There are no special training or experience requirements needed to represent a member of a workers’ union who has been injured on the job. While it is helpful to have an attorney who has experience in union worker rights and injuries, or even an attorney who has previously represented city workers, it is not required to file your claim.
Despite this fact, there are some workers’ unions in the state that will aggressively tell their members which attorneys they must hire – and often, they will use threats or statements that the worker must use their recommendation. Sadly, the recommendations made by the unions are not based on quality – and some workers are left with limited compensation because of inadequate representation.
You Are Not Required to Hire the Union’s Recommendation
Even if you are a member of a union, you are not required to use the union’s attorney recommendation. Often, these attorneys are friends of union representatives, and they are not suggested based on their experience – or even their success rate. Many law firms on the preferred lists of unions get there because they pay to be there. They may swoon union representatives by taking them to dinner, playing a game of golf, or giving them tickets to a downtown show. Unfortunately, there is not much that the law can do about such situations.
It is true, in some cases, that the labor union can help an injured worker get access to workers’ compensation benefits. States govern their own workers’ compensation regulations, and employers are required to grant benefits to their injured employees. Because employers pay for their workers’ compensation coverage, accessing such coverage could result in higher premiums – thus their reluctance to help their own employees. A labor union may be able to assist injured workers in getting their employer to cooperate, and their insurer to pay. But, the union should not be used in lieu of an attorney.
Tips for Filing a Successful Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have been injured at work, do not rely on the suggestions or pressures of your workers’ union. Instead, protect your claim by:
- Reporting your injury to your employer immediately. If you do not realize that you have a work-related injury or illness, report it the moment it is diagnosed by your physician.
- Keeping detailed records. That includes the date and time of the injury or diagnosis, your prognosis, treatments that you have received, work that you have missed, statements made by your employer, etc. Anything regarding your claim should be documented.
- Speaking with your coworkers about your injury, and seeing if anyone witnessed it. Sometimes, another coworker may have witnessed the event that lead to your injury or illness – which can help establish your claim.
- Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney. No matter how much experience and assistance your labor union offers, you still need an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney will help you file the necessary paperwork, negotiate with insurers, and ensure that you receive compensation for your work-related injury.
Contact a Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you have been seriously injured at work, contact Malman Law. Our workers’ compensation team can help you with your claim, and ensure that you are not bullied by your employer or local union. We have years of experience helping injured workers receive the medical treatments and compensation that they need. Schedule a free consultation regarding your injury; fill out our online contact form with your questions.