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Initial Claims for Teachers

Chicago Lawyers for Injured Educational Professionals

Although teaching may not be considered a dangerous occupation, teachers do face numerous risks while working. As with many professionals, teachers can sustain repetitive stress injuries from performing the same motions over and over again. Teachers also may be injured in equipment accidents or slip and falls while on school grounds. Of course, school shootings and assaults pose the gravest risk of violent physical harm on the job. Like other employees, teachers may file a claim for benefits under the Illinois workers’ compensation system when they suffer workplace injuries. To learn more about initial claims for teachers, you should speak with the seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca about your workplace injury.

Initial Claims for Teachers

Teachers cannot sue their employer for work injuries, even if the school acted negligently or recklessly. Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. Under this no-fault system, teachers only have to demonstrate that their injuries were work-related in order to receive benefits. However, the complexity of the workers’ compensation can make the application difficult to navigate with various requirements that need to be met along the process.

You should provide notice of your work-related injuries to the school that employs you right away or within 45 days. For instance, even if suffered PTSD after having been shot at and taken hostage during a school shooting, you should not assume that your employer will notify its workers’ compensation insurer on your behalf.

While the law doesn’t require the employee to notify the employer in writing, it is wise to document that you provided notice within the required period. Without written notice, the school might assert that it was unaware of your claim and you may be barred from seeking the workers’ compensation benefits that you need.

Denials of Initial Claims for Teachers

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission oversees workers’ compensation claims. You should file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Commission within three years of getting injured. In some cases, insurers will begin paying claims immediately while they continue to investigate. Consequently, you may receive some benefits, such as temporary total disability benefits, and assume you don’t need to file the Application. However, an insurer may accept a teacher’s initial claim but later deny it. If you’ve submitted an Application shortly after sustaining injuries, you may find it faster to obtain an arbitration hearing should a dispute about benefits arise down the line.

Once the Application has been sent to both your employer and the Commission, you’ll receive a notice of hearing. Unless you or your insurer request a trial or resolution, the Commission will only hold routine status hearings that will be attended by attorneys for both sides.

After a claim has been pending without resolution for three years, it may be dismissed unless you or the school’s insurer requests a trial.

Benefits

Sometimes, insurers will start paying benefits right after receiving notice of an injury. You are not entitled to temporary total disability benefits for the first three days you cannot teach. However, if you’re unable to teach for fourteen days or more, you may receive retroactive benefits for those first three days of missed work.

Teachers who are injured at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits including reasonable and necessary medical care, temporary total disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.

In some cases, insurers will immediately issue a denial of a claim. They should let you know the reason they’re denying your claim. Not all denials are valid. For instance, an insurer may deny a workers’ compensation claim on the grounds that a back injury was not work-related because the employee sustained while participating in recreational sports during the weekend. Or the insurer may deny a claim after a review of medical records on the grounds that the back injury was due to a degenerative disc disorder, even though the employee clearly sustained a herniated disc while picking up a heavy desk at work. An insurer should pay a claim even when the employee suffers from a pre-existing condition so long as work exacerbated or aggravated the injury.

While paying you benefits, an insurer may have you under surveillance in-person or online.

Retain a Seasoned Chicago Attorney

If you are worried about your initial claim as a teacher with job-related injuries, you should talk to the experienced Chicago attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We handle the initial claims of teachers in Quincy, Aurora, Champaign, and Rockford. We also represent injured teachers in Winnebago, Kane, Adams, Cook, and Sangamon Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.