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Firefighters With Partial Disabilities

Chicago Lawyers Helping Injured First Responders

When firefighters respond to emergencies, they may face significant dangers that can result in serious injuries and even permanent and total disabilities. Firefighters may suffer smoke inhalation, broken bones, burns and disfigurement when fighting life-threatening fires. They may experience spinal cord damage or a traumatic brain injury if they slip and fall on a wet floor or the structure they are in collapses. Firefighters with partial disabilities should talk to the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca if their injuries were sustained on the job in a municipality around Chicago. We recognize that workers’ compensation benefits may be difficult to obtain even though the workers’ compensation system was supposed to make the process of obtaining compensation easier for workers.

Firefighters With Partial Disabilities

As a firefighter who is regularly called to respond to an accident or perilous situation, you may sustain injuries on the job that leave you partially or fully unable to work. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, most workers are entitled to benefits for work-related injuries regardless of fault. Firefighters may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits such as reasonable and necessary medical care along with disability pay, if you’re left partially disabled by job-related injuries.

Illinois firefighters who work in a city with a population of more than 500,000, such as Chicago, are excluded from workers’ compensation coverage. The exception is when a firefighter sustains serious and permanent disfigurement to the face, head, hand, leg below the knee, chest above the axillary line, arm, or neck results from as a result of burns sustained on the job. However, firefighters who work for a municipality other than Chicago may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they show: (1) they were left partially disabled by their job and (2) the injuries were work-related.

Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

Temporary partial disability benefits are appropriate if you are only able to work light duty or fewer hours. Temporary partial disability benefits are calculated at a rate of 2/3 of the difference between the amount you made before injury and the gross amount you can earn after sustaining injuries. In some cases, municipalities may be able to accommodate firefighters with partial disabilities. However, some municipalities may not be able to afford placing a firefighter in a position that doesn’t mandate responding to fires and other emergency situations in a full-time capacity.

Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Some injuries may prevent you from working in your full capacity as a firefighter again. Generally, permanent partial disability benefits aren’t awarded until a firefighter reaches maximum medical improvement. This is the point beyond which you can’t improve any further in recovery from your injuries. Sometimes, the physician may discover that a firefighter can resume work upon reaching maximum medical improvement; however, permanent disabilities may limit the scope of work that can be performed. For instance, a firefighter who suffered smoke inhalation and a heart injury may be able to work, but not in a position that is stressful or requires firefighting. In other cases, a firefighter’s burns may result in disfigurement or the need for amputation of a limb. These may be compensable as permanent partial disability. Permanent partial disability may be calculated by different methods, such as disfigurement, percentage of loss, wage differential or scheduled injury. An experienced lawyer can help make sure that your employer calculates the benefits for your partial disability appropriately.

When a partial disability exists, it may be appropriate to seek retraining for a different occupation. You may be able to obtain vocational rehabilitation through the workers’ compensation system.

Consult a Seasoned Attorney in Chicago

If you’re a firefighter who is left partially disabled by a work-related injury, you should talk to the experienced Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm represents firefighters in their claims in Rockford, Quincy, Aurora, and Champaign. We also represent them in Adams, Kane, Cook, Sangamon, and Winnebago Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.