Common Injuries in the Auto Industry
Workplace accidents suffered by auto workers can include falls from heights, slip and falls, lifting accidents, and getting hands or loose clothing caught in machinery. Back injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and broken or fractured bones can also arise in this line of work. If you have suffered one of these common injuries in the auto industry, you can consult a seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorney regarding your legal rights.Common Injuries in the Auto Industry
Auto manufacturing and repair can be physically demanding and potentially dangerous fields. Workers in vehicle manufacturing and other sectors of the auto industry have higher rates of injuries and illnesses than those in many other industries. As an auto worker, you may be exposed to dangerous equipment and tools as well as assembly line work. Common injuries in these settings can include repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated discs or back strains, broken bones, lifting injuries, falls from heights, and getting hands or limbs caught in machinery. Amputations and serious third-degree burns are less common, but they can require months off of work and significant medical care.The Illinois Workers’ Compensation System
Workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to be provided to injured workers regardless of fault. In other words, in order to obtain them, you don’t need to prove your employer’s fault, and your employer can’t show that you were partially or totally to blame in order to diminish your eligibility for coverage. Although the workers’ compensation system aims to make it easier for workers to obtain compensation for their workplace injuries than civil litigation does, in practice it can be challenging to navigate the system and obtain the benefits you need.
If you’re injured on the job as an auto worker, you should notify your employer immediately and in writing. Notice needs to be given within 45 days to preserve your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, if you have a repetitive stress injury, you’re supposed to let your employer know as soon as you know about the condition, know that it’s a work-related injury, and know that you’re disabled by it.
You can provide oral notice of your injury, but it’s wiser to provide notice in writing so that you have evidence that you gave notice and when. The notice should specify the place you were injured and the date, and you should make sure that any other details you include are accurate. A dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer can answer any questions you may have about giving notice of a work injury to your employer.Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits can include medical care, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits.
Medical coverage in the form of reasonable medical care needed to treat your injuries is an important workers’ compensation benefit. Appropriate medical care may include emergency care, doctor’s appointments, imaging, lab tests, and surgery. For example, if you broke your leg while working in auto manufacturing, your workers’ compensation insurer may be responsible for emergency care, as well as treatment, costs of an X-ray, and prescription medication.
Disability benefits can be temporary or permanent, and total or partial. The different categories of disability benefits are paid out differently. Most common injuries result in temporary disability benefits. These are usually paid at a rate of 66 2/3% of an average weekly wage. These are capped at a state maximum. You can only obtain temporary disability benefits after you’ve missed three days of work as a result of your injury. Those three days are paid retroactively if you miss more than 14 days at work. For example, if you suffer a ruptured disc due to a lifting accident on the job, you may need to miss two weeks of work, and once you are out of work for more than 14 days, you can recover benefits for the first three days.
If you suffer paralysis as a result of a workplace accident, you may be permanently unable to work and may need to obtain permanent disability benefits. These might be paid based on a schedule of injuries or through a calculation of 66 2/3% of the difference in your wages before and after your injuries.Chicago Attorneys for Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you are concerned about obtaining workers’ compensation benefits as a result of one of the more common injuries in the auto industry in Chicago, you can consult a knowledgeable attorney. The nature of the benefits to which you may be entitled depends on the type of injuries you have sustained and your prognosis. Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck and Bertuca is available to represent injured auto workers in Aurora, Champaign, Quincy, and Rockford, and across Kane, Adams, Sangamon, Winnebago, and Cook Counties. We can also look at your situation to determine whether other relief is available in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525, or via our online form.