While almost all city of Chicago workers are covered under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act, there are exceptions.

City of Chicago employees who are not covered:

  • Police officers
  • Firefighters (Note: Disfigurement is covered, but everything else is not.  I will explain this below.)

City of Chicago employees who are covered:

  • Civilian employees of the Police Department
  • Civilian employees of the Fire Department
  • Streets and Sanitation
  • Water Management
  • Aviation
  • Budget & Management
  • Buildings
  • Bus, Affairs & Consumer Protection
  • City of Chicago TV
  • Emergency Management & Communications
  • Finance
  • Law
  • Public Library
  • And many more

The exceptions exist due to Section 1(b) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, which outlines a rule whereby a police officer or firefighter in a city with a population greater than 500,000 is not covered.  In Illinois, the only city that fits that description is Chicago.

Section 1(b) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act defines the term “employee,” and, as part of the definition, points out the population circumstances whereby police officers and firefighters are excluded:

“…except any duly appointed member of a police department in any city whose population exceeds 500,000 according to the last Federal or State census, and except any member of a fire insurance patrol maintained by a board of underwriters in this State. A duly appointed member of a fire department in any city, the population of which exceeds 500,000 according to the last federal or State census, is an employee under this Act only with respect to claims brought under paragraph (c) of Section 8.”

Section 8(c) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act includes the following:

“For any serious and permanent disfigurement to the hand, head, face, neck, arm, leg below the knee or the chest above the axillary line, the employee is entitled to compensation for such disfigurement…A duly appointed member of a fire department in a city, the population of which exceeds 500,000 according to the last federal or State census, is eligible for compensation under this paragraph only where such serious and permanent disfigurement results from burns.”

This means that firefighters can pursue compensation for serious or permanent disfigurement under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, but only when such disfigurement is the result of burns.  In such situations, firefighters can hire Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys to help with at least that aspect of the case.  In the case of firefighters, police officers, other city of Chicago employees, and everything in between, it is always worth it to seek a free consultation with an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney.

It should be noted that, while these exclusions exist for police officers and firefighters in workers’ compensation claims, such workers do have a separate right to pursue possible third party claims, when applicable.  The first main requirement is that the third party at fault cannot be a co-worker of the injured party.

Examples of Third Party Claims for Police Officers and Firefighters:
  • Car accidents
  • Intentional fires (vs. building owners)
  • Slip & fall (vs. building owners)
  • Police officer injured by a malfunctioning gun
  • Firefighter who falls due to a defective ladder on a fire engine or fire escape

Firefighter Injury, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, Police Officer Injury, Slip and Fall, Third Party Claim