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Can First Responders Claim Workers’ Compensation in Illinois?

 Posted on September 06, 2019 in Workers' Compensation

Will County workers compensation attorneysLaw enforcement and firefighting professionals face danger on a regular basis. Their jobs are to protect and save citizens, even if that means putting themselves in peril. This means injuries can be prevalent for individuals in these occupations, especially due to the physical nature of their duties. In certain situations, workers’ compensation benefits can be claimed if one of these workers suffers an injury on the job. In Illinois, first responders can file for workers’ comp benefits, with exceptions for police and firefighters employed by the City of Chicago. 

Common First Responder Injuries 

Police officers have a greater chance of incurring a work-related injury or illness than those in many other occupations. Nonfatal injuries and illnesses that cause officers to miss work may be the result of violence, animal attacks, or even falls while on duty. For example, when serving search warrants, an officer could face a suspect who pulls a gun or a knife. A suspect could also be combative by hitting, kicking, or shooting at law enforcement. Other cause of injury may include vehicle collisions while patrolling the roadways. When making a traffic stop, an offender may try to evade or elude police, which sends the officer on a high-speed chase, which could result in a crash. 

Some of the typical injuries sustained by law enforcement officials include:

  • Broken bones or fractures; 
  • Cuts and lacerations;
  • Gunshot wounds;
  • Sprains, strains, and muscle injuries; and
  • Back or neck damage.

Firefighters can sustain various types of injuries related to putting out fires depending on the location of the fire. For instance, fires can break out at houses, high-rise buildings, or in forests or mountain ranges. Examples of common firefighting injuries include:

  • First- , second-, and third-degree burns;
  • Sprains and strains;
  • Wounds, cuts, and bruises; and
  • Smoke or gas inhalation. 

Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim

Firefighters, paramedics, and police officers use their bodies a great deal while performing their jobs. They lift and carry people, run, move heavy equipment, etc. Benefits for physical injuries sustained on the job can be claimed by filing a workers’ compensation claim through the state of Illinois. Workers’ comp benefits are not available to police officers or firefighters employed by the City of Chicago, but our team can help injured officers and firefighters explore options for collecting compensation. 

Because they often deal with dangerous and difficult situations, first responders are also likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fire/police/EMS employees who have been diagnosed with PTSD may also be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, if a person sustains a work-related injury, he or she is entitled to two-thirds of his or her salary while off work as a result of the injury. This benefit is referred to as temporary total disability benefits. However, according to the Public Employee Disability Act, certain employees are entitled to 100 percent of their pay if they sustain an injury on the job. These workers include:

  • Full-time police officers;
  • Full-time firefighters;
  • Corrections officers;
  • Full or part-time employee of the Department of Human Services; and
  • Full or part-time employee in a state-run mental health facility.

Contact a Joliet Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line to protect everyone else. Because they are often put in dangerous situations, they can get hurt. If you or a loved one suffered an injury performing police and fire work, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. A knowledgeable Will County workplace injury lawyer can assess your claim so you receive the compensation you deserve to move on with your life. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our office today at 815-727-0100.






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