Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
The most populous city in Lake County and the tenth most populous in Illinois, Waukegan is home to nearly 90,000 residents. Whether they work at major local employers like Medline Industries or Southwire or the many smaller businesses in the area, their ability to earn a living can be put at risk when they are seriously hurt on the job.
If a work injury has left you struggling to stay afloat, consider doing what so many others have done before you and get in touch with the Waukegan workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers, who have been standing up for the hardworking men and women of Waukegan for more than four decades. We pride ourselves on getting our injured clients the resources they need to become whole again.
To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our dedicated Waukegan workers’ compensation lawyers, please call us at (312) 999-9999 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.
When Do You Need to Report a Work Injury?
You will not be able to establish a Waukegan workers’ compensation claim until you report your work injury to your employer, either verbally or in writing, and there are legal constraints on how much time you have to give notice.
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you must notify your boss, foreman, or supervisor about your work injury or illness no later than 45 days after its occurrence. Failure to do so within this period could result in the denial of your Waukegan workers’ compensation claim.
Some rare exceptions to this 45-day window may apply, depending upon the nature of your injury. While most work injuries have a readily apparent moment of origin, like a broken leg, some conditions develop gradually over time through repetitive trauma, like carpal tunnel syndrome, or exposure to hazardous materials, like mesothelioma. For these kinds of conditions, the date of injury would be classified as the point at which you should have realized that you had suffered harm because of your employment. You would then have 45 days from that date to report your work injury. After you do, you or a Waukegan workers’ compensation attorney could opt to file a formal claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), which offers certain advantages but comes with its own statutory requirements.
But just because you have 45 days to report your work injury does not mean that you should take 45 days to report your work injury. Far from it! Delaying unnecessarily can make it easier for your employer or its insurance carrier to call into question the causal relationship between a work accident and your injury or even reject your Waukegan workers’ compensation claim outright.
Should You Hire a Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
While you are entitled to handle your Waukegan workers’ compensation claim on your own, injured workers often find that the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can be invaluable, particularly when they have not been hurt on the job before. Full Waukegan worker’s compensation benefits can remain out of reach if you do not understand your rights and responsibilities as an injured employee, much less the rights and responsibilities of your employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
With so much at stake, you may want to consider hiring GWC’s Waukegan workers’ compensation attorneys, ideally right after your work injury. Our seasoned lawyers can guide you through the frequently confusing Illinois workers’ compensation system, take charge of all interactions with the insurance company, file your claim properly and promptly with the IWCC, and steer clear of any pitfalls that could sink your Waukegan workers’ compensation case before it has even begun.
How Long Do You Have to File a Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Claim with the IWCC?
There are multiple advantages to filing your Waukegan workers’ compensation claim with the IWCC, though you will need to do so within the time allotted by law, which is three years from the date of your work injury or illness.
The Waukegan workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers will file your claim well before this deadline in accordance with all legal regulations.
What Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can You Receive?
There are a range of Waukegan workers’ compensation benefits that you might be eligible to receive. While your specific circumstances may shape which ones are available to you, the most common workers’ compensation benefits are as follows:
- Medical Benefits — Treatment for your work injury or illness should be covered if it is considered to be reasonable and necessary.
- TTD (Temporary Total Disability) Benefits — When your doctor decides that you are not able to go to work secondary to your work injury or illness, you may receive regular payments equivalent to two-thirds of your average weekly wage until you are cleared to return to your job.
- PPD (Permanent Partial Disability) Benefits — You could be awarded a PPD settlement, either as a lump sum or paid out in structured installments, if you suffer permanent impairment from your work accident, with the amount of that settlement influenced by the extent of your impairment and the part of your body that is impaired.
Along with these three core Waukegan workers’ compensation benefits, you may qualify for unemployment compensation, group health insurance, or Social Security and disability benefits. If your physical limitations force you to go in search of a new career, you may be able to undergo Vocational Training. In the tragic event of a fatal work injury, the surviving spouse and/or dependents could petition for benefits detailed in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
Our knowledgeable Waukegan workers’ compensation lawyers can educate you about what benefits you can obtain and what you will need to do to obtain them.
Who Pays for Your Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Regardless of which Waukegan workers’ compensation benefits you end up receiving, you should never have to pay anything for them. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, your employer or its workers’ compensation insurance provider must cover the costs of all approved benefits, though they may not always do so without putting up a fight.
Fortunately, GWC’s tenacious Waukegan workers’ compensation attorneys will be ready to fight back if an obstinate employer or insurance company is holding your benefits hostage.
Will You Have to Prove Somebody Else Was at Fault for Your Work Injury?
Illinois has a no-fault workers’ compensation system, so you will never have to prove somebody else was at fault for your work injury to receive your Waukegan workers’ compensation benefits.
If you were hurt in the course and scope of your employment as a traditional employee, you should be able to establish a valid Waukegan workers’ compensation claim, no matter if your accident was caused by your employer, a coworker, or even yourself. An on-the-job mistake should not prohibit you from getting the benefits you are owed, especially when you have GWC’s workers’ compensation lawyers in your corner.
Can a Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Claim Be Denied?
But though the workers’ compensation system in Illinois is no-fault, that does not mean that your claim will proceed without opposition. On the contrary, a Waukegan workers’ compensation claim can be denied for a host of reasons, most typically if you were injured while you were:
- Commuting to or from your place of work, unless you were traveling at the behest of your employer.
- Not at your workplace, unless you were directed by your employer to be where you were.
- Participating in activities that were not part your job, such as playing games, pulling practical jokes, fighting or wrestling, or engaging in other types of horseplay.
- Working as an independent contractor rather than as an employee, though a denial could be overcome when you are actually an employee in all but name only. A skilled Waukegan workers’ compensation attorney who can turn up persuasive evidence of employee misclassification may be able to convince an arbitrator or commissioner to grant you benefits.
Can You File a Lawsuit for Your Waukegan Work Injury?
The state’s no-fault workers’ compensation system is a two-way street that provides protections to employee and employer alike. Just as you might still get benefits when you are at fault for a work accident, your employer is largely shielded from civil liability when it is at fault, so you will be unable to file a lawsuit against your employer or fellow employees for most Waukegan work injuries.
That being said, you may be able to file a third party lawsuit or otherwise seek damages when your work injury is caused by an individual or entity with no employment relationship with your employer. Potential third party defendants for work-related injuries could include (among others):
- The drivers and/or owners of any outside vehicles involved in a work-related auto accident
- Property owners, developers, general contractors, and subcontractors who contributed to a construction site injury
- Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of malfunctioning work equipment or component parts
- Government bodies who failed to repair hazards on public property or whose employees inflicted direct harm
While your average weekly wage and other aspects of your employment can cap what you receive for a Waukegan workers’ compensation claim, a third party case will only be limited by the defendants’ insurance coverage and assets, which may allow you to be compensated for the entirety of your damages. Moreover, you do not have to choose between a third party case or a Waukegan workers’ compensation claim. Both can be pursued simultaneously for the same incident, which may increase what you recover.
That being said, your employer’s Waukegan workers’ compensation insurance carrier will probably insert a lien of subrogation on your third party case so it can be reimbursed for what it paid out. And unlike your no-fault workers’ compensation claim, you will need to prove fault on the part of the defendants for your third party case to prevail. In turn, the third party defendants may respond by insisting that YOU were at fault for the work accident, and the level of blame they can attach to you will determine whether your lawsuit can go forward.
If you are found to be 50 percent liable or less for your injuries, recovery may be possible, though the amount you receive may be reduced by your percentage of liability. If you are found to be more than 50 percent liable, your third party case will likely fail, though Waukegan workers’ compensation benefits may continue to be an option.
During your initial meeting with GWC’s Waukegan workers’ compensation lawyers, they will assess whether you have grounds for a third party case in addition to your Waukegan workers’ compensation claim.
What Our Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Do for You
If you retain our firm, our Waukegan workers’ compensation attorneys will conduct a far-reaching investigation into your workplace injury, leaving no stone unturned until all avenues of financial recovery have been identified.
GWC’s battle-tested team of Waukegan workers’ compensation lawyers will tirelessly advocate for you at each hearing, court appearance, and trial in order to maximize the value of your Waukegan workers’ compensation claim.
What Will It Cost to Hire a Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
If you are concerned about spending more money when you can least afford it, you should know that GWC Injury Lawyers works on a contingency fee basis, so it will cost you nothing upfront to hire our firm. Only when our Waukegan workers’ compensation attorneys bring your claim to a favorable resolution will we request a fee for our services and remuneration for our out-of-pocket expenses.
You will never owe us anything until we win your Waukegan workers’ compensation case.
Speak to a Waukegan Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Wherever you are in the workers’ compensation claims process, we invite you to speak to a Waukegan workers’ compensation lawyer today to explore your legal remedies.
Call (312) 999-9999 or click here for a free case evaluation at GWC Injury Lawyers, where our Waukegan workers’ compensation attorneys will do everything in their power to get you and your family the justice you deserve.