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Medical Benefits for Firefighters

Chicago Lawyers for Helping Injured First Responders

Firefighters are at risk of catastrophic and minor injuries every day. They may require expensive medical care for burns, broken bones, amputations, scarring, disfigurement, and other injuries. City of Chicago firefighters are not covered by the Illinois workers’ compensation law, except where the work-related injuries involve severe, permanent disfigurement. However, if you were injured on the job outside the city, in one of its suburbs, you should be able to obtain benefits for your injuries suffered while on the job. If you are concerned about medical benefits for firefighters, you should call the seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.

Medical Benefits for Firefighters

As a firefighter injured on the job outside Chicago, you may be able to obtain reasonable and necessary medical benefits through the workers’ compensation system. Benefits that are reasonable and necessary can include physical therapy, rehabilitation, surgery, medical equipment, and medications. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act governs these claims.

After sustaining an injury on the job while firefighting, whether those injuries are from strain or a major accident, you should seek emergency medical care. Your employer’s insurer should pay for this care. You should specify that you were injured on the job whenever you first see a particular doctor for your injuries. That way the doctor will bill your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer directly. You may also be entitled to disability benefits for partial or total disabilities.

Choosing a Doctor In or Around Chicago

After obtaining emergency care, you may need further medical treatment, especially for serious injuries. When your employer belongs to a Preferred Provider Program (PPP), you’ll have two standalone choices about the doctor you see within the network. However, if that chosen doctor refers you to someone else, such as a specialist, that will count as part of the first choice. For example, if your ER doctor asks you to see a dermatologist about your burns and you pick a dermatologist within your employer’s PPP, he may refer you to a surgeon that specializes in revision surgery. All of this will count as a single choice. If it turns out you are uncomfortable with your first choice doctor, you can then choose a different dermatologist or surgeon within the program, and this count as a second choice.

If you choose to see a dermatologist outside your employer’s PPP, you will only have a single choice in provider.

Independent Medical Exam

In some cases, insurers are skeptical or do not believe that certain, more expensive medical care is reasonable or necessary, even if you’ve loyally served your employer as a firefighter and sustained catastrophic injuries as a result. You may be asked to go to what’s known as an independent medical exam (IME). The purpose of the IME may be narrowly tailored to address an insurer’s questions about what your doctor says is reasonable and necessary, or it may be a more general examination.

You should be aware that your employer’s insurer may hire a doctor to examine you that prefers conservative treatments or tilts the examination so that the resulting reports are in line with what an insurer preserving profits would like to hear. The IME report can be used as evidence at a hearing to determine whether you reasonably need important medical benefits. By law, you must attend the IME or you risk losing your benefits. Accordingly, it’s important to talk to a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer about your situation.

Hire a Chicago Attorney

Firefighters face substantial risks on the job. It can be disheartening to face resistance to getting benefits to which you’re entitled, especially while recovering from illness,. Although it was designed to make things easier for workers who had been injured on the job, the Illinois workers’ compensation system is complicated and tough to navigate. If you have questions about medical benefits for firefighters, you should retain Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our lawyers also represent firefighters in Champaign, Quincy, Aurora, and Rockford, as well as Cook, Winnebago, Sangamon, Kane, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.