If you’re injured at work in the state of Illinois—you fall off a ladder while stocking shelves, or burn yourself at a hot stove, or suffer a mishap with a power tool—your employer is legally required to help you during your recovery. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act says that employers must provide benefits to injured workers, including paying their medical expenses, subsidizing various types of disability, providing job retraining, and more.
The intent behind the Workers’ Compensation Act is clear: People who are injured in the course of their work for their employer shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden of recovering from those injuries.
But what if you’re injured at work not as the result of doing your job, but as the result of someone coming in and committing a crime—a robbery, a mass shooting, arson, or assault, for instance—while you’re working?
Violent crimes are on the rise in the U.S. Many are committed in places where people work—retail outlets, offices, factories, warehouses, theaters, concert venues, hospitals, subways, churches, and schools. There’s almost always some degree of injury among the workers when a crime is committed at their jobsite: they slip and fall as they try to escape the scene, they hurt their backs in the course of helping others, they suffer heart attacks and strokes from the stress, they deal with the debilitating effects of trauma. Sometimes they’re victims of sexual violence. Sometimes they’re shot.
Medical care for these injuries can range from onsite treatment by first responders to hospitalization to months of physical or psychiatric therapy or other ongoing treatments. In most cases, injured workers are able to return to their jobs soon after the incident, but not always. Some injuries require months of healing and recuperation, and some lead to permanent disability. Workers injured in crimes at their workplaces can, in the worst cases, face significant medical bills and a considerable loss of income.
Your Employer’s Responsibilities
Your employer’s first responsibility is to provide a safe workplace, including taking reasonable precautions against crime. This might mean having security guards on site, installing surveillance cameras, and making sure employees don’t work alone, especially at night.
No matter how well-protected your workplace, however, few places are immune from violent crime.
If you’re injured when someone commits a crime at your workplace, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance—which Illinois requires all businesses to carry—will cover you in the same way it would if you were injured lifting boxes or breathing toxic fumes. When you’re on the job, you’re on the job: from a workers’ compensation perspective, it doesn’t matter if you’re serving drinks, updating software, or ducking for cover.
Under Illinois law, workers’ compensation insurance provides:
- Funds for medical care for your injury
- Temporary total disability benefits if your injury causes you to miss work for a finite period of time
- Temporary partial disability benefits if your injury means you need to work fewer hours or in a lower-paid position for a finite period of time
- Permanent partial disability benefits if your injury means you need to work fewer hours or in a lower-paid position going forward
- Permanent total disability benefits if your injury leaves you unable to work at all going forward
- Survivor benefits for your family if you die as a result of the crime committed at your workplace
Any kind of crime does harm to a place of business, impacting revenues and schedules, making workers feel anxious and unsafe, and leaving owners and managers scrambling to put things back together. When it’s a violent crime resulting in employee injuries, the harm to the business as a whole is compounded. Everyone suffers, and everyone wants to make things right again.
If you’ve been injured in a crime at your workplace, advisors at the Cullotta Bravo Law Group can help you file for and obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to. If your employer is uncooperative, or disputes your claim, our lawyers will advocate on your behalf.
If you’ve been injured in a crime committed at your workplace, contact Cullotta Bravo Law Group to learn your options so you can make an informed decision about how best to proceed. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 630-225-8341 or contact us online.