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Firefighters Workers' Compensation Claims and Personal Injury Claims

Chicago Lawyers for Firefighters in Illinois

As a firefighter, you face significant and regular risks on the job. If you were injured on the job as a firefighter, you might be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. Chicago firefighters are limited in pursuing the usual workers’ compensation benefits. Still, if you work in another municipality in Illinois, you can obtain benefits for job-related injuries and illnesses. However, depending on the circumstances, you may also have a personal injury claim from the same accident. It’s essential to retain legal counsel to represent you in your workers’ compensation claim and also consider whether it makes sense to pursue a personal injury action. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we’ve fought for workers’ rights for over 60 years.

Firefighters’ Claims for Workers Compensation and Personal Injury

Workers’ compensation benefits are no-fault, meaning our Chicago attorneys will not need to establish your employer’s fault to obtain benefits on your behalf for work-related injuries. You must have been injured in the scope of employment to get benefits such as disability, vocational rehabilitation, and medical benefits; if your spouse or parent was killed while firefighting, you may be able to obtain death benefits. In some cases, workers’ compensation benefits are paid right away.

We will need to establish fault in personal injury lawsuits in or around Chicago. In many cases, such as vehicle accidents, we’ll need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) you were owed a duty of reasonable care, (2) breach of the duty of reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. For example, if you were fighting a fire and were hit by a truck that didn’t obey signs and hazard cones, such that you were injured, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, but you may also have grounds to sue the truck driver for negligence.

It can take significant time to litigate a claim; our Chicago lawyers will need to conduct discovery, meaning we’ll need to gather evidence through legal processes. Meanwhile, workers’ compensation benefits tend to take less time to obtain. In some cases, payment is made immediately, so long as timely notice was provided to the employer of the on-the-job injuries. However, the insurer may continue to investigate the claim even after commencing payment of benefits and deny certain benefits or abruptly stop payment, making it essential to seek legal counsel.

Unlike workers’ compensation benefits, personal injury lawsuit damages can be reduced by an amount equal to your proportion of fault for the accident. Illinois follows a modified comparative negligence rule, and you could recover damages only if you were less at fault than the defendant.

Benefits Versus Damages

Workers’ compensation benefits are only economic, and you cannot recover noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. However, you get weekly compensation, and your medical bills should be paid promptly.

When our lawyers can prove a third party’s negligence, you can recover the full scope of your damages, including past lost wages, past medical bills, lost earning capacity, future medical expenses, future wage loss, disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

Subrogation

When a workers’ compensation carrier pays your claim, it is subject to its subrogation interests. When a third party’s negligence causes the injuries, the insurer can step into your shoes to recover damages from that party. There is a 90-day rule that a carrier can’t file this action unless you have not filed your lawsuit within 90 days of the relevant statute of limitations.

Consult Seasoned Attorneys for Firefighters

Securing legal representation if you were injured in a work-related accident is important. Our lawyers represent clients in workers’ compensation, personal injury lawsuits, and SSDI claims that arise in connection with an accident in Rockford, Champaign, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.