Secretaries and Receptionists
Injuries can occur on the job in any workplace. Most people associate workers' compensation with construction workers, factory workers, and others who work in dangerous workplaces. However, secretaries and receptionists may also be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, based on their work-related injuries. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck and Bertuca, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys may be able to help you obtain the benefits to which you are entitled if you are a secretary or receptionist with a work-related injury.Injuries Suffered by Secretaries and Receptionists
Secretaries and receptionists can suffer a wide range of injuries on the job. Some of the most common injuries are due to ergonomics, such as chairs that do not provide adequate support, computers that are placed too high up, or repetitive motions. One extremely common injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, which can arise when a keyboard is not appropriately placed in relation to the worker's body, and the worker must type for long hours.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive tasks such as typing. It affects the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel, a rigid passageway from the forearm to the hand, and controls the sensations in the thumb and fingers as well as certain hand muscles. Repetitive motions can cause irritation and a narrowing of the tunnel, such that there is compression of the median nerve. The result may be tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain. Sometimes the muscles at the base of the thumb are damaged, and a worker may not be able to type any more.
If you are injured on the job, your work injury lawyer may be able to recover workers' compensation benefits. Often, temporary total disability benefits are awarded in connection with secretaries' and receptionists' job-related injuries. You will not have benefits for the first three workdays on which you are disabled unless you require a minimum of 14 days off from work. Temporary total disability benefits are paid until you reach what is known as maximum medical improvement. These benefits represent two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum cap.
Sometimes a secretary or receptionist cannot type but can answer phones or do other light duty. In that case, it may be possible to obtain partial disability benefits. These are two-thirds of the difference between what you could have earned prior to the injury and what you currently make.
There are situations in which a disability is permanent. If you are totally and permanently disabled, you can continue to get disability payments for the rest of your life. More often, there is a permanent partial disability. In Illinois, there are four kinds of permanent partial disability benefits, including wage differential benefits, disfigurement benefits, unscheduled losses, and scheduled losses. A scheduled loss of use award may be available for disabilities affecting specific body parts like the feet, the hands, the legs, the arms, the ears, and the eyes. This amount will be paid at 60% of the average weekly wage for a certain number of weeks, as provided under the state schedule.
When the injured body part is not specified on a schedule, you can obtain an unscheduled award, which is paid at 60% of the average weekly wage for part of 500 weeks based on a disability rating of the whole body.
Other benefits that may be available include medical benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and mileage reimbursement. If you are not able to go back to work as a secretary or receptionist, you may be able to get counseling, education, or other assistance to try to find another kind of job through a vocational rehabilitation benefit.Consult a Dedicated Workers' Compensation Attorney in Chicago
If you suffered job-related injuries due to work as a secretary or receptionist in the Chicago area, you should consult a job injury attorney who has experience going up against workers' compensation insurers. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck and Bertuca, we represent injured workers in Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as other areas of Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.