In protecting the rest of us, police officers are required to place themselves into dangerous situations on a regular basis. As such, the unfortunate reality is that police officers, at some time or another, will likely suffer injuries related to their work.
You may think that your Department will “take care of you” in the event of an injury, and that it is unnecessary for you to consult with an attorney. Relying on your municipality to “do the right thing,” however, often proves to be a costly mistake. An insurance company – not the municipality or your Department – will be making all the decisions regarding your case; and the insurance companys only job is to save money for itself, at your expense. Furthermore, the Workers Compensation laws have changed, and now more than ever, they are filled with traps for injured workers who fail to properly and adequately protect themselves. Even in the immediate aftermath of an injury, certain innocent oversights – for example, failing to immediately report the incident to a supervisor – can have very detrimental effects on your right to benefits.
Prompt consultation with a knowledgeable attorney will ensure that you do not fall into any of these traps after an injury, and that you receive full and fair compensation. Choosing the right doctor, handling interactions with insurance company representatives on your behalf, and making sure that your lost time benefits are correctly and completely paid, are all important things that we can help you with after you are injured. (For example, did you know that, with the exception of the City of Chicago, all police officers in Illinois who are injured at work are entitled to receive workers compensation benefits regardless of whether the injuries occurred “in the line of duty?”)
In some instances, persons or entities other than your employer may have contributed to an injury-causing incident. When this happens, the injured party may also have a valuable “third party” case in addition to the right to workers compensation. Hiring the right attorney early on in your case ensures that this second cause of action can be thoroughly investigated and a lawsuit filed within the time allotted by law. If no action is taken within the permissible time period, however, any “third party” rights you may have had will be permanently lost.
An injury is bad enough in itself, but as you can see, there are countless other things that can go wrong after an injury. It takes a real professional to make sure that your case proceeds smoothly and results in an appropriate settlement. If settlement is not feasible, you need a law firm with sufficient resources and experience to take the matter to trial. Just like doctors, not all law firms are equal. We all charge the same fees (20% for workers compensation claims and 33 & 1/3% for personal injury matters), so it only makes sense to hire the firm that is best positioned to protect you.