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Can I Pursue a Third-Party Claim Following a Work-Related Injury?

June 4th, 2021 at 2:07 pm

Chicago-Workers-Comp-Attorney-Third-Party-injury-minPeople who are injured while working are usually entitled to receive workers’ compensation. These benefits are available whether a worker, their employer or other parties were at fault for an injury. To receive workers’ comp, a person will usually only need to demonstrate that their injury occurred while they were working or arose out of the work-related activities they performed.

While workers’ compensation will fully cover the costs of medical expenses related to an injury, other types of benefits may be limited. For example, disability benefits that address temporary or permanent restrictions to a person’s ability to work will only pay a percentage of the amount a person was able to earn before being injured, and workers’ comp does not address the pain and suffering a person experienced due to their injury. However, in some cases, an injured worker may be able to recover additional compensation by pursuing a third-party claim. Read the rest of this entry »

Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim for PTSD?

May 7th, 2021 at 8:03 pm

ptsdIn the early 1900s when soldiers started coming back from combat in World War I, physicians began to notice that many of the soldiers were experiencing the same type of psychological symptoms for months or even years after returning. This phenomenon was dubbed “shell shock,” which then evolved into “combat fatigue” after soldiers returned from World War II. Now, we know that this illness is called post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, as it is more commonly referred to. Though it is still frequently associated with military members, PTSD can happen to anyone, anywhere, and in various situations. Sometimes, a person’s line of work can be the cause of PTSD, or exacerbate existing mental conditions. But does that allow them to file a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD?

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Everyone typically experiences distress or other symptoms of PTSD after a traumatic event, but symptoms usually subside gradually. When symptoms do not go away and affect a person’s daily life, there’s a high chance that the person has developed PTSD. Main symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks or continuous intrusive memories about the event. Often, these can be extreme and can even make the person feel as if they are reliving the event.
  • Avoiding things that remind the person about the event. This may mean the person refuses to talk about what happened or avoids going to certain places or interacting with certain people who remind them of the traumatic event.
  • Various emotional and behavioral changes. People who have PTSD often experience many negative thoughts and feelings that can lead them to distort the reality around the situation, think negatively about themselves, be detached from others, and no longer find joy in things that they used to enjoy.
  • Changes in reactivity. This can include violent outbursts, behaving recklessly, being irritable, being easily startled, or even concentration and memory issues.

PTSD and Illinois Workers’ Compensation

There have been various Illinois Supreme Court cases that support workers’ compensation coverage for PTSD. The Supreme Court has held that a mental injury like PTSD does not have to be precipitated by a physical injury, unlike in past years. For a PTSD diagnosis to be considered a work injury, the PTSD must be linkable to an event that happened because of and during the person’s line of work. This is known as the “mental-mental” theory of recovery for workers’ compensation claims. The Illinois Supreme Court states specifically that PTSD can be covered under workers’ compensation if the employee “suffers a sudden, severe emotional shock traceable to a definite time, place and cause…though no physical trauma or injury was sustained.”

Our Chicago, IL Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help

In some cases, it can be difficult for physicians or evaluators to determine whether or not your PTSD is directly caused by something that happened at work and they may try to deny your claim. It is important to remember that mental conditions, including PTSD, are covered under worker’s compensation, so you have a right to file a claim. At the Law Offices of Francis J Discipio, we can help you collect documentation and file a claim for compensation for PTSD. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Cook County workers’ compensation attorneys, call our office today at 630-574-2288.

 

Sources:

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd

https://courts.illinois.gov/opinions/workerscomp/2013/2120294wc.pdf

 

Can Independent Contractors Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Illinois?

April 29th, 2021 at 12:54 pm

contractorEven though all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, not all those who work for that employer are covered. Technically, only true employees are eligible for coverage under workers’ compensation, but many companies also employ a variety of other workers, such as independent contractors. However, independent contractors are not eligible to receive benefits through workers’ compensation, even if they are injured while working. Some work injuries can be serious and require extensive medical care and time off from work, placing unnecessary stress on you and your family. If you have been injured as an independent contractor and your employer has stated that you are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits, an Illinois attorney can help.

Employee Misclassification is Common

Even though both independent contractors and employees work for an employer, there are differences in their employment status and benefits. Though there are federal laws to distinguish an employee from an independent contractor, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission considers all workers to have an employment relationship with their employer unless otherwise stated. Misclassifying workers is a common reason why a workers’ compensation claim can be denied by your employer. Misclassifying workers allows employers to avoid paying payroll and unemployment taxes on that worker’s earnings, but it also means the employer can face penalties if they willfully misclassify an employee.

Am I an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

The criteria that the Workers’ Compensation Commission uses to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor is slightly different than the criteria that the federal government uses. According to the Commission, a person is not an independent contractor unless that person:

  • Has and will continue to be free from the employer’s control over their performance of their services;
  • Provides a service either outside of the usual type of business or services the company provides or that service is performed outside of of the company’s locations; and
  • Has an independently established trade, occupation, business, or profession.

Contact a Cook County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

For the average family, being injured at work and being denied workers’ compensation benefits could cause extreme financial stress. It is important that your employer correctly classifies your employment status, but they do not always do this. If you have been injured at work and you are unsure of whether or not you qualify for benefits, you should speak with a skilled Chicago, IL workers’ compensation lawyer. At the Law Offices of Francis J. Discipio, we can help you determine whether or not you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and your options for recovering that compensation. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-574-2288.

 

Sources:

https://www2.illinois.gov/idol/Employees/Pages/Employer-Misclassification-of-Workers.aspx

https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/iwcc/about/Pages/insurance.aspx

 

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