We get a good number of calls from people who have suffered foot and other related injuries from being on their feet all day. This type of injury affects cashiers, machine operators, teachers, construction workers, and pretty much most workers out there. And that’s the problem. If you get hurt doing something that most people do – like standing all day at work – then it’s not considered a work injury for the purposes of workers’ compensation.

We realize this isn’t good news, since an injury caused by standing can prevent you from being able to work, but we want to be upfront about your chances. If you have suffered an injury along these lines, and you think there is something unique to your particular job that caused the injury (more than just standing), it could make a difference.

If you can prove that your injury was caused by something specific to your job, such as being required to wear certain shoes, walking long distances during the work day, standing on uneven ground, or anything else, you should be able to argue that your injury is a work injury.

If you can prove that your injury is work related, then Illinois law entitles you to benefits. Your medical bills and treatment should be covered 100%, with no out-of-pocket expenses or co-pays. If you are unable to work while you recover, workers’ compensation law says that you get checks for 2/3 of your average weekly pay while you’re out. If your injury ends up being permanent, you can usually get a settlement for that.

While these benefits are clearly stated in Illinois law, you might have to go after them. Your employer and their insurance company (who pays these benefits) aren’t looking out for you above their own interests. The insurance company makes money when it denies claims, so don’t take their word for it if they tell you that you can’t get benefits because your injury doesn’t count as work related.

Also, don’t wait to file a claim for benefits. There are deadlines in Illinois and even if you have a legitimate claim, waiting too long could mean that you’re out of luck.

By Michael Helfand