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Workers Compensation: Do seasonal workers get lost wages?

Russ Haugen

undefinedOne of the benefits an injured worker is entitled to under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is lost wages.  The Act states that if you are incapacitated from working, as a result of a work-related injury, you are entitled to 66-2/3% of your lost wages.  These lost wages are called temporary total disability benefits.  If you can show that your doctor has taken you off work or has placed you on light-duty restrictions in which your employer cannot accommodate, you will be entitled to these benefits.

An interesting situation arises when a person is working a “seasonal job” but continues to be incapacitated from working once the seasonal job is done.  For example, take a school bus monitor who only works during the school year.  While breaking up a fight on the bus, she gets pushed to the ground and breaks her leg.  As a result of this accident, her doctor takes her off work.  What happens if the school bus monitor is still treating and restricted from work once the school year is over?  Is she entitled to temporary total disability benefits during the summer?  Too many times have I seen insurance companies terminate an individual’s temporary total disability benefits once the “seasonal job” comes to an end.  This is NOT right.

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission has determined, on numerous occasions, that an individual is still entitled to temporary total disability benefits during a period of time they may otherwise not be working due to the nature of the employment.  Using our example of the school bus monitor, the Commission determined that a school bus monitor was entitled to ongoing temporary total disability benefits during the summer months since this individual was still treating from the work injury and was restricted from work activities.  The entitlement to ongoing benefits would also apply to school teachers, snow plow drivers, or any other employee that is not required to work year round.

If you sustain a work injury and don’t work twelve months out of the year, you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits during the time you would normally be off work.  As such, it is important to continue seeing your doctor and getting updated work status notes.  If the workers’ compensation insurance company has refused to pay you these benefits, you should contact an attorney at Woodruff Johnson & Evans for a free consultation.

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