Working in a restaurant is a demanding job. Cooks, servers and dishwashers spend hours at a time on their feet, often performing strenuous work for little compensation. Employers demand that their employees move fast and handle large workloads, sometimes at the expense of the employees’ safety.
Restaurant injury risks
The danger of severely cutting oneself is not limited to kitchen staff. Servers, bartenders and dishwashers are also required to handle knives and other cutting utensils, exposing themselves to the risk of debilitating lacerations.
Burns are also common, with staff working around hot ovens, open flames and scalding water. Restaurant workers frequently work in confined spaces at breakneck speeds, making it easy to burn yourself even when you’re not directly engaging with the source of a burn.
Muscles, tendons and ligaments can be pushed beyond their limits. Whether it’s repetitive motion, extended periods of physical labor or sudden strains from lifting heavy loads, a restaurant worker’s body takes a beating. Injuries to the back, neck, hands and forearms are commonplace.
When you suffer an injury, you expect your restaurant to take care of you and workers’ compensation is the vehicle you rely on. Workers’ compensation is intended to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and even extended periods of disability for more severe injuries.
However, the insurance companies that administer workers’ compensation benefits do not have you as their priority. They are in business to make money, giving them the incentive to pay you as little as possible or not at all. When they are able, insurance companies will lay the blame for your injury on you and deny your claim. They will use the fact that you do not know workers’ compensation laws against you.
You have rights under Illinois’ workers’ compensation laws. Those laws are in place to help you, not the insurance companies. If you suffer an injury at your restaurant and believe you are not being treated fairly, seek the assistance of a knowledgeable professional to navigate workers’ compensation laws and ensure you are compensated according to the law.