or distributor of defective equipment, machinery, or materials.
Remember, workers' comp only covers your medical expenses, a percentage of your lost wages, and some disability benefits depending on the extent of your injury. Filing a third-party claim may help you get compensation for additional losses not covered by workers' compensation, such as pain and suffering, excess wage loss, and more.
Contact our experienced Chicago workplace injury lawyers
If you were hurt on the job, speak to the experienced workplace injury lawyers at Coplan + Crane. We know that your case is unique and we'll take an inclusive approach to helping you obtain the benefits you deserve.
With law offices in Oak Park and Rockford, our law firm is dedicated to serving injured workers in the greater Chicago area. Contact us online or call us to set up your free and confidential case evaluation.