CASE EXAMPLE: Client came to us seeking help because his previous attorney wanted him to accept $45,000 for a severe knee injury. We took over the case and got him a settlement of $525,000.00!
What is Workers Compensation?
Workers Compensation (aka Workers Comp, Workmans Comp) is a system designed to compensate and protect people who have work injuries. If you become injured at work, it doesn’t matter whether anybody did anything wrong that caused you to get hurt. It doesn’t matter whether you work part-time or full time. It doesn’t matter whether you work a cash job. As long as you are injured while performing your job, even if it’s your own fault, you are covered under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act and you are entitled to benefits.
What Benefits Do I Get?
Illinois law requires employers to:
- Pay you Temporary Total Disability benefits (TTD) which equals 2/3 of your average weekly wage for the time you are off because of work injury;
- Pay 100% of your medical bills;
- Give you money to compensate you for the permanency of your injury.
If you cannot return to your original job because of permanent restrictions from your injury, the employer’s insurance company must provide you with vocational rehabilitation, and then pay you 2/3 of the difference between your old wage and the wage of your new job, until you are 67 years old, or 5 years from your accident (whichever is later). If you can never return to work again, we can help you get paid for the rest of your life.
What Happens if My Employer Refuses To Pay Benefits?
We go to trial and make them pay. Workers Compensation matters are not decided before a judge or jury. Instead, there are hearings before the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. For Cook County Cases, the Commission is at the State of Illinois Building (100 W. Randolph on the 8th Floor) in Chicago. In collar counties, hearings are held at courthouses or municipal buildings. At trial, an arbitrator will hear the evidence and makes determinations on whether an injury should be covered under Workers Comp, whether a person should be off work, and what medical treatment is appropriate. An arbitrator can award penalties and attorneys fees against an employer who refuses to provide Workers Comp benefits in good faith.
We know workers comp. We are not afraid to try cases and we have a long record of success. We will guide you through the complicated process from beginning to end. We will make sure that you are able to see the best doctors in your area from the very beginning. We press the insurance company to pay temporary total disability (TTD) benefits promptly so that your family doesn’t suffer. We will make sure your doctors and therapy providers get paid.
Once you reach maximum medical improvement, we will get you the best settlement that we can, or we’ll take the case to trial if the insurance company is being unfair. We have handled Workers Compensation cases for over 40 years and we know how to maximize the recovery in your case.
The attorney who handled your real estate closing or traffic ticket or divorce has probably never appeared before the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission, which has its own rules, procedures, and idiosyncracies. We are familiar with them all.
With our firm, you will always be able to talk to your lawyer – you won’t be getting your advice from a secretary or a paralegal.
Do I Have Enough Money to Hire an Attorney?
Our fee is 20% of the amount recovered. You do not have to pay a dime upfront to file a workers compensation claim. If a lawyer tries to make you pay a retainer to file a workers comp claim, RUN!
Unlike some other attorneys, we do NOT collect a fee on undisputed TTD benefits or medical benefits. If the insurance company is timely paying these benefits in a correct amount, we aren’t going to charge you a fee on those benefits. If we do have to go to hearing to obtain disputed TTD or medical benefits, our fee is 20% of the amount recovered. Therefore, it does not cost you money to hire us as your attorneys when things are going relatively smoothly… but when the insurance company decides to play hardball, you’ll be glad you already have us on your side.
Generally, workers comp carriers do not offer settlements to people who don’t have attorneys, and if they do, the settlement offer tends to be a very small figure that does not accurately reflect the worth of your injury. Hiring us is a win-win situation.
Do I Have to Pay Taxes on my Workers Compensation Benefits?
Remember that Workers Compensation benefits are NOT TAXABLE. You do not have to pay Federal or State income tax on TTD or your Settlement. Although the TTD rate is only 2/3 of your average weekly wage, unlike your regular wages, TTD is not considered taxable income.
Will I Get Fired For Filing a Workers Compensation Claim?
Hiring a good workers compensation lawyer is the best way to ensure that you get the benefits you deserve, and it will also provide job protection. An employer cannot fire you for exercising your rights under the Workers Compensation Act. When hiring an attorney for your work injury claim, make sure he or she is experienced in ancillary employment matters and retaliatory discharge. We are, and our cases have established the law in Illinois protecting worker rights. Employers know that if they discriminate against our clients, they could be facing a very expensive lawsuit.
Call us at 312-332-5400 to discuss how we can help you. Our offices are conveniently located in downtown Chicago, but we can travel out to meet you if the situation requires.
Learn more about our Workers Compensation Attorneys.