Most injured Illinois workers get medical treatment and sooner or later get better. Those people get a settlement and move on with their lives which usually involves going back to their job.
Other workers end up with permanent restrictions. For example, maybe they have a back injury and are told that they can’t do any lifting over 20 pounds. If your employer has worked for you within that restriction, you can continue to work there. Sometimes that means you are doing the same job, sometimes it means your job is modified and other times it means they find new work for you within the company. For example, we’ve seen a lot of laborers who end up in a supervisor-type role because even though they can’t do the heavy work, they have so much to offer based on their experience.
In other cases, the permanent restrictions are pretty severe, and not only can’t your company find a job for you but there is also no other similar company that has a job for you either. In that case, you might need a career change.
This can be a scary situation, especially financially. It also usually means you have some ongoing pain, discomfort, or high risk of re-injury. The good news is that Illinois work comp laws do protect you in multiple ways. Some examples include:
- Career counseling through vocational rehabilitation. You can get guidance through a trained professional, at no expense to you, as to what careers you can work and our best for you.
- Re-training for new work. Perhaps being taught computer work or other skills that can increase your chances of employment would be helpful. If that’s the case it’s available for you.
- Getting sent back to school. In some cases, especially for younger workers, the workers’ compensation insurance company could have to pay for you to go to college or to some program that will certify you for new work.
- Maintenance payments. This is essentially the TTD payments you received while under a doctor’s care. You will continue to get paid while you are looking for new work or training for a new job.
- Wage differential payments. If you have a significant difference between what you’d be currently making if still doing your old job and what you can now make, Illinois law is on your side. You are entitled to 2/3 of the difference for five years or until you reach 65, whichever is longer. This payment is tax-free.
So while obviously, an injury so severe that it causes you to change careers isn’t ideal, it’s also not the end of the world. There are ways to minimize the harm to your life. If you have any questions or concerns about this, we are happy to talk to you for free. You can fill out our contact form or call us at 312-346-5578.