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Chicago Construction Workers: Do You Know What to Do If You’re Injured on the Job?

Written by, Adavelli Muninder

Updated June, 22, 2023

Let’s face it: accidents happen. While policies, procedures, and OSHA try to keep workers safe, things don’t always go according to plan. And some jobs are more dangerous than others! Construction work is one of those industries with high risk.

That’s why safety is a priority and hard hats are required. But what happens when something goes wrong…and you become a victim? Do you know how to pay for your medical bills and keep your family afloat while you recover? Even worse, what if you are killed on the job? Anyone who works a risky job should have a plan for worst-case scenarios: injury, illness, or death resulting from work.

Let’s take a look at job-site hazards and worker’s compensation.

What Is Worker’s Compensation?

Worker’s comp is an insurance program purchased by your boss. It is legally required in Illinois, minus a few exceptions. This insurance helps protect your boss and their workers should something happen. It can help with medical bills and lost wages until you are back up on your feet and ensures you don’t need to sue your boss to make ends meet. Of course, this means your boss doesn’t have to worry about getting sued or scheduling an injured worker. It’s a win-win.

Wait, No Lawsuits? So No Lawyers?

Well, not exactly. Carrying worker’s compensation should indeed protect your boss from a lawsuit. However, there are other reasons to retain a lawyer. Worker’s compensation involves a lot of paperwork and evidence gathering. Then you have to negotiate with insurance. Insurance companies may try to lowball you or not comprehend the full extent of your injury. Hiring a skylight fall accident lawyer, for example, to help you during the process means you have a smoother transition onto and off of worker’s compensation. Your lawyer will get expert medical opinions and help you calculate damages (such as lost wages and medical bills) before negotiating on your behalf for better compensation.

Evidence? Paperwork?

Yes. If you are injured on the job or become ill as a result, you have to prove it. You also need documentation for all expenses and the extent and impact of your injury. All of this is used to justify the amount of compensation worker’s comp needs to pay out so you and your family can get back on your feet.

Workplace Hazards Construction Workers Face

Construction work is pretty dangerous. Here are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you may be exposed to:

  • Ladder injuries
  • Skylight falls
  • Scaffolding collapse
  • Machinery malfunction
  • Power tool malfunction
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Slips
  • Heatstroke

Every worksite is different, and they all come with their own hazards. Sometimes, a hazard isn’t known and, therefore, isn’t properly prepared for. Old insulation was infamous for its use of asbestos due to its fire resistance, but now we know asbestos exposure is dangerous for your lungs. Then you have homes with unknown rot or mold growth or buildings with improperly installed skylights. And when the Windy City lives up to its name, you also have to factor in the chance of debris. Construction is a risky job, so it’s all too easy for someone to get hurt.

So, How Do You Get Worker’s Compensation for Construction Accidents?

If you are injured on the job or become ill as a result, the first two things you need to do are 1) tell your supervisor and 2) seek medical attention. If you are injured on the job site, your supervisor needs to know immediately so they can assess your injury and either send you to a doctor or call emergency services, depending on the severity.

Once you’ve been treated, you need to start documenting. Get a copy of your medical record from the doctor and start keeping things in a file and journaling your symptoms and how they impact your daily routine. Print off any emails and screenshot texts. 

You will need to fill out a worker’s compensation form with your company. This asks you the details about what happened; answer as thoroughly as you can. If any of your coworkers were around, ask them to provide witness statements. This serves an additional purpose aside from documentation— it lets your boss trace what happened in case they need to change the protocol.

Now is also the time to find a Chicago worker’s compensation attorney. Let your boss know that you just want legal aid in filing the paperwork and dealing with the insurance, as some managers take the mention of lawyers as immediately hostile.

What Does Worker’s Comp Cover, Exactly?

Any and all expenses that result from your injury. This can be medical bills, prescriptions, lost wages, help with groceries, etc. If the worst comes to pass and you don’t survive, worker’s comp will help with funeral costs and continue providing your lost wages for an amount of time negotiated by your family’s lawyer.

Know Your Rights so You Can Focus on Recovery

Worker’s compensation can be complicated and time-consuming. Hiring a lawyer ensures that you get the compensation you deserve, so you can have the peace of mind to focus on recovering from your injury or illness. If you have any questions about worker’s comp, don’t hesitate to call a local Chicago personal injury lawyer and schedule a consultation.