Injured Truck Drivers
Chicago Lawyers for Employees Hurt at Work
Truck accidents can be devastating for all involved. If you are a truck driver who is injured on the job and classified as an employee, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits available through the workers’ compensation system mostly address economic harm, and they are generally less than what you would be able to obtain in a lawsuit for damages. However, you do not need to prove fault to obtain these benefits. You may also be able to bring a third-party claim for damages based on injuries arising out of a vehicle accident caused by someone else. A skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can review your case and help you assess your legal options.
Workers’ Compensation for Injured Truck Drivers
The Illinois workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. Through this system, you can obtain benefits for job-related injuries without showing your injuries are anyone’s fault. Your benefits are not reduced if it turns out you are partially to blame for your injuries. Your employer is responsible for obtaining workers’ compensation insurance, through which you can obtain reasonable medical care, total or partial temporary disability benefits, total or partial permanent disability benefits, and death benefits.
The amount of benefits you are eligible for depends on the nature of your injuries. Medical benefits can include any medical care that’s reasonably necessary to treat your injuries. They may include emergency care after the truck accident. They may also include reasonably necessary doctor’s appointments and surgeries or physical therapy. Benefits may include the costs of pain medications and any other mediations arising out of the job-related injuries.
Disability benefits are intended to make up for a percentage of wages you lose during a period in which you can’t work because of job-related injuries. If you suffer a broken bone that keeps you from working for a few months, for example, you may be able to obtain temporary disability benefits. These are paid at a rate of 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage, up to a state maximum. You can only start getting these benefits after you’ve missed 3 days of work. However, if you need to miss more than 14 days of work, you can retroactively obtain the first three days of temporary disability benefits.
On the other hand, if you were paralyzed due to a truck accident, you may become permanently disabled. Permanent disability benefits are calculated as 66 2/3% of the difference in wages you received before and after the injury. Alternatively, these benefits may be paid according to a schedule of injuries. If you were disfigured in a truck accident, you may be able to get a maximum of 162 weeks of benefits at a rate of 60% of average weekly wages.
Sometimes injuries are such that you cannot return to operating trucks for a living. In this situation, it may be possible to obtain vocational rehabilitation benefits so that you can find a different job, and a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
Third Party Claims for Vehicle Accidents
If the truck accident in which you were injured was caused by another driver, you may be able to bring a lawsuit to recover damages. In most cases, you’ll need to establish that another driver’s negligence contributed to the accident. This means you’ll have to show that the other driver owed you a duty to use reasonable care, the other driver breached the duty to use reasonable care, and the breach caused your injuries. Sometimes, it’s important to look carefully at the situation to determine whether there were multiple contributing factors in a truck accident.
Illinois follows the rule of modified comparative negligence. This means that your damages can be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault for your accident. However, you’ll be barred from recovering damages at all if your percentage of fault is 50% or greater.
Consult an Experienced Chicago Attorney Following a Truck Accident
If you are an injured truck driver who was hurt in a job-related accident in Chicago, you may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits or damages in a third-party lawsuit. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our seasoned workers’ compensation lawyers represent injured truck drivers in Champaign, Quincy, Aurora, and Rockford, along with Sangamon, Kane, Cook, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. Contact us at 312-724-5846 or via our online form.