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Nurses With Temporary and Total Disabilities

Chicago Lawyers Helping Health Care Workers

Nurses are exposed to various risks of injury while working in medical offices, clinics, or hospitals. These injuries may include broken bones, back injuries, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, and improper drug exposure. Hazards can include violence in the workplace, stress, chemical exposure, lack of lifting equipment and slippery surfaces. Nurses with temporary and total disabilities sustained on the job should consult a knowledgeable Chicago workers’ compensation attorney about whether a claim is appropriate.

Nurses with Temporary And Total Disabilities

Nurses may be temporarily disabled as a result of injuries sustained in a number of different situations. They may suffer musculoskeletal injuries when lifting patients, pushing wheelchairs or gurneys, or bending over patients. They may also be exposed to bloodborne pathogens, such as hepatitis B and HIV, when handling sharps. They may be improperly exposed to pharmaceuticals such as anticonvulsants, antivirals, and bone resorption inhibitors or substances such as ethylene oxide or anesthetic gases. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows employees to obtain workers’ compensation benefits if their injuries are job-related. Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, you are not required to establish that your employer was negligent to obtain benefits.

Temporary Total Disability Benefits

Temporary total disability benefits are paid when you’re either (1) temporarily unable to work as determined by your doctor or (2) you’re released to perform light duty work, but your employer doesn’t have a position that would accommodate your restrictions. For example, if you herniate a disc while lifting a heavy patient, you may need to stay off your feet and refrain from lifting anything over five pounds for a week. If you are not able to perform your ordinary nursing duties, you may be eligible for temporary total disability benefits.

Temporary total disability benefits partially replace your wages. They are paid at the rate of 2/3 of your average weekly wage. This amount is not taxed. You won’t lose your entitlement to benefits if you’re terminated or laid off.

You can start receiving temporary total disability benefits once you’ve been unable to work for more than 3 working days. You should be paid starting on the fourth day of temporary total incapacity. If your incapacity lasts for at least 14 days from the date you were injured, you can be paid for the first three days retroactively.

Written notice of job-related injuries should be provided to your employer. It can be helpful to provide a doctor’s note with the notice. While the law doesn’t require the notice to be in writing, providing written notice immediately after sustaining an injury as a nurse may prevent your employer and its insurer from claiming they were not aware your injuries when they occurred. Your employer or its insurer should pay your first temporary total disability benefit within 14 days of you giving notice.

When Are Temporary Total Disability Benefits Stopped?

You will stop receiving temporary total disability benefits when you reach maximum medical improvement. The question in determining maximum medical improvement is whether you’ve stabilized such that you won’t improve any more than you have. In some cases, a worker has permanent losses at the point of maximum medical improvement. If that’s your situation, you can obtain permanent total disability or permanent partial disability benefits.

Sometimes insurers unexpectedly terminate temporary total disability benefits. When terminating your benefits, an insurer should provide you with a written explanation for the termination. If your employer terminated your disability benefits, you may want to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss the appeal process. If you seek to dispute the loss of benefits, you can file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. You have three years from the date of the injury or two years from the last date you received benefits to file the Application. However, you may want to file an Application even if you are receiving benefits. Keeping an Application for Adjustment of Claim on file may allow you to get a hearing before an arbitrator more quickly in case of a sudden termination or dispute related to your benefits.

Consult a Seasoned Chicago Attorney

Chicago nurses with temporary and total disabilities that were inflicted on the job should talk to the experienced lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca about your circumstances. Our firm represents injured nurses in Aurora, Quincy, Champaign, and Rockford, along with Winnebago, Cook, Adams, Sangamon, and Kane Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.