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Lost Wages for Injured Nurses

Chicago Lawyers Helping Healthcare Workers

The healthcare profession exposes nurses to a wide range of potential dangers. While caring for patients, nurses may suffer musculoskeletal injuries, hazardous drug exposure, sharps injuries, repetitive stress injuries, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries. If you sustain significant injuries, you may need to stay home from work to recover. You may be concerned about how you'll make ends meet. Fortunately, lost wages for injured nurses may be recovered through the workers’ compensation system for work-related injuries. To understand the process, you should talk to the seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca about your claim.

Lost Wages for Injured Nurses

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act permits nurses to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for their work-related injuries. As a nurse who is injured or made sick on the job, you are entitled to various benefits, including part of your lost wages in the form of disability pay. Generally, workers’ compensation benefits are not as substantial as the recovery made in a successful lawsuit pursued in court. However, the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. When you file an initial claim for benefits, you will not need to establish that the hospital or medical practice where you work is at fault for your injuries in order to receive benefits. Rather you will need to show that your injuries were sustained on the job or are related to the job. For example, if you cannot work for two months after suffering a herniated disc from lifting a disabled patient, you may seek disability benefits to replace a percentage of your lost wages.

Temporary disability benefits amount to two thirds of your average weekly wage. In some cases, the same calculation is made to award permanent total disability benefits. For example, if you can no longer work after becoming paralyzed in an accident on the job, you may be able to obtain permanent total disability benefits equivalent to what you received as temporary benefits. However, if you must shift to lower paying work due to permanent restrictions in nursing work, you may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits, which can be determined using different methods. For instance, as a nurse in a less-well compensated job, you may be entitled to wage differential benefits. In that case, your new wages will be compared to your old wages as a nurse. You will be able to obtain 2/3 of the wage difference between your former and your current nursing job. You will be able to receive both permanent partial disability benefits and a wage differential benefit.

Your average weekly wage as a nurse will be the grounds for calculating your temporary and permanent disability benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. In some cases, insurers miscalculate the average weekly wage and therefore pay less than what the nurse is entitled to. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can verify that you are receiving the full benefits to which you are entitled and advocate on your behalf in a workers’ compensation hearing.

Section 10 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides four methods for calculating an average weekly wage. Generally, an arbitrator will look at your actual earnings. Fringe benefits you received as a nurse would not count towards calculating your average weekly wage.

One way to calculate average weekly wage is to look at your actual earnings as a nurse during the 52 weeks that terminate on your last full pay period, before the work accident. This sum wouldn't include overtime and bonuses. The total amount would be divided by 52 weeks. If you lost five or more calendar days during the 52 week period, your earnings would be divided by the number of weeks and parts of weeks you actually worked in this job. If your employment continued for less than 52 weeks, the average weekly wage would be your earnings divided by the number of weeks and parts of weeks you actually worked. If you worked as a nurse only briefly, such that it's impractical to use any of the above methods of calculation, the arbitrator will look at the average weekly amount that another nurse in the same grade and employed at the same medical practice would have earned for each of the 52 weeks, assuming the same number of hours were worked per week.

Third-Party Lawsuit

Workers’ compensation benefits will not fully replace your wages. If a party other than your employer or coworker was responsible for your work-related injuries, you may be able to obtain compensatory damages by establishing negligence of the third party in a lawsuit.

Discuss Your Claim for Lost Wages With a Chicago Attorney

The seasoned Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca handle all aspects of workers’ compensation cases, including seeking lost wages for injured nurses. We also represent nurses in Champaign, Rockford, 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.