State Troopers and Police Officers With Permanent and Total Disabilities
State troopers and police officers routinely face threats of injury or death while performing dangerous jobs. In Illinois, Chicago police officers are excluded from workers’ compensation benefits. However, state troopers and police officers with permanent and total disabilities related to their job are eligible for benefits if they are employed outside of Chicago. We encourage you to discuss your situation with our seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to understand the full range of benefits to which you may be entitled.State Troopers and Police Officers with Permanent and Total Disabilities
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act excludes police officers that work for municipalities with more than 500,000 people. However state troopers and police officers outside of Chicago are entitled to obtain workers’ compensation benefits under the Act, just as other employees are. The municipality should pay for all your medical treatment and compensate you if you wind up with a permanent job-related disability. Permanent total disability benefits may be paid under certain circumstances.Permanent and Total Disability Benefits
Your ability to obtain permanent total disability benefits in Illinois will be determined when you reach maximum medical improvement for your work-related injuries. Generally, a treating physician determines that you have arrived at maximum medical improvement once your medical condition has improved and stabilized to the maximum extent possible. Additionally, the doctor will examine you to decide whether you’re left with permanent limitations as a result of the work-related injuries.
You are eligible for permanent total disability benefits if you’ve permanently and completely lost use of both your arms, both your hands, both your legs, both your feet, both your eyes, or any two of these parts, such as one arm and the other hand. You can also receive permanent total disability benefits if you’re left permanently incapable of doing any kind of work for which there’s a reasonably stable job market. In other words, you’ll have to be able to show you’re not able to perform services, except ones that are so limited in quality, dependability, or quantity it can’t be said there’s a market for them.
There are situations in which police officers or state troopers may be seriously restricted in their ability to work in their roles, but other factors also prevent them from obtaining employment in a different industry. If your disability is limited in nature so that you’re not obviously unemployable or there’s insufficient medical evidence to support your claim of total disability, you may be able to get permanent total disability benefits by showing your case fits into the “odd lot” classification.Odd Lot Claims
To show you’re entitled to odd lot permanent total disability benefits, you’ll need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that because of your work history, training, skills and age, you won’t be regularly employed in a well-known branch of the labor market. For instance, perhaps you’re sixty-years-old and you were partially paralyzed on the job as a state trooper and you’ve never gotten a college degree or worked in any other capacity. In that case, you may be eligible for odd lot permanent disability benefits.
Whether you fall into the odd lot category is a factual determination. In a dispute, the Commission makes the decision about whether you’re eligible. Although decisions are appealable, a court will not set aside the decision of the Commission unless it’s against the manifest weight of the evidence. Therefore, retaining an experienced attorney to represent you from the start of your dispute with an employer or its insurer is essential to securing favorable outcome.How are Permanent Total Disability Benefits Calculated?
If you’re entitled to permanent total disability benefits, you can be paid a weekly benefit that is 2/3 of your average weekly wage for the rest of your life. There are maximum and minimum limits. These benefits are not taxed. The permanent total disability benefits may be paid in a weekly payment.
Alternatively, these benefits may be paid in a lump sum settlement. A lump sum settlement must be approved by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you get a lump sum settlement, you most likely won’t be able to return and seek further benefits if your medical condition wasn’t stable after all or you require additional medical treatment. Usually, you sign away the right to further benefits in the lump sum settlement agreement.Consult a Seasoned Chicago Lawyer
State troopers and police officers with permanent and total disabilities should talk to the workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca about your situation. Our firm handles the claims of injured state troopers and police officers in Quincy, Aurora, Champaign, and Rockford. We also represent state trooper and police officers in Winnebago, Cook, Adams, Sangamon, and Kane Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.