Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorney

chicago workers compensation attorney

At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates in Chicago, our team of workers’ compensation attorneys has a reputation for excellence. Law firm partner Mitchell Horwitz is a respected and successful workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago. One of the Top 10 Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Illinois by Leading Lawyers, Mitchell and the Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates workers’ compensation legal team have deep knowledge of the system.

Why Choose Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates for your Work Injury Case?

Not all Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are equal in experience and skill. At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, we bring broad experience to the table. The consequences of a work injury can be life-changing.

If you have been injured at work, you deserve the maximum possible benefits available under current law. You can be confident that the Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers will pursue every option on your behalf.

Our qualifications include:

  • Experienced trial, personal injury lawyers
  • Extensive record of successful workers’ compensation cases
  • Responsible for watershed Illinois Supreme Court decisions in favor of injured employees

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation System

The workers’ compensation system is the product of an early 20th century “Grand Bargain”. The “Bargain” was intended to protect both employees and employers. Employees injured at work had to sue their employers for negligence in order to receive money for their injuries. In most cases, the workers were unsuccessful and recovered nothing.

In the rare cases where workers’ succeeded in proving negligence, employers were then found liable for negligence. They had to cover for large jury awards, and it was perceived as unfair.

Finally, business and labor entered into the Grand Bargain. Workers gave up their right to sue the employer for negligence, but were entitled to medical care and compensation. These damages were paid for at the employer’s expense.

In the end, employers gave up their fault-based legal defenses. In exchange, they received strict limits on the amount they would have to pay for work injuries.

The “No-Fault” Workers’ Compensation System

In Illinois, a worker injured on the job is entitled to medical care and compensation.  It makes no difference whether you or your employer were at fault in causing the injury.

However, with a no-fault system, the amount of benefits you are entitled to receive is limited by state law. Minimum and maximum benefits are fixed based upon the “statewide average weekly wage,” or “SAWW.” For example, the minimum and maximum benefit rates for the period January 15, 2018, through June 3, 2018, are as follows:

Death, Permanent Total Disability, Amputation, or Loss of an Eye:

  • Maximum weekly benefit: $1,480.12
  • Minimum weekly benefit: $555.05

Permanent Partial Disability (Without Amputation or Eye Loss):

  • Maximum weekly benefit: $790.64
  • Minimum weekly benefit: $220.00 to $330.00 (amount varies based on the number of dependents)

Temporary Total Disability:

  • Maximum weekly benefit: $1,480.12
  • Minimum weekly benefit: $220.00 to $330.00 (amount varies based on the number of dependents)

Death Benefits

Weekly benefits in a fatal claim are paid to the surviving spouse for life, not to exceed the greater of 25 years or $500,000.00, and to minor children of the decedent until they reach age 18.  Benefits may continue past age 18 if the child is enrolled in school, but in no event past age 25.  If the deceased left no surviving spouse or minor child, benefits may be available to other dependent family members.

The Role of Workers’ Compensation

The Illinois workers’ compensation system plays an important role for employers.  An employer is legally immune from suit for personal injuries, even if the employer was negligent. Few exceptions exist to this rule.

This same rule protects the employee as well. Employees have the right to workers’ compensation benefits for on-the-job injuries, regardless of the cause. Even if the injury was caused by the employee and there was no negligence on the part of the employer.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is a long and complex state statute that covers a wide range of issues, including:

  • Arbitrations
  • Attorney fees
  • Emergency hearings
  • Appeals
  • Benefit rates

At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are familiar with all facets of the Act. With experienced in navigating this complex system, and our team knows how to achieve positive results for our work injury clients.

Chicago Work Injury Statistics

According to the Illinois Department of Health, the number of non-fatal work injuries and work-related deaths in Illinois include:

  • 172 fatal work injuries occurred in a single year.
  • The highest percentage of deaths — 22.1% — occurred in the construction industry.
  • The second highest number of work-related deaths occurred in the transportation and warehousing industries.
  • 145,900 non-fatal work injuries were reported among all industries statewide.
  • 77,400 of non-fatal cases involved time off work, transfer to another job, or restrictions.
  • The rate of non-fatal occupational injuries is at 3.2 for every 100 full-time employees.

Most Common Industries for Work Injuries

Our Chicago workers’ comp attorneys know a work injury can occur in any occupation. However, some industries are known to carry a higher risk of injury and illness, including:

  • Construction industry
  • State government (police, justice system, etc.)
  • Private air transportation
  • Warehousing and storage
  • Local government transit and ground transportation
  • Sporting events, entertainment performances
  • Nursing and residential care (government)
  • Nursing and residential care (private)
  • Sightseeing, tourism

Whether at a desk or at a construction site, you are at risk for a work injury. When the injuries are serious and result in short- or long-term disability, your future can be forever altered. Having a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago on your side as you fight for justice and compensation is important.

Chicago Workers' Compensation

How Our Attorneys Can Help with Workers’ Compensation

Some people assume employers and insurance companies will treat them with fairness and compassion. They may also assume employers and insurance companies will pay all benefits due and owing.

However, this is not always what occurs.

Claims can be denied or disputed. Benefits may be suspended or underpaid. Authorization for medical treatment may be denied or delayed. Medical bills may be unpaid or even sent to collection.

When this happens, a hearing may be necessary before an Arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The IWCC may compel the employer or its insurance company to pay benefits and authorize medical care. The Arbitrator’s decision can then be appealed by either party to a higher level of the Commission. The process is complex and must be managed with experience and skill.

At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers strive to zealously protect the rights of injured workers. We always pursue the maximum possible benefits available through the workers’ compensation system, and when appropriate, a third-party claim.

Protecting the Rights and Interests of Chicago Workers

Workers’ Compensation in Illinois is an adversarial system. The insurance company claims adjuster who makes the decisions on your case has no duty to you. The adjuster’s job is not to protect your interests.

Rather, the adjuster works for the employer’s insurance company – not for you. As a result, many valid claims are denied. Denied claims can put an injured worker and the worker’s family in a dire financial situation.

You have rights under Illinois law. We work to protect those rights by seeking the payment of the maximum amount of benefits available under the law.

Third-Party Lawsuits: Work Injury Cases

In many cases, a third-party may be liable for your injuries. Third-party liability occurs when an employee is injured by someone outside of your company. It is not uncommon for another party, to hold some responsibility for what occurred. Some examples of third-party liability include:

  • Vehicle accidents. A vehicle accident occurred while performing your work duties. A negligent driver who caused the accident may be sued as a liable third-party.
  • Toxic substances. A manufacturer may have failed to warn of potential exposure and danger when interacting with certain substances used in the workplace. This could lead to developing serious health conditions or illnesses.
  • Defective products. A product used in the performance of work duties, such as machinery or equipment, may have failed, resulting in bodily injury.
    • The product is considered defective if it is altered in the manufacture, design, or distribution phase of production. Additionally, the product is deemed defective if it did not have a sufficient warning or did not have sufficient warning labels. The manufacturer, leasing company, or another party that may hold third-party liability and can be sued to recover damages.
  • Other contractors: Another contractor working at the same site may be at-fault for causing your injuries. This opens the door to a third-party lawsuit.

Industries with Special Worker Protection Laws

Some workers are protected by special worker protection laws. Those who perform work duties on the waterways in Illinois, or those who work for the railroads are protected:

  • The Jones Act: The Jones Act applies to those who work on boats or other vessels. In certain cases, if an employee is injured at work because the employer was negligent, the employee can sue for damages.
    • Under the Jones Act, an employee has the right to have their medical bills paid and a daily allowance to help with the recovery from their injuries.
    • A Jones Act lawsuit allows you to pursue:
      • Past and future economic losses
      • Pain and suffering
      • Loss of quality of life
      • Other damages

These cases often require the help of a Chicago harbor injury attorney to establish the employer was negligent.

  • FELA: The Federal Employers’ Liability Act, or FELA, provides specific protections for federal workers, including railroad workers. Beginning a Chicago railroad claim, or any other claim under FELA, will require establishing negligence in some aspect of the case. Your employer may have failed to provide reasonably safe working conditions, leading to your injuries. Railroad companies have a duty to protect employees.
    • Failing to provide a safe environment can lead to a FELA lawsuit. With this, employees can potentially recover compensation for damages. This includes:
      • Medical costs
      • Lost wages
      • Lost earning potential
      • Loss of quality of life
      • Pain and suffering
      • Other damages.

Contact Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates Today in a Work Injury Case

If you were injured on the job in Chicago, you deserve to be treated fairly and to recover compensation for your injuries. Contact us at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates for a free case consultation with our Chicago work injury attorneys. We have the experience and track record of success you want on your side. Call now.

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