A case came to us recently in a peculiar way. A woman called looking for an attorney for a guardianship case. Her cousin had died and left behind a young child. Nothing about that screams work comp, right?
The logical question after offering condolences was, “How did she pass away?” The answer was that she had a bad asthma attack at home. The paramedics were called, but she unfortunately passed away. Again, nothing about that makes it seem like there would be any sort of workers’ compensation case.
Most lawyers would stop right there and focus only on the guardianship aspect of this case, but the attorney who took this call knows well enough to make sure that you explore every legal possibility that you can think of. So he then asked what type of work the cousin did and that’s when the caller revealed that her job had been making the asthma get worse and in fact a doctor had stated she couldn’t do her normal job duties, but the employer ignored those restrictions. Multiple times they had to call an ambulance for her at work because of asthma attacks.
We haven’t seen the records, but it seems clear to me that the job likely contributed to her having the fatal asthma attack. She worked on the day she died and apparently in a position she wasn’t healthy enough to handle.
The law in Illinois is that if your job plays a role in your injury, you get benefits. You don’t have to be at work when you suffer the actual injury and this is a great example of how that plays out in real life.
This is a really significant situation as the minimum death benefit in Illinois is $500,000.00. That can have an amazing impact on the life of a young child who will never know their mother.
If it’s true that the employer did not accommodate these needed health restrictions then it is beyond sad and it might even be worth looking in to whether or not they can be sued for their reckless disregard of her life. It may be one of the rare times that a company can be sued for negligence.
Bottom line for you is that you need a lawyer who is going to ask questions. You don’t know what you don’t know so it’s not on you to figure out what possible other cases you may have. This isn’t a unique situation as we get lots of cases where people are looking for an attorney for one thing only to discover, because good firms are asking questions, that they have a potential Illinois workers’ compensation claim. Over the years we’ve talked to many people who would have had a possible claim for something else, but their work comp attorney didn’t alert them. When that happens and you’ve waited too long, your only option is to sue your lawyer.
To find an honest, experienced Illinois attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation, contact us via our online form or by calling (312) 346-5578. We have a statewide network of lawyers who have a track record of success in representing their clients.