Fighting for those who serve and protect us

While many occupations come with serious risks of severe injury and death for employees, almost none can match the inherent dangers which police officers and firefighters face in the ordinary course of their employment on a day-to-day basis. Few jobs are as physically demanding as that of a firefighter or police officer, as the line of duty frequently requires intense physical exertion on an emergency basis at a moment’s notice. Whether it is lifting a 300-pound patient or chasing a fleeing suspect, when duty calls, the body and mind can pay the price.

Due to the physical, mental and emotional sacrifices made by police officers and firefighters for the benefit of our society, the Illinois legislature has drafted many wonderful laws to benefit police officers and firefighters who suffer injuries in the course of serving and protecting the citizens of Illinois. These laws, including the Illinois Pension Code, the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Public Employee Disability Act, and the Public Safety Employee Benefit Act,  just to name a few, all provide different benefits for qualifying firefighters and police officers who suffer injuries or death in the course of their employment. In many cases, an injured police officer or firefighter may qualify for benefits under all four of these laws.

Due to the multiple and overlapping laws which all provide unique benefits and all carry different requirements, it is extremely important for an injured police officer or firefighter to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who understands each law in order to maximize the potential benefits which the laws provide. If you have become injured and you believe it may be related to your job duties, you should contact attorney Brent Eames for a free consultation.

Disability Pensions

Regardless of cause, the Illinois pension code provides benefits to eligible firefighters and police officers who suffer injuries or illness and can no longer perform their professional duties. For employees of the city of Chicago, work-related injuries resulting in disability can result in pension benefits equal to 75% of the employee’s salary. For all other police officers and firefighters, the benefit for a line-of-duty injury equals 65% of the employee’s salary. Further, disabilities resulting from injuries or illnesses which are not work-related can still qualify a police officer or firefighter for not-on-duty pension benefits equal to 50% of their salary.

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Workers’ Compensation

The majority of police officers and firefighters in Illinois can claim benefits pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act. Under this Act, employees who suffer an injury which arises out of and occurs in the course of their employment are entitled to receive payment for all of the medical expenses which are related to the work injury; payment of weekly temporary disability benefits for the entire time the employee is held off of work by their medical providers on account of the work injury; and a lump sum payment for permanent impairment which is designed to compensate the injured employee for loss of future earning capacity.

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Public Employees Disability Act

If a firefighter or police officer suffers a work-related injury which causes him or her to be temporarily or permanently incapacitated from performing his or her professional duties, then said employee should be qualified to receive up to 52 weeks of full salary pursuant to the Public Employee Disability Act (PEDA). PEDA also explicitly provides that the injured employee shall receive no deduction from his or her sick leave credits, compensatory time for overtime accumulations or vacation, or service credits in a public employee pension fund during the time he or she is unable to perform duties due to the result of the injury.

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