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Teachers With Permanent and Total Disabilities

Chicago Lawyers Helping Injured Educators

Teachers play an important role in society. Unfortunately, they face many different types of risks and dangers on the job, including everything from accidental falls to school shootings. Their injuries can leave them in need of lifelong medical care and unable to work. Teachers with permanent and total disabilities due to work-related injuries should discuss their situation with the Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.

Teachers with Permanent and Total Disabilities

Both public and private school teachers may recover workers’ compensation benefits if they sustain permanent and total disabilities while on the job. Although the workers’ compensation system was established to make it easier for workers to obtain compensation for on-the-job injuries, it may be difficult for some to navigate without a lawyer. Claimants must meet strict deadlines and face confusing calculations to determine their level of benefits.

Teachers may sustain permanent total disabilities from slip and fall accidents, lifting heavy objects, campus violence, stress, exposure to toxic chemicals, or repetitive motions. When insurers place profit ahead of teachers, they may deny valid claims filed by teachers for workers’ compensation benefits. In other cases, insurers may not provide the total benefits to which a teacher is entitled. Insurers may be skeptical of claims which allege that injuries resulted in total permanent disabilities or require expensive care. Sometimes, they conduct online or in-person surveillance to see if workers are as disabled as they have claimed.

Teachers are eligible for permanent total disability benefits if they are permanently, completely unable to work. They can also receive these benefits if they have sustained the loss of use of both eyes, hands, arms, legs or feet, or any two of them. Teachers with permanent and total disabilities may receive disability benefits equal to 2/3 of their average weekly wage, but subject to a maximum based on the state average weekly wage. They can also receive medical benefits for their disabilities, which can include medical care, prosthetics, medication, or medical aids. For example, if a teacher was injured in a school bus accident that resulted in the permanent and complete loss of use of both legs, the teacher may be permanently disabled and can obtain permanent total disability payments along with medical care, medical equipment to address the inability to walk, and rehabilitation.

Maximum Medical Improvement

Teachers are entitled to permanent total disability benefits once they have reached their maximum medical improvement. This is the point at which their doctor determines that they will not improve any further. While some people may have regained full function by this point and have already returned to work, others may not have fully recovered, leaving them permanently and totally disabled.

Average Weekly Wage

As a teacher who is completely and totally unable to work or who has the requisite loss of function, you can recover permanent total disability payments, which are determined by a worker’s average weekly wage. There are four methods of calculation. Usually, the average weekly wage is determined according to the last 52 weeks a worker worked. Teachers work less than 52 weeks in a school year, but are paid over the course of 52 weeks. Unless you teach during the summer and over winter break, your average weekly wage will depend on the number of weeks you actually worked teaching school. When employment extends over a period of less than 52 weeks, earnings are divided by the number of weeks and parts thereof that are actually worked. Small discrepancies in calculating the average weekly wage can affect the amount of your disability benefits and make a big difference to your financial circumstances over time.

Retain an Experienced Chicago Attorney

If you are a Chicago teacher who suffered a permanent and total disability due to work, you should talk to the experienced lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca about your circumstances. Our firm represents injured teachers 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.