I firmly believe that EVERY Illinois employee should exercise their right to claim workers’ compensation benefits if they are hurt on the job. This includes people who make a ton of money because often when you are injured and don’t have any income, the next thing that happens is you are broke.
This point was made in an article I just read by former NFL player Nate Jackson. He discusses how many former players go broke because of their injuries and how even simple acts like putting on his socks are hard. He goes on to argue (justifiably so) that the NFL should provide free health care for life for their former players.
What the article misses is that if you play for the Chicago Bears, are injured playing football in Illinois or are in another State where workers are protected, you can get free health care for life if you are a NFL player or “regular” worker who is seriously injured on the job.
When every player retires they should file for work comp. Under Illinois law, all related medical care would be paid for life as long as it’s reasonable, necessary and related to the job. So Jackson who has severe ankle and hip problems among other things from his playing days could go to a doctor of his choosing and 100% of the care would be paid for. No out of pocket expenses and no co-pays.
If you are a heavy duty construction worker, you should do the same thing. How many older men and women do you know who worked hard jobs for 30 years and now have stiff backs, need a knee or hip replacement, are dealing with severe arthritis, etc. If there job was a contributing factor then the medical bills should be paid.
Jackson also talks about financial difficulties. However, if he can prove (which he surely can) that his injuries forced him to retire then he should get a tax free wage differential for the rest of his life. It’s not the millions he’d been used to, but it would be more than enough to live off of.
The bottom line is that no matter who you are, workers’ compensation laws protect you when you have an injury. It’s up to you to solve your problem and every injured Chicago Bears player has a pathway to make that happen.
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