Workers' Compensation Hearings for Injured City of Chicago Employees
Like some big businesses, the City of Chicago is self-insured for workers’ compensation claims. This means, unlike most employers, it doesn’t rely on an insurance company to process and make payments to those who are injured on the job while under its employ. Instead it assesses claims and makes those payments itself. Like insurers, however, the City may deny valid claims for benefits. If you have questions about workers’ compensation hearings for injured City of Chicago employees, we may be able to help. We can review the facts of your case and assist you in identifying your legal options going forward. The experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at our firm are prepared to guide you through the process of seeking benefits.Workers’ Compensation Hearings
Working for the City of Chicago can involve exposure to numerous dangers. The City may receive notice of your injury but not take it seriously and fail to pay you the medical benefits and disability benefits to which you’re entitled. The City could deny your claim for many different reasons including the belief that the injury isn’t work-related, or that the injury doesn’t warrant time off work or significant medical care. Your claim may also be denied if you didn’t provide notice within 45 days.
If the City of Chicago denies you benefits as its employee, it must send you an explanation of the denial of benefits in writing. If you don’t receive this written explanation, you should contact the City to get it. As an injured worker in Illinois who is denied workers’ compensation benefits, you can submit your claim to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) and ask for a hearing before one of its arbitrators.
Generally, before the hearing, the City can ask you to see a doctor for an independent medical exam (IME). In many cases, certain doctors are hired by employers or insurers to perform an IME because they tend to make conservative recommendations and often deny workers’ claims. The exam may be brief, but it is important.What Happens at a Hearing?
A workers’ compensation hearing for an injured City of Chicago employee is held before an arbitrator who hears both parties’ cases. The hearing is similar to a trial at which it’s determined whether or not the City of Chicago needs to accept your workers’ compensation claim. In order to get a hearing, you’ll need to file an Application for Adjustment of Claim as well as a proof of service. The Application must be filed within three years of your injury or within two years of your most recent compensation payment, if that is later. After the Application is filed, you’ll be assigned a case number and arbitrator.
If you didn’t go back to work for the City after suffering an injury and you haven’t been paid medical benefits or temporary total disability payments, you can request an expedited or immediate hearing under section 19(b). Once you file the petition, you receive a final judgment within 180 days. The final judgment will indicate whether you should be paid medical benefits or disability.
An attorney will represent the City of Chicago at the hearing. In order to have a level playing field, it is advisable to retain your own lawyer to advocate for you at the hearing.Appeals
If you aren’t happy with the arbitrator’s decision at the hearing, you may be able to appeal to overturn the decision. An appeal can be initiated by filing a petition for review within 30 days of the arbitrator’s decision. Your appeal will be heard by three people on the IWCC.Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Serving Chicago
You may have a lot of questions about workers’ compensation hearings for injured City of Chicago employees if you have been hurt on the job as a City worker. It’s important to seek representation and to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer about your situation. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we may be able to help you. We can represent any city employee in or around Quincy, Champaign, Aurora and Rockford, as well as throughout Winnebago, Kane, Adams, Sangamon, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or contact us via our online form.