1 Illinois Injury Guide INJURY LAW OFFICES Toll Free (866)
2 Woodruff Johnson & Palermo is a law firm that represents injury victims and their families. Our experienced legal team will help you like we have successfully helped thousands of others from all across Illinois. We win injury cases. Our team of injury lawyers is aggressive, smart and caring. Every year we recover millions of dollars for our clients and help thousands of people win their cases. If you were hurt at work, in an auto accident, or as the result of someone s negligence, you need experienced injury attorneys in your corner. The distinguished legal team at Woodruff Johnson & Palermo is eager to assist you. We protect the rights of and win compensation for workers injured on the job, victims of medical malpractice, motorists injured in accidents and consumers hurt by faulty products. Winning injury cases is what we do. We will handle every aspect of your case, from helping you file the accident report to negotiating a good settlement. When necessary, we will take your case to trial to get the maximum recovery you deserve. Our seasoned lawyers can help you get compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. Throughout the legal process, you will receive personal attention from our extensive legal team. The law offices of Woodruff Johnson & Palermo are conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Aurora/Naperville, and Champaign, Illinois. In addition, we maintain hours and consultation times in Springfield, Champaign/Urbana, Jacksonville, and Mattoon, Illinois. If you live, work, or simply were injured anywhere in Illinois, we can help you. Our initial consultation is free and our no pressure approach allows you to get the information you need to make a good decision about your case and your future. You will not be charged any out-of-pocket fee for our services. Our fee is based on a percentage of what we recover for you. You need the experience, reputation, and skilled legal team of Woodruff Johnson & Palermo behind you. Call now toll free (866) for a free, no obligation consultation. We are
3 QUALIFYING FOR BENEFITS In order to qualify for benefits under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act, you must establish that you were injured in the course of your employment by a risk arising out of your employment. You must provide notice to your employer and file a claim in a timely fashion. COURSE OF EMPLOYMENT: The course of your employment speaks to the time and place you were injured. Generally, injuries occurring on company property are covered by the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. Additionally, employees who travel as part of their employment frequently are covered during their travel. Employees are covered during their work hours, and depending upon the nature of their employment, may be covered for a reasonable time before and after work. ARISING OUT OF EMPLOYMENT: An injury that occurs within the course of your employment also must arise out of your employment to be covered by the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. Therefore, the mere fact that a condition or injury manifested itself while you were at work is not enough. You also must show that the injury was either caused, aggravated or accelerated by some risk of the employment. This is a complicated area of the law requiring assistance from an attorney. NOTICE: You must give notice to your employer within 45 days of accident for an injury to be covered by the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. This notice can be in writing or given orally. Notice should be given to an individual who holds a supervisory position over the employee. It is encouraged that notice be given as soon as possible after the accident. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: A claim for workers compensation benefits must be filed with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission within three years of the date of injury or two years of the date of last compensation payment, whichever is later. The mere reporting or filling out forms with the employer does not satisfy this obligation. An actual Application for Adjustment of Claim must be filed with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission in Chicago, Illinois. Claimants are encouraged to use experienced legal counsel to assist in the filing of these claims. Call us toll free (866) THE BENEFITS Once you have established that you have sustained an injury arising out of and in the course of your employment, you are entitled to three benefits: medical treatment, weekly lost time compensation also known as temporary total disability, and permanent partial disability. MEDICAL BENEFITS: An employer is required to pay reasonable and necessary medical treatment to cure the ill effects of an injury. An employee is not required to make co-payments or pay deductibles in connection with a work-related injury. Moreover, an employee has the right to choose his or her own doctor. However, this choice is limited. An individual has the right to choose two doctors and their referrals for treatment at the employer s expense. If an employer has established an approved network of medical providers and has provided sufficient notice of this network to the employee, the employee can treat with two doctors and their referrals under this network. If the employee declines to treat with a doctor under this network, the employee is restricted to a choice of one doctor and his/her referrals. TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY: If as a result of a work injury, an employee is either taken off-work by a doctor or placed on work restrictions that the employer cannot accommodate, the employer is required to pay workers compensation benefits at a rate equal to 2/3 of the employee s average weekly wage for the period of time the employee is unable to return to work. An employee may be entitled to these lost time benefits even if the employee is laid-off or terminated by the employer. The Workers Compensation Act
4 does not require employers to pay temporary total disability benefits for the first 3 days of missed work unless the employee misses a total of 2 weeks of work due to the injury. PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY: There are several types of permanent partial disability. When an individual sustains an injury but is able to resume his or her regular earning potential, such injuries are recognized to be a percentage loss of use of the scheduled body parts below: BODY PART TOTAL WEEKS BODY PART TOTAL WEEKS Disfigurement Thumb First (index) Finger Second (middle) Finger Third (ring) Finger Fourth (little) Finger Great toe Each other toe Hand Arm 190 or Amputation above elbow 270 Amputation at shoulder joint 323 Foot Leg Amputation above knee Amputation at hip joint Eye Enucleation of eye Hearing loss of one ear Hearing loss of both ears Testicle - 1 Testicle Body as a whole 500 Compensation under this schedule is payable based on a percentage loss of use of each body part multiplied by 60 percent of the employee s average weekly wage. Additionally, employees are entitled to compensation for disfigurement (scarring), exposure to chemicals, death, permanent wage loss or permanent total disability. If you cannot resume your regular work activities, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act at the employer s expense. Your employer is not required to make an offer of settlement to you and frequently will not without the intervention of an attorney. Call us toll free (866) PERSONAL INJURY We hear the phrase personal injury often, but what does it really mean and how can it affect our lives? Simply put, a personal injury or tort is a private or civil wrong for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for money damages. When the acts or omissions of another person or entity cause injury to your person or property, you may have a legal right to recover money damages from that person or entity. A personal injury plaintiff must prove three things to recover money damages from a defendant in a tort claim. First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty to act or refrain from acting in a particular way. Second, the plaintiff must prove a breach of a defendant s duty toward the plaintiff. Third, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant s breach of a duty caused injury to his or her person or property. Personal injury claims can arise out of virtually any area of our daily lives. On the road, drivers have a duty to obey the rules of the road, to maintain their vehicles in a safe condition and to operate them safely so as to avoid collisions. Businesses, schools, neighbors and others who allow us to enter onto their property have a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn us of known hazards that could cause injury. Doctors and other medical providers have a duty to exercise care in diagnosing, treating and informing patients. Manufacturers of products and providers of services must take care to ensure that injury does not result from our foreseeable use and enjoyment of their products and services.
5 A breach of any of these duties, whether resulting from negligence, recklessness or intentional conduct, can give rise to a personal injury claim. Even our federal, state and local governments can, under some circumstances, be liable for acts or omissions which cause injury. Everyday, we use an array of products to make our lives easier. We drive cars to work, use lawn mowers to cut the grass and purchase play equipment for our children. When we buy these products, we have an expectation that they will be safe for their intended use. This expectation has been incorporated into Illinois law. If a product you used is not safe and you are injured as a result of a product s defect, Illinois law places strict liability on the part of the manufacturers and retailers who made the product available. This is called product liability. An injured plaintiff is entitled to recover all damages caused by the defendant s negligent, reckless or intentional acts or omissions. This can include compensation for things like past and future pain and suffering; past and future earnings loss; past and future medical expenses; disability, disfigurement and property damage. It can also include compensation for aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Ultimately, though, your case is worth whatever a judge or jury awards at trial, or whatever your opponent will agree to pay in settlement. Thus, significant research, investigation and case preparation is always necessary before your attorney can predict the likely settlement and/or trial value of your case. SOME TYPES OF PERSONAL INJURY CASES Car accident Wrongful death Fall on slippery or uneven surface Truck accident Malfunctioning product Railroad collision Medical malpractice Pharmacy error Dog bite Pedestrian hit Nursing home abuse/neglect Boating accident Birth injury Exposure to chemicals Motorcycle/bike accident Construction accident INJURY CHECKLIST WORK INJURY q Notify supervisor q Seek treatment q Get work status note PERSONAL INJURY q Call the police q Get names & numbers of witnesses q Contact your insurance company q Get follow up treatment q Advise employer of status q Receive lost wages q Do not give recorded statement q Get follow up treatment q Track lost wages q Have bills paid q Verify compensation rate q Receive good settlement/award q Collect medical bills q Receive good settlement/award *Every case of every type has deadlines, limitation periods, and notice requirements that if missed or expired will defeat even the best case. Call us today to protect your case and your rights! Toll free (866)
6 WOODRUFF, JOHNSON & PALERMO The list and accomplishments of our eight lawyers are too numerous to list here. However, one or more of our eight lawyers has: Earned academic degrees from: Boston College University of Illinois Illinois State University University of Kentucky Chicago-Kent College of Law Elmhurst College Northern Illinois University College of Law John Marshall Law School Thomas M. Cooley Law School Loyola University Chicago Presented papers, speeches or seminars on injury law to: Service Employees International Union Illinois Education Association United Auto Workers Union International Brotherhood of Teamsters AFL-CIO Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education Will County Bar Association Grainmillers International Union International Boilermakers Union Because what we do is help injury victims like you, we have the experience and know how to obtain the best possible result for you Meridian Parkway, Suite 134 Aurora, Illinois Office (630) Fax (630) North LaSalle Street, Suite 2100 Chicago, Illinois East Main Street, Suite 200 One Main Plaza Champaign, Illinois 61820