Certified Rehabilitation Counselor for Firefighters
As a firefighter, you face tremendous risks while working. The workers’ compensation system does include features intended to address long periods in which you are unable to do your job due to work-related injuries. One benefit that may be available for a work-related injury is vocational rehabilitation as specified under Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The law does not cover you as a firefighter for the City of Chicago, except when your work injuries involve serious disfigurement due to burns. If you are concerned about retaining a certified rehabilitation counselor for firefighters, and you are outside Chicago, or suffer disfiguring burns within the City, you should discuss your situation with our firm. With 60 years of experience, the seasoned Chicago-based workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck, & Bertuca may be able to represent you.Choosing Your Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
It is critical to choose a lawyer who understands your need for a vocational rehabilitation counselor based on the potential job area in which you’re interested. When we have input into the counselor, we will be able to figure out whether firefighters or other workers in dangerous lines of work have been successful with that counselor in the past. The counselor must understand firefighting, as well as the local job market, and the odds of you getting a job, given your past work experience.
As your attorneys, we would look at the specifics of your situation to determine what approach to vocational rehabilitation might be appropriate for you. A number of factors must be considered including whether a particular certified rehabilitation counselor would have credibility when testifying before the arbitrator who is handling your specific case. The arbitrator will need to be able to determine that your chosen counselor is objective and realistic about your path forward as a firefighter, or as a worker unable to stay in firefighting who seeks another line of work.
Arbitrators may know what your counselor has said in past proceedings. They may be able to compare testimony and understand when a specific counselor is exaggerating or not entirely forthright. Accordingly, our lawyers will try to make sure that the person chosen to counsel you in your career shift or return to the same workplace in a different position has a good reputation when going before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
An arbitrator will also need to factor in other information such as the number of years you have left in the workforce. You may not be able to get a certified rehabilitation counselor if your skills are sufficient to get you hired without rehabilitation.Disputes Over the Counselor
Your employer or its insurer will hire the certified rehabilitation counselor. You may disagree with the employer about whether a specific counselor is appropriate. You and the city for which you work may disagree about what can or should be achieved through the services of the certified rehabilitation counselor. The process of obtaining benefits can be made complex through these disagreements. Our lawyers can ensure you understand your rights in this regard and protect them to the extent feasible.
If you have limited skills that could be transferred from firefighting to another position, we can try to make sure the certified rehabilitation specialist truly understands what types of tasks you were performing at the time you were injured and the nature of your work-related restrictions. For example, if your limbs were badly burned and disfigured in a Chicago fire such that you can no longer fully use them and need to find a job that doesn’t require full use of your limbs, we would make sure the certified rehabilitation counselor fully understood that.Retain Dedicated Legal Representation
Our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys handle claims of firefighters who need a certified rehabilitation counselor in Champaign, Rockford, Quincy, and Aurora, along with Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. We also handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims and third-party lawsuits. Call us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or complete our online form.