Workers' Compensation Hearings for State Troopers and Police Officers
State troopers and police officers place themselves at serious risk of bodily and psychological injuries every day. When your finances and well-being depend on recovering benefits for work injuries, it’s important to retain an experienced attorney who can represent you during workers’ compensation hearings for state troopers and police officers. The seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca represent state troopers and police officers outside of Chicago. Although the workers’ compensation system was designed so workers could easily obtain compensation for their work-related injuries, in practice, law enforcement officers may still find the system difficult to navigate.Workers’ Compensation Hearings for State Troopers and Police Officers
State troopers may be eligible to receive benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Police officers who work for a municipality outside of Chicago can also file a workers’ compensation claim for their work-related injuries. While Chicago Police Department officers are excluded from benefits under the statute, these officers have other means of relief after getting injured on the job.
Workers’ compensation cases may be handled through a claims process before an arbitrator, who serves in a role similar to that of a judge in court. To initiate the process, you'll submit an Application for Adjustment of Claim to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Once you file an Application for Adjustment of Claim, status hearings will occur on a regular basis. It's wise to file an Application, even if you are already receiving benefits as an injured state trooper or police officer. You may request a hearing before an arbitrator if you have a dispute with the insurer, such as if the municipality or insurer suddenly fails to pay for medical benefits or stops your temporary disability benefits entirely. When an Application is already on file, the process of scheduling a hearing will be expedited.Workers’ Compensation Hearings
At a hearing, both you and the insurer will present your arguments regarding the disputed issue. Additionally, both sides will present evidence to support their position, as they would in a trial in court. For example, if the insurer will not pay permanent disability payments after you suffered serious injuries during a shooting while in the line of duty, you and the insurer would appear before an arbitrator. To support your claim for permanent disability benefits, your lawyer may present evidence such as medical records and doctor testimony. Others may also need to testify to demonstrate that you are indeed permanently disabled.
In many cases, when a workers’ compensation hearing is scheduled, the insurer will ask the insured to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). Do not assume that the IME will be a fair assessment of your injuries. Insurers often retain medical experts who may be biased and will recommend less expensive treatments or no work restrictions at all.
The arbitrator who presides over your hearing won’t issue a decision immediately. Rather the arbitrator will review the evidence, including testimony and medical records, and deliberate in order to reach a decision. When an insurer believes your case is strong, you may be offered a settlement. However, you may need to give up future medical benefits in exchange. For state troopers and police officers with serious injuries, it is best to go through the hearing process and wait until you achieve maximum medical improvement before settling.Appeals
If you disagree with the arbitrator’s decision after the hearing, you can appeal the case. Similarly, if the municipality or insurer does not agree with the arbitrator's decision, they can request an appeal in court.Consult a Seasoned Chicago Attorney
Workers’ compensation hearings for state troopers and police officers can affect the level of medical benefits and disability pay that you receive. To prepare for this hearing, you should meet with the Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca about your workers’ compensation claim. We represent law enforcement officers in Aurora, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, in addition to Sangamon, Winnebago, Adams, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.