Mental Suffering and Worker’s Compensation in Illinois

Posted: November 27th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Post-Traumatic Stress, Workers Compensation Insurance | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

mental suffering, PTSD, Illinois worker's compensation attorneyWorkplace injuries cannot always been seen with the eye or even with an X-ray or MRI. Some workplace injuries come in the form of mental trauma or mental illness. These injures are often just as serious as physical injuries. However, there are some challenges to making a successful worker’s compensation claim for mental trauma.

What Types of Mental Suffering Can be Compensated?

Not all types of mental suffering or trauma are equal. If your job stresses you out or you cringe every time your boss yells at you, you may be undergoing a legitimate form of mental suffering, but in most cases it is probably not the type of thing that you can get worker’s compensation benefits for.

The classic example of mental injuries that are compensated under the worker’s compensation system is when an employee develops post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, because of some type of workplace violence. The mental trauma does not have to be this severe to qualify for benefits, but it does need to have an identifiable cause.

Challenges to Successfully Bringing a Claim

These types of claims are challenging to win because of the personal nature of mental suffering.  Often arbitrators and defense attorneys are suspicious of anyone without a physical injury making a worker’s compensation claim.

In order to overcome this suspicion it is vital that you have a history of seeking and receiving treatment. No panel is going to take your word that you are suffering from a mental illness caused by working conditions. You will need medical records from a licensed therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

It is also important that you report your injury as soon as possible to your employer. While this can be uncomfortable, the law requires employees to report workplace injuries as soon as they are discovered. Failure to make a timely report of the injury can be reason to have your claim denied.

What Kind of Accommodations are Required?

Employers must make the same kinds of accommodations to an employee suffering from a mental injury as they do with an employee with a physical injury. This may mean light duty, or a change in the work location.

Every case is unique. However, employers have several different legal obligations to make reasonable accommodations for your workplace injury, whether it is physical or mental.

If you have questions about worker’s compensation or mental suffering from a work accident, you need to contact a skilled and experienced DuPage County workers’ compensation attorney right away to protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Frank J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 to schedule a consultation.




What Happens If My Spouse Dies on the Job?

Posted: November 13th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Workers Comp Benefits | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

death benefits, workers' compensation, Illinois workers' compensation attorneyThe Illinois workers’ compensation system is designed to protect workers who are hurt on the job. The worst possible outcome of any workplaces injury are permanent disability or death. When someone dies as a result of a workplace accident or incident the worker’s beneficiaries are usually entitled to compensation.

Beneficiaries Under Workers’ Compensation

Unlike life insurance, you do not get to name your beneficiaries under the workers’ compensation system. Beneficiaries under the law fall into two types:

  1. Fully Dependent
  2. Partially Dependent

The top priority for worker’s compensation death benefits are the deceased worker’s spouse and minor children. The maximum benefit possible is 25 years of payments, or $500,000, whichever is greater.

If the surviving spouse remarries, any dependent children under age 18 will continue to receive benefits. If there are no children under 18 when the surviving spouse remarries, he or she may be eligible for a one time payment of two years worth of benefit payments.

Partially Dependent

The purpose of the death benefits is to provide some measure of financial stability for those who depended on the worker for their support. If a deceased worker has no dependent spouse or minor children, the next priority beneficiary would be parents who were at least 50% dependent on the worker.

If there are no parents that fit the criteria, the last in line would be other persons who were at least 50% dependent on the worker for their support.

Types of Death Benefits

There are two main types of death benefits that the workers’ compensation system pays out:

  1. Burial Benefits
  2. Survivor Benefits

Burial benefits are designed to cover the cost of a funeral and burial. The current benefit is $8,000. However, this number is periodically adjusted.

Survivor benefits are designed to provide the beneficiaries a portion of the income that they will now be missing due to the untimely death of the worker. The calculation of the exact amount of the benefit is complicated and an arbitrator may make the final decision as to the benefit amount. Survivor benefits are usually two-thirds of what the worker’s earnings for the past year of his or her life.

Other Claims

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Illinois. It does not matter who was at fault for the accident that claimed the life of the worker, the benefits must be paid out.

In some instances someone unrelated to the employer, a third-party, is responsible for the death of the worker. The law allows the survivors to pursue a wrongful death claim against the third party. This may allow for the payment of damages from the third party or their insurance company.

The employer cannot normally be sued for the accident. The worker’s compensation system protects the employer from lawsuits over workplace accidents, but also provides some measure of financial certainty to the families of injured workers.

If you have questions about worker’s compensation or death benefits from a work accident, you need to contact a knowledgeable DuPage County workers’ compensation attorney right away to protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Frank J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 to schedule a consultation.



Challenges With Repetitive Trauma Injuries and Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims

Posted: October 22nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Repetitive Stress Injury | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off

repetitive trauma, work comp, Illinois Workers' Compensation AttorneyWorkers’ compensation can be claimed for repetitive trauma injuries and not just for major injuries that occur in a single accident. The law in Illinois presents some challenges for people trying to file workers’ compensation claims based on these injuries. The issues include knowing what types of injuries are covered, and presenting the claim so it meets the requirements of state law.

Types of Injuries

Frequent and repeated motions or movements over a period of time cause repetitive trauma injuries. These injuries are common in jobs that require the same parts of the body are doing the exact same motion day after day.

Construction jobs where heavy vibrating power tools must be used frequently often cause repetitive trauma injuries. Another common cause is jobs that require a lot of typing on a keyboard.

Some typical types of repetitive trauma injuries include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Herniated Disks
  • Cubital Tunnel
  • De Quevain’s Syndrome
  • Tendonitis

What You Have to Prove

While each claim is unique, under Illinois law, every workers’ compensation claim must show a date of injury, that the claim was timely filed, and that the injury was work related. Claims may also have other requirements to be successful. The date of injury and the showing the injury is work related can sometimes be a challenge in repetitive trauma injuries.

Date of Injury

For many injuries, determining the date of injury is easy. When did the accident happen that caused the injury. But, repetitive trauma injuries happen over a period of time and cause the gradual deterioration of different parts of the body. Under the current law, a claimant with a repetitive trauma injury should notify their employer as soon as they learn that their injury or pain is work related.

The law has become more flexible than it once was in finding the date of a repetitive trauma injury, but the sooner you notify your employer the better. If you have any questions about reporting to an employer or your workers’ compensation rights, you should contact a lawyer right away. Time is of the essence.

Work Related

Just like with the date of an injury, for many workers’ compensation cases showing the injury is work related is simple. But, some repetitive trauma injuries are from pre-existing injuries or are aggravated by work and by actions of the employee when they are at home.

The law in this area can be complex and will depend heavily on the facts of each individual claim.

If you have been hurt on the job, don’t risk making a mistake, Contact an experienced DuPage County workers’ compensation attorney right away to protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Frank J. Discipio at 630-574-2288 to schedule a consultation.