Injuries in Plane Crashes

Chicago Lawyers for Workers’ Compensation Claims

When airline workers suffer injuries in plane crashes, they may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. All different kinds of airline workers, including baggage handlers, crew members, and flight attendants face a real danger of being injured on the job. If you were injured in a plane crash, it is wise to consult an experienced Chicago workers' compensation attorney to make sure you pursue the full benefits to which you may be entitled.

Injuries in Plane Crashes

Injuries in plane crashes can range from minor to catastrophic, and may include smoke inhalation, burns, concussions, broken limbs, cuts, and blunt force trauma. In some instances these injuries may be fatal. Statistically, plane crashes are fairly rare. According to the Guardian, there were 81 aviation accidents in 2013, and that year more than 3 billion people flew safely.

Benefits for Injuries

Under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, workers' compensation insurers are required to pay the medical bills of those injured on the job. Medical bills that should be paid include those covering emergency room and doctors' visits, treatments, lab work, medical equipment, medication, surgeries, and therapy.

Plane crashes can also leave survivors reeling from the trauma. They may have PTSD, anxiety, or need other psychiatric care on top of the care and treatment they need to heal from their physical injuries. Mental conditions can result in a large number of lost workdays and careers disrupted because of significant interference with your ability to perform daily job requirements. Sometimes the conditions are so serious they cause severe anxiety, intense depression, or panic attacks.

The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act covers employees with sudden serious emotional shock that can be traced to a certain place, time, or cause. Courts have reasoned that it's illogical to permit compensation for psychological injuries that are accompanied by minor physical injuries, but deny benefits for similar psychological injuries related to severe, sudden emotional shock. A plane crash is associated with severe and sudden emotional shock from a traumatic, rather than a series of minor events, so it may be a little easier to recover benefits for psychiatric injuries in this context. An Illinois court has found that because there is potential for fraud and abuse, recovery can't be permitted for psychological injuries that slowly come to fruition over time within the normal course of a job.

Choosing Providers

Often Illinois employers require employees to utilize a preferred provider network to select the physician that is going to address their injuries. An out-of-network doctor can be selected, but just once, whereas with in-network providers you get to choose two different times. For example, if you don't like the style of the first in-network doctor you chose, you can move on to choose a second provider. However, emergency care doesn't count for these choices. Immediately after a plane crash, you will likely get checked out at the ER.

Separate from the treating doctor you choose from a preferred provider network is an independent exam by a doctor of your employer's choosing. You may be required by your employer to be examined by this doctor, but you need not accept treatment from him or her.

Death Benefits

If your family member was an airline worker who died in a plane crash while on the job, you may be eligible for death benefits under the workers' compensation system. Family members who are entitled to death benefits are a spouse, a child who is under 18, a child who is under 25 if he or she is enrolled full-time in an accredited educational institution, and a child of any age who is mentally or physically incapacitated. When workers don't have a child or spouse as defined, other family members who may qualify for benefits include grandchildren, grandparents, adult kids, or parents. The death benefits you may be able to recover are determined on a weekly basis.

Chicago Attorneys Helping Employees Secure Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you are an airline worker in Chicago who was injured on the job, you should consider retaining a workers' compensation attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, our lawyers represent injured airline workers in communities including Rockford, Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, and Quincy, as well as Adams, Sangamon, Champaign, Cook, Winnebago, and Kane Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us via our website to set up a free consultation.