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​Experienced ILLINOIS Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
& CHICAGO Injury Lawyers

Firefighters With Permanent and Total Disabilities

Chicago Lawyers Helping Injured First Responders

As a firefighter, you are at risk of suffering serious injuries on a regular basis. Work-related injuries may include burns, disfigurement, fractures, spinal cord damage, paralysis, and traumatic brain injury. In Illinois, Chicago firefighters are excluded from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, unless they were disfigured by burns suffered on the job. Firefighters with permanent and total disabilities from a work injury sustained while working in a job outside of Chicago should talk to our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys about whether you can obtain benefits.

Firefighters with Permanent and Total Disabilities

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, firefighters are excluded from workers’ compensation coverage if they work for a city with over 500,000 people. Accordingly, if you are a Chicago firefighter, you can’t obtain workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you work for another municipality, you can obtain the same workers’ compensation benefits other employees receive. Your reasonable and necessary medical care should be paid. Additionally, if you are left completely unable to work because of a disability sustained on the job, you should be eligible for permanent total disability benefits.

Permanent and Total Disability Benefits

Permanent total disability benefits are calculated at a rate of 2/3 your average weekly wage for the remainder of your life subject to maximums and minimums. These benefits may be paid in a weekly payment for the rest of your life. However, in some cases, permanent total disability benefits are paid in a lump sum settlement. You shouldn’t accept a lump sum settlement offer until you reach maximum medical improvement. To protect your interest, consult with a lawyer before accepting a lump sum settlement because you may be prevented from seeking additional compensation if your medical condition deteriorates.

When Can You Get Permanent Total Disability Benefits?

Outside of Chicago, firefighters with permanent and total disabilities may obtain permanent total disability benefits if they permanently and completely lose the use of any two of the following: your hands, arms, legs, feet, or eyes. For example, if you are injured in an accident and both your right leg and right arm are crushed so that you can no longer move those limbs, you are eligible for permanent total disability benefits.

Permanent total disability benefits are also available if you’re injured on the job such that you’re permanently unable to do any type of work for which there’s a reasonably stable job market. You will need to prove you cannot perform jobs, except those that are so limited in number, dependability or quality, there’s no real market. Sometimes, firefighters do not have sufficient evidence to support a claim of total disability because they perform other work with certain restrictions. However, you may be able to establish you have an “odd lot” disability.

To establish your case falls into the odd lot classification, you’ll need to prove that your age, skills, training and work history leave you unemployable in any well-known part of the job market. For example, if you are a 55-year-old firefighter who speaks limited English and has no college degree or transferable skills and you sustained a serious heart attack from smoke inhalation and stress, you may be able to show you should get permanent total disability benefits.

After you establish that employment is unavailable to you under the circumstances, the burden shifts to your employer to demonstrate that, in fact, appropriate work is continuously and regularly available to you.

Whether you fall into the odd lot category is a factual determination that can be made by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. You should retain an experienced attorney to represent you in a claim for permanent and total disability benefits. Once the Commission has ruled, its determination cannot be set aside unless it goes against the manifest weight of evidence.

Chicago Firefighters and Disfigurement

As a firefighter who works for the City of Chicago, you can obtain workers’ compensation benefits if you have serious and permanent disfigurement from burns you suffered on the job.

Consult a Seasoned Lawyer in Chicago

If you’re a firefighter who has permanent and total disabilities arising out of your job outside of Chicago or you were permanently disfigured from burns as a Chicago firefighter, you should discuss your situation with the seasoned workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We handle the claims of injured firefighters in Quincy, Aurora, Champaign, and Rockford. We also represent injured firefighters in Kane, Cook, Winnebago, Adams, and Sangamon Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846 or complete our online form.