Workers’ compensation is a program created to assist workers who were injured on the job, particularly if their injury keeps them from working and earning money. The majority of employers in Illinois (and all over the U.S.)— there are some exceptions— are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of work injuries, industries that see the most workers’ compensation claims, and workers’ compensation benefits for Illinois residents.
Common Types of Work Injuries
No matter where you work, you’re likely to become injured at some point. Obviously, construction and related work are some of the most dangerous jobs, but even office jobs can harbor hazards to employees (e.g., wet floors, sharp corners, etc.).
Struck by an Object
About 10% of workers’ compensation claims are those from an employee (or their family) who was struck by an object. This usually happens at construction sites, where falling objects can be quite common. Even small objects can become extremely dangerous and even deadly when they fall from a height.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Only about 4-9% of workers’ compensation claims are traffic accident-related. This is more commonly seen in transportation-related career fields such as those where delivery drivers work.
Fall accidents are the most common type of workers’ compensation claim at about 16%. Falls (especially from a height) are pretty common in the construction industry, but they can happen in any work industry. Retail workers can fall off ladders when grabbing merchandise, and office workers can trip on electrical cords and fall that way.
Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Toxic chemical exposure only accounts for about 2% of workers’ compensation claims. Those who work in chemical manufacturing, metal production and fabrication, and petroleum processing are more likely to file claims related to toxic chemical exposure. However, construction workers can come in contact with asbestos, and landscapers and agricultural workers can also work with toxic chemicals.
Caught Between/In Objects/Equipment
Employees getting caught in or between objects or equipment account for around 7-15% of workers’ compensation claims. This also typically happens in the construction and related industries, and these industries are almost always fatal.
Industries with the Most Claims
The construction and related industries (roofing, ironwork, carpentry, etc.) have the most types of injuries sustained, and therefore, usually the most workers’ compensation claims. However, several other dangerous industries file a lot of claims.
Transportation and Delivery
As mentioned earlier, all transportation-related occupations are at a higher risk of being injured in a traffic accident. The nature of the job means they spend most (if not all) of the workday on the road.
Miners are often forgotten, but they have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. They can also get injured by objects and/or equipment as construction workers could, but they also face the risk of the explosion and collapse of underground mines.
Fishing, Hunting, and Logging
Workers in the fishing, hunting, and logging industry have some of the same work hazards as those in the construction industry (getting caught in/between) objects and equipment, being struck by falling objects. etc.), but they also face extreme weather conditions. More specifically, fishers face the risk of drowning, hunters face the risk of an animal attack, and loggers face the risk of being crushed by trees.
Agriculture, Farming, and Ranching
Agriculture, farming, ranching, and related industries face many of the same hazards as construction workers. They work with heavy machinery and toxic chemicals, and they also work in extreme weather conditions.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Illinois
Even if an injury on the job doesn’t result in death, it can result in other problems for the injured employee and potentially his or her family. This is why workers’ compensation benefits exist. Most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance that covers lost wages, medical costs, and even funeral expenses, but here’s a look at what Illinis residents may be able to receive:
- Vocational retraining
- Permanent partial/permanent disability benefits
- Medical benefits
- Lost earnings
- Death benefits
If you’ve been injured on the job, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago or a city near you to get more information.
Keep in mind that not all workplace injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, such as injuries as a result of the employee’s own negligence. Only injuries that are a result of another’s (employer, etc.) negligence are usually eligible for these benefits. Contacting a personal injury lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation will help you better understand if you can receive any benefits for your work-related injury.