Archive for November, 2015

Mental Suffering and Workers’ Compensation in Illinois

November 27th, 2015 at 6:11 pm

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 workers’ 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 workers’ 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?

November 13th, 2015 at 2:06 pm

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.




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