Injured employees can sue for a head injury at work. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, every worker who suffers work-related head injuries deserves compensation benefits. Depending on several factors, you can sue for anything between a few thousand to millions of dollars.
You should first consult a workers’ compensation lawyer for an accurate estimate because each case value is unique.
Can You Sue for a Head Injury at Work?
Under Illinois law, every employee has a right to workers’ compensation benefits. Illinois is a no-fault state, meaning you will still get compensation regardless of the party at fault, including yourself. However, the no-fault benefit takes away the right to sue an employer directly for head injuries, unless under special conditions.
All you need to do after suffering a head injury is notify the employer, get medical treatment and file a workers’ compensation claim with the insurance company. Despite the no-fault system, some circumstances waive employers’ immunity against civil personal injury litigation. You can file a lawsuit for a head injury at work if:
The Employer’s Intentional Acts Caused Your Injury
To sue for workers’ compensation benefits under this circumstance, you must prove beyond doubt that your co-worker or employer caused your injury directly or through malicious negligence. A good example is a supervisor physically hitting an employee on the head.
The Employer Lacks Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Under Illinois law, every employer should acquire workers’ compensation insurance. Failure to comply is punishable by law. Workers can legally sue for a head injury at work if the employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance. A lawsuit is the only means of getting compensation in such circumstances.
The Employer Was Aware of the Hazardous Conditions in the Work Area
It’s possible to recover compensation from your employer through a civil personal injury court case. For this to happen, you must prove that the employer had knowledge of the hazardous workplace condition but chose to do nothing about it. However, this negligence must be outstanding for the lawsuit to proceed.
Head Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
Head injuries can qualify for workers’ compensation only if they occur at workplaces or in the line of performing work duties. In rare cases, when they occur away from the workplace, employees must show that they were acting on official duties.
Common causes of head injuries at work include motor vehicle accidents, mechanical malfunctions, falling objects, and slip and falls, among others.
Compensation for a Head Injury
Employees who sustain head injuries while working can file a workers’ compensation claim as allowed by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Head injuries can be incapacitating, with victims having trouble settling hefty medical bills. Also, being away for treatment and recovery equals lost wages. Under the law, employees should be compensated without considering the party at fault.
The value of the claim will depend on several factors, including:
- The severity of the injuries
- Lost wages if you were away from work during recovery
- Medical expenses, for instance, prescription medication
- Long term care
- Job loss
Other Types of Compensation for Work-Related Head Injuries
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
You may be entitled to temporary total disability perks during the recovery period. For example, a concussion may cause debilitating dizziness and headaches. You have to stop performing your key job duties until you recover. However, you should be paid for the whole period you were away.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
You can qualify for this compensation if you cannot work permanently because of a work-related head injury. In such cases, the employees acquire a disability, making them unable to perform demanding tasks upon work resumption. Workers can also be paid when they lose their job because of a work-related head injury.
How Much Is my Head Injury Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
If you are planning to sue for a head injury sustained at work, you should know the value of your claim to avoid being short-changed.
Mild Head Injuries
Compensation for mild head injuries can be between a hundred and thousands of dollars. Treating concussions, bruises, lacerations, and other mild head injuries isn’t as expensive as more severe injuries. The compensation amount should be enough to cover ambulance, consultation fees, and MRI scans to rule out extensive brain damage.
Typically, workers’ compensation insurance will cover medical expenses even for those who keep working during recovery. Please note that wage replacement is only valid in some states if the victim misses work for several days.
Moderate/Severe Head trauma
The value estimation for this type of injury is much higher than those for mild head injuries. Moderate head injuries cost more to treat and can keep you out of work for slightly longer.
Compensation for severe head injuries can extend into millions of dollars because they can cause life-long impairment. Also, extensive brain damage requires specific medical procedures, surgeries, and special care, which further increases the cost.
The cost of a workers’ compensation claim is unique to every employee. It may go up or down depending on the extent and severity of the head injury.
What to Do After a Workplace Head Injury
Some head injuries are fatal. Don’t try to walk it off, act tough or continue working as if nothing happened.
You should notify the person in charge, for instance, the supervisor, immediately. The second step is completing the relevant workers’ compensation forms to make way for medical treatment. After filling out the forms, get medical attention from your healthcare provider. For severe injuries, workers may need to seek medical attention prior to filing paperwork. In some instances, workers are treated by a doctor chosen by the employer.
You should only resume work if the healthcare provider deems it safe.
If the employer declines to sign claim forms or the insurer denies your claim, you can legally sue for compensation.
An attorney can help you figure out how to prepare for a workers’ comp hearing. Collect and document the signs and symptoms of your injury. You could use the evidence to sue for more compensation if the damage was more extensive than initially believed. You might also need claim-related documents, including your medical records, claim forms, and evidence of communication with the insurance company, to prove your case.