When you work for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), you are a critical part of providing public transportation services to the city and its surrounding suburbs. Thousands of buses and rail cars depend on CTA workers. Unfortunately, these workers are also at risk of sustaining injuries in accidents and due to repetitive motions while working. As a CTA worker who becomes disabled such that you can no longer earn your full income, you may find yourself struggling to secure benefits you need. CTA and its insurer may present unfair obstacles in your path, such as improper denials, calculating your benefits according to an improper average weekly wage, or stopping disability benefits after initially paying them. If you are concerned about recovering benefits after getting injured on the job, you should discuss your situation with the seasoned Chicago CTA worker lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We have more than 60 years of experience fighting for the injured.Disability Benefits
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act establishes your entitlement to certain no-fault benefits when you’re injured on the job. The law is intended to make it easier for workers disabled on the job to obtain compensation they need than civil litigation is. Unfortunately, in practice, CTA and its insurers can make it very challenging to get necessary benefits. Disability benefits to which you may be entitled as a CTA worker injured on the job in or outside Chicago include:
- Temporary total disability benefits,
- Permanent total disability benefits,
- Temporary partial disability benefits,
- Permanent partial disability benefits.
These benefits are no-fault, meaning you do not need to prove that CTA’s negligence or other fault contributed to your injuries. Conversely, CTA cannot get your benefits reduced by showing you were to blame for your own injuries.Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary total disability benefits are available if you’re not able to work for a period of time because of workplace injuries. You may also be eligible for temporary total disability benefits if your doctor specifies you can’t work or you’re able to perform light duty work but CTA has no work that would accommodate you at this level. CTA and its insurer should provide you with temporary total disability benefits until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), or you go back to work.Permanent Disability Benefits
There are situations in which a CTA employee never fully recovers enough to go back to any job. If you’re catastrophically injured, you may be able to get permanent disability benefits. These permanent benefits may address partial or total disability.
You’re only eligible for permanent total disability if you’re no longer able to get paid by doing the same kind of work you did before you were injured. For instance, if you get into a major collision and suffer paralysis and can no longer work as a driver for CTA buses, you may be able to get permanent total disability benefits.
Your treating physician will need to find that you are permanently disabled. If he or she does, you can get 2/3 of your average weekly wage at the time of your accident at CTA; this benefit may be received for a lifetime. Because of the costs and the length of time these benefits are available, CTA and its insurer may be especially rigorous about contesting claims in which they believe a claimant is malingering or that his treating physician is incorrect about whether he is permanently disabled. When CTA has this suspicion about your injuries, you may be asked to attend an independent medical exam to have your claim evaluated.Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
When you sustain a work injury as a CTA worker and you only partially recover such that you have work limitations, you may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits. For instance, if you lose partial use of a body part, such as your leg, and can need to work in the CTA office rather than on a rail car, you may be able to obtain permanent partial disability benefits. Permanent partial disability benefits can be calculated different ways:
- Scheduled injury,
- Percentage of loss of a person as a whole,
- Wage differential.
When our lawyers believe that your benefits are not being calculated correctly, we can negotiate with CTA and its insurer, or bring your claim before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.Consult a Seasoned CTA Worker Attorney
Disability benefits can make a huge difference to the survival of a CTA worker and his or her family. Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers represent CTA workers 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, and pursue that relief, too, as appropriate. Call us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or complete our online form.