The Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) employees over 4,800 workers and while some of them are paper pushers, most are working to make sure that our bridges and roads are safe. Their work can be as simple as removing roadway debris to as serious as making repairs.
Because these are often heavy labor jobs there are a lot of injuries. Working on a roadway maintenance crew is dangerous. A lot of work is done within a few feet of speeding motorists. While the most worrisome safety threat is being hit by a speeding car or truck, the reality is that most IDOT employee injuries are from their other daily activities. We see a lot of back injuries from moving materials, slip and falls from working on wet or uneven pavement, shoulder injuries from overhead work, lots of bad cuts, ankle and leg injuries from stepping in holes and even psychological injuries from seeing victims of bad crashes.
Because your employer is the State, you are not dealing with an insurance company when you are hurt while working for them. The Illinois Attorney General defends these cases and it’s not like being in a case with a regular law firm. A private law firm is worried about getting fired by an insurance company if they do a bad job, so you can expect they will return phone calls, be prepared and be working on the case. Attorneys that defend these cases don’t have those worries and often we find they are overwhelmed with work and uninterested in many of their cases.
The point of saying all of this is that if you work for IDOT and are hurt on the job, you better hire a law firm that has a track record of going to trial. Often that is the only reason to make the State pay or at least get their attention. If you have a lazy lawyer you could get punished by having to wait for them to get their act together and get the case ready for a hearing. We find that when you are ready to try the case, the State pays attention.
Another issue is that years ago there was a phony “crisis” where some downstate newspaper noticed the State was paying out a lot in work comp benefits to State workers. As a result, some higher ups try to fight some of these cases without good reason. The reality is that when you are an IDOT worker you are putting your life on the line every day and risking great bodily harm from most activities. It’s not unusual for you to have a serious injury. If the State wants to play a game with it, it’s just one more reason why you need someone in your corner who can protect you.
Via our Illinois wide network of lawyers, we have tremendous experience and success with helping injured IDOT employees. If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys for free, fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5578.