Firefighters, Paramedics, Police Officers and Certain Other Public Employees

If you have been injured on the job, below are several reasons why you should choose the law firm of Donald W. Fohrman & Associates, Ltd., to represent you in their workers’ compensation claim:

#1 Over forty years experience in handling workers’ compensation claims

The law offices of Donald W. Fohrman & Associates, Ltd., has represented scores of firefighters, paramedics, police offers and certain other public employees throughout the State of Illinois.

The law offices of Donald W. Fohrman & Associates, Ltd., has collected over $100 million in workers’ compensation benefits on behalf of our clients.

The law offices of Donald W. Fohrman & Associates, Ltd., has a 98% success rate in securing settlements for our clients.

#2 Understands the relationship between workers’ compensation benefits, the Public Employees Disability Act and the Illinois Pension Code

All firefighters, paramedics, police officers and certain other public employees are subject to the provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (ILWCA) and the Public Employees Disability Act (PEDA).

Due to our extensive experience in representing firefighters, paramedics, police officers and certain other public employees who have been injured on-the-job, we understand the complex relationship between the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (ILWCA), Public Employees Disability Act (PEDA) and the Illinois Pension Code. We are, therefore, able to maximize recoveries for firefighters, paramedics, police officers and certain other public employee under these acts.

For example, should a firefighter sustain a work-related injury which prevents them from returning to their job as a firefighter, we are able to structure settlement contracts so that they can recover monies under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (ILWCA) in addition, to their duty disability pension.

#3 Knowledge of dual rate cases

In certain situations, if a firefighter, paramedic, police officer or certain other public employee, earns wages from a second or side job and his or her employer is aware of that second job, the wages earned at the second job may be considered in determining the employee’s average weekly wage.

For example, if a firefighter is receiving $700 a week in duty disability pay (full regular salary under PEDA) and was earning $200 a week at a second job, then the firefighter would be paid an additional $133.20 (66-2/3’s of $200.00) weekly. The firefighter would receive a combined compensation total of $833.20 weekly. (These earnings are subject to statutory maximums under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.)

After fifty-two weeks, the firefighter will no longer receive duty disability pay. The disability pay would be replaced by workers’ compensation benefits. The total paid in workers’ compensation benefits would equal sixty-six and two-thirds (66-2/3’s) of the firefighter’s combined wages: $700 (firefighter’s salary) + $200 (earnings from second job) = $900 average weekly wage x 66-2/%3 = $600.00

Note: When it is time to resolve your workers’ compensation claim, wages earned from a second job could substantially increase a settlement or award from an arbitrator.

#4 Knows how to get around the bureaucratic maze

It has been our experience that when firefighters, paramedics, police officers and certain other public employees are injured on-the-job, they are frequently treated differently by their supervisors or department managers.

The negative change in attitude by department supervisors has intensified during the current economic situation. The focus is on reducing costs and liability and not on helping the injured worker. Supervisors and managers often will delay the necessary paperwork and avoid reporting on-the-job injuries in an attempt to reduce the amount of benefits being paid to injured firefighters, paramedics, police officers and certain other public employees.

It is our job to guide these injured workers through the bureaucracy and focus on the legal responsibility of the department to provide benefits in a timely manner under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (ILWCA) and Public Employees Disability Act (PEDA).

#5 Handles cases under the Firefighter’s Protection Amendment to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Diseases Act

On May 24, 2007, the Illinois Senate passed an amendment (which became effective January 1, 2008) to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Diseases Act making it easier for firefighters, paramedics and EMTS, to receive benefits for specific injuries or illnesses. The specific injuries and or illnesses detailed in this provision are:

  • Any bloodborne pathogen
  • Lung or respiratory disease or condition
  • Heart or vascular disease or condition
  • Hypertension
  • Tuberculosis
  • Cancer
  • Hernia
  • Hearing loss

The amendment creates a “rebuttable presumption.” The term rebuttable presumption means that, unless the employer can establish non-compensablility of these specific illnesses, it is presumed that the claim is compensable and the injured firefighter, paramedic and EMT will receive all the benefits they are entitled to under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (ILWCA).

However, if the employer denies the claim, the injured employee still has to present medical evidence to substantiate their claim and prove that their condition of ill being resulted from his or her employment.

Our office has filed several claims under this amendment and will continue to file such claims on a selected basis.

Please contact our office for a free, no obligation consultation.

#6 Experience in handling third party cases

If you are injured in an accident that was caused in whole or in part by someone other than your employer (or a fellow employee), not only would you be entitled to workers’ compensation, you may also be entitled to recover substantial damages in a third party lawsuit.

The most common example a of third party case involving a firefighter, paramedic, EMT, or police officer, occurs in a collision with a negligent driver. In this situation would have a workers’ compensation claim against your employer and a third party case against the negligent driver.

For those firefighters, paramedics, EMTS, police officers and other public employees working second jobs in the building trades, a third party case frequently occurs on job-sites when the negligent conduct of a sub-contractor (other than your employer) or general contractor, in part or in whole, causes the accident.

A third party case may also result if any worker is injured as a result of a defective piece of equipment such as a ladder or power tool. This type of third party case is a referred to as a products liability case, which could be filed against the manufacturer of the defective piece of equipment.

As opposed to workers’ compensation claims, a third party case has no statutory limits on the amount of monetary damages an injured worker can receive. In third party cases, a judge or jury determines damages based on the injured worker’s pain and suffering, future loss of earnings, inability to perform non-work activities and the amount of medical expenses.

In order to receive monetary damages, an inured worker must prove that a third party was negligent or otherwise legally responsible for the accident. Due to the complex nature of third party cases it is critical that an injured worker contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after sustaining an work-related injury.

Note: A lawsuit for most third party cases must be filed within two years from the
date of accident while a workers’ compensation claim must filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission within three years from the date of the accident.

#7 Available for a consultation 24/7

We are available to take your calls 24 hours a day. You can also reach us through our case evaluation form on our web site.

#8 Will provide a “second opinion”

Many attorneys who are not experienced in handling claims for firefighters, paramedics, police officers and certain other public employees, nevertheless, seek to represent them in their claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Considering the complexity and uniqueness of these claims, being represented by an attorney who does not have the experience, can be financially devastating.

Even if your attorney is experienced in handling workers’ compensation claims on behalf of firefighters, paramedics, police officers and certain other public employees, but does not return telephone calls, doesn’t spend time explaining your rights or simply doesn’t treat your claim with the importance it deserves, you should consider obtaining a second opinion.

If you are unhappy with your current attorney we will provide you with an honest and thorough review of your claim to determine whether we believe that we could better represent your interests.

Should you decide to change attorneys, we will take care of all the necessary paper work and see to it that your file is transferred to our office in a timely manner.

You pay no expenses or attorneys fees to your former attorney. Any fees or costs due will be paid by our office.

#9 Provides informational materials to and is available to speak at union meetings

We presently represent members of fifty different unions throughout the State of Illinois. We are frequently invited by union officials to speak at meetings for the purpose of providing valuable information about workers’ compensation to their membership.

We have published, for our clients who are union members, a workers’ compensation guide which outlines the most basic provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (ILWCA). This guide is easy to understand and answers some of the most frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation. Upon request, we will gladly provide a copy of our guide to every member of your union.

We also support our union clients by sponsoring annual golf outings and contributing to other union fund raising events.

Contact our office at 800-437-2571 if you would like to discuss the services our law firm provides to unions and their membership.