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Medical Benefits for Injured Teachers

Chicago Lawyers Helping Educators with Workers’ Compensation Claims

Many people may not consider teaching to be a dangerous occupation. However, teachers face many risks at school or other sites where they work. The workers’ compensation system provides medical benefits for injured teachers, who were hurt on the job. Our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys are prepared to help teachers navigate through the Illinois workers’ compensation system. Sometimes, the insurer may deny valid claims or authorize certain benefits while withholding others. Having an experienced lawyer by your side can help protect your legal rights.

Work-Related Injuries

Under Illinois law, employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance for almost all employees in the state. For teachers, common risks of injury may come from lifting heavy objects or performing tasks which require repetitive motions. Catastrophic or fatal injuries may also occur on school grounds from toxic chemicals or physical violence.

You should provide notice to your employer within 45 days of getting injured. You may be barred from obtaining benefits if you delay beyond that period. While the law does not require this notice to be in writing, it's wise to provide accurate notice in writing or by email, so that you have proof of timeliness.

Medical Benefits for Injured Teachers

You should also seek medical care for your injuries right away. If you delay, hoping it will be all right, the school’s insurer may suspect or believe that the injuries are not work-related.

You're entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care for work-related injuries. You should let any doctor you see for your work-related injuries know that you sustained the injuries on the job or in connection with teaching. The doctor should bill your employer's workers’ compensation insurer directly for the medical care. In some cases, insurers are willing to pay for minor medical care initially, but become suspicious when the bills for treatment become more expensive, as with surgery.

Your employer's insurer may ask you to undergo an independent medical exam (IME) to have your injuries evaluated. Despite the name, the IME is usually not conducted by a truly neutral doctor. Rather, your school’s insurer may choose a doctor that typically sides with insurers and prescribes conservative treatments. The IME doctor is not your physician and typically produces a report for the insurer about the exam. In some cases, it is possible to challenge the credibility of the IME doctor. For example, if an IME doctor sees you for only 30 minutes and believes you need only a minor course of physical therapy, while your treating physician who has seen you for two years believes you need surgery, your treating physician may be more credible.

Psychiatric Injuries

Teachers who face violence in the workplace may suffer psychological or psychiatric injuries, such as PTSD. Psychiatric injuries are compensable under the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act. In order to show you’re eligible, you'll need to establish that your psychiatric injury was caused by your work at the school. The psychiatric injuries you suffer must be more substantial than ordinary daily stress. In the past, mental injuries were only compensable when they were precipitated by physical injuries. You may be able to obtain benefits even for psychiatric injuries that don’t involve physical injury, but you need to present objective evidence that supports inferences of psychological injury and causation. You'll need to show you experienced a sudden, severe emotional shock that can be traced to a specific place, time, and cause. Employment conditions that produce psychological injuries need to be the major contributing cause of it, not merely a cause.

Consult with a Chicago Attorney for Injured Teachers

Many people don’t have enough saved to address medical care after suffering injuries in an accident. If you’re concerned about medical benefits for injured teachers, you should discuss your situation with the experienced Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We represent teachers with workers’ compensation claims in Aurora, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, 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.