Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorney

At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates in Chicago, our team of workers’ compensation attorneys has a reputation for excellence. Law firm partner Michael Horwitz is a respected and successful workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago. Named as one of the Top 10 Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Illinois by Leading Lawyers, he and the valued members of the Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates workers’ compensation legal team have deep knowledge of the system. If you have been injured on the job in Illinois, it is imperative that you are represented by an experienced Chicago work injury lawyer with a record of success.

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 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. Before workers’ compensation was established, 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 found liable for large jury awards that were perceived as unfair.  Finally, business and labor entered into the Grand Bargain: Workers gave up their right to sue the employer for negligence, but in exchange received a no-fault system entitling them to medical care and compensation at the employer’s expense. Employers gave up their fault-based legal defenses, but in exchange received strict limits on the dollar amounts they would have to pay for work injuries.

In representing a client who was injured at work, the first step is a full review of the facts surrounding the accident. It may be possible to file a civil lawsuit against a third-party to recover a much greater amount of money than that which is available under workers’ compensation. We at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates strive to ensure that you receive all compensation benefits available under Illinois law.

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, the tradeoff for a no-fault system is that 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 negligence. Few exceptions exist to this rule. The same principle protects the employee, who enjoys a right to workers’ compensation benefits for on-the-job injuries, even if the injury was caused by the employee’s own fault 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, and benefit rates.  At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are familiar with all facets of the Act. We are experienced in navigating this complex system, and our work injury lawyers know how to achieve favorable results in cases of serious or fatal work injuries.

Chicago Work Injury Statistics

The Illinois Department of Health issues statistical reports revealing the number of on-the-job fatalities and non-fatal work injuries in the state. The most recent reported figures are as follows:

  • 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. While some jobs are known to carry a higher risk of injury, certain industries have high rates of injuries and illnesses, 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 you work at a desk job, in a highly physical activity, or in transportation, construction or any other industry, 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. It is imperative that you engage the services of a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago to guide you through the process of seeking the maximum possible in compensation in Illinois.

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.

In such cases, a hearing may be necessary before an Arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to 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

While a worker generally does not have the right to sue an employer for negligence and seek compensation, in many cases, a third-party may have liability. Third-party liability exists in cases in which a worker is injured by a party who is not employed by 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 of substances used in the workplace may have failed to warn of the potential for 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. If the product was defectively manufactured, designed, or did not have a sufficient warning, contain sufficient warning labels, or was defectively manufactured, stored, or designed. 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 on the same construction site may have been negligent and caused your injuries, opening 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. Under the Jones Act, if an employee is injured at work as a result of the employer’s negligence, the employee holds the right to sue for damages in certain cases. Under the Jones Act, the employee has the right to have medical bills resulting from the work injury paid, and a daily allowance paid while recovering from injuries. A Jones Act lawsuit allows you to pursue past and future economic losses, along with pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and many 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. A breach of this duty makes it possible to file a FELA lawsuit to seek to recover full compensation for damages, including medical costs, lost wages, lost earning potential, loss of quality of life, pain and suffering and 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 the maximum compensation possible in your case. 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.