What To Do When You’re Injured At Work in Chicago

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Businesses have a duty of care to employees. OSHA exists to ensure that duty is performed. And yet, especially in certain jobs, accidents can still happen. When you’re injured at the workplace, it can cause you to lose income and accrue medical bills. But so long as you were on the clock, you don’t have to handle expenses alone.

In Illinois, Workers’ Compensation insurance is required by law. If you are hurt at work, you must follow proper steps and retain a lawyer to ensure you receive proper compensation and time to heal.

Injuries at the workplace can lead to anything from a few hours of lost work to a long-term disability. It’s important that employees know their rights and takes steps to ensure they aren’t scammed. After an injury occurs, if the employee is still able to work, talk to management about ensuring the accident doesn’t happen again.

Policy and Procedure

Every business should have instructions on what to do when an employee is injured. All supervisors and managers should receive thorough training. Of course, step one is always to get medical attention for the employee. Sometimes this is basic first aid in the office, but other times this means calling emergency services. A supervisor can drive the employee to urgent care in rare cases where insurance covers transport.

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Priority should always be on caring for the employee before working up a report. The company should have rules in place for taking notes regarding the incident. Eye witness reports, self-report from the employee, management reports, and any camera footage should be acquired. If management doesn’t do this, then you should as soon as you’re able. Or ask a loved one to contact whoever was with you and ask for their help.

Your work may have certain rules on when to report to who, but you will need to speak with insurance adjusters at some point. Remember: it’s these folks’ job to save the insurance company money. Most do so respectfully, but occasionally you’ll meet one who tries to trick you into accepting fault or downplaying your injury. Don’t accept that.

Retain a Lawyer

You may work for the most trustworthy employer in the United States, but you should still retain a personal injury lawyer local to Chicago. Lawyers in workers’ comp cases aren’t always there to sue a company. They can help you navigate paperwork, ensure you receive the right care, verify your compensation amounts will take care of your expenses, and check over your employer’s policy to ensure all your rights are being considered.

They can also check into the required physician care to ensure you are receiving adequate care and aren’t being pressured into returning to work. Most importantly, they’ll keep the insurance adjuster honest.

A work injury can lead to missed work and even long or short-term disability. A workers’ comp lawyer will ensure you are taken care of during that time and your injury isn’t made worse.

Communicate with Your Boss

You cannot be retaliated against for filing workers’ comp. Many times, issues that arise after workplace injuries are a result of poor communication from either party. You want to make sure to keep your boss in the loop with your treatment and recovery. You also want to tell them ahead of time if you are retaining a lawyer. You can easily explain it by the reasons above— you just want to ensure you’re filing everything correctly and the procedure is handled correctly. It’s as much for their protection as yours; workers’ comp issues and lawsuits can look awful on a company’s record. Retaining a lawyer helps ensure things don’t escalate that far.

If they try and talk you out of retaining a lawyer, that’s a red flag. Try and handle all of these conversations in writing so that you have a record of their actions. Hopefully, you won’t need that evidence. But it’s best to have it just in case.

Your lawyer can help you navigate conversations during this time. We probably don’t need to stress this, but don’t engage in these conversations if you are heavily medicated or lacking mental clarity. It’s a good idea to assign someone in your family that you trust the ability to speak on your behalf, with your lawyers especially. Pending the severity of your illness or injury, an insurance adjuster or scummy workplace could try to take advantage of your state. Talk to your lawyer about taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Focus on Your Recovery

Once you have a lawyer, let them handle the bulk of your case. You need to focus on your recovery. This can be anything from a medication regimen to physical therapy. Stress isn’t great for recovery, so try not to focus on the workers’ comp claim.

In the worst-case scenario, when a workplace incident has led to a wrongful death and you are claiming survivor benefits, you should focus on your family and coping with your loss. Again, we recommend a lawyer handle the paperwork and procedure with your loved one’s workplace. You have more important things to deal with: medical bills, funeral and burial costs, morning, and caring for others in your family who are also affected. Take time for yourself. Your lawyer can handle the company, and they will advise you of anything you need to handle personally.

Looking Forward

With luck and a good employer, a workers’ comp claim won’t have to go to court. If it does, however, your personal injury lawyer will support you through the entire process. You may decide to return to work, or you may find yourself looking for other opportunities. If you decide to leave, you may worry about former coworkers.

Court records will prove that the issue had arisen before and resulted in an injury. If the workplace does nothing to prevent further incidents, they will automatically be liable in any future incidents. Even if you don’t return to that company, talk to your old coworkers and make sure they know their rights— and your lawyer’s contact information.