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Vocational Rehabilitation for Construction Workers

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Construction Workers

As a construction worker, you perform your job in one of the most dangerous industries in the country. Dangers arise in many different situations at construction sites; there is a risk of injuries arising out of slip and falls, crane accidents, trench collapse, inappropriate scaffolding, repetitive stress injuries, gas leaks, explosions, fires, forklift accidents, and elevator shaft accidents. You could be left unable to work any longer as a construction worker, though you might retain the ability to work in a different capacity. Please call the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca to represent you if you are a construction worker who needs vocational rehabilitation benefits. Our firm seeks the best outcomes available to workers in the construction industry and we understand what circumstances would also give rise to relief in a third-party personal injury or SSDI claim.

Vocational Benefits for Injured Construction Workers

One of the most important things you should consider in a workers’ compensation claim that involves your prolonged disability is whether you would like to be reeducated and trained in a different line of work. It is important to talk to your lawyers about whether you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation and whether it would be appropriate. Section 8(a) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that your construction employer and its insurer could be required to pay for your vocational rehabilitation.

When Are You Entitled to Vocational Rehabilitation?

You’re entitled to vocational rehabilitation if you sustain a work-related injury that causes a reduction in your earning power and there is evidence that undergoing vocational rehabilitation would increase your earning capacity. However, there is no concrete standard that can be applied to decide when vocational rehabilitation services should be provided. If your construction employer and its insurer decide not to provide this benefit, an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will decide what type of services should be provided and when you can receive them.

In most circumstances, a contractor or subcontractor will argue that you must first make a good faith effort to get a job and show that you are unable to get a job within your physical restrictions in order to deserve vocational rehabilitation services in the form of a workers’ compensation benefit. Our lawyers would need to show that you participating in a particular program would result in you being successfully placed. We’d also need to show that your economic earning capacity will be increased due to your participation in the program. So, for example, we may not be able to get you vocational rehabilitation services for purposes of pursuing a Ph.D. in an arcane area of Romantic poetry for which no job prospects exist; rather, the purpose of the retraining would be to find a practical job that gives you an income.

Maintenance and Expenses

In addition to the services themselves, a construction company and its workers’ compensation insurer may be required to pay for your maintenance and expenses incidental to vocational rehabilitation while you’re pursuing that course. The contractor or its insurer are supposed to prepare a written assessment with your course of medical care, along with the rehabilitation required to return you to employment if it can be reasonably decided you can’t go back to your regular job duties, or the period of your incapacity is greater than 120 continuous days.

The assessment should look at whether you need a plan or program that includes modified or limited duty and retraining. Your employer is supposed to put together a written update of the propriety of a plan to create or a written assessment of why the decision continues to be appropriate.

Hire a Chicago Law Firm That Represents Construction Workers

At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys understand when construction workers are entitled to vocational rehabilitation services and what career paths might prove fruitful. We represent workers in Champaign, Rockford, Quincy, and Aurora, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, Cook, and Adams Counties. We also handle third party lawsuits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.