Illinois Worker’s Right to Injury Compensation
When an employee is injured on the job in Illinois, they have the right to receive high quality and fully paid medical care, in addition to compensation for time away from work. Illinois employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to pay for work-related injuries that can arise. All employees are entitled to benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act if they are injured during the course of their employment.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, or if someone you love has been injured or killed on the job, call Illinois workers’ compensation attorney Christopher Dixon today for a FREE consultation. Our staff is available 24/7 at 312-600-8054 or toll free at 855-402-7247.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits paid by employers to employees who are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is designed to protect the injured worker and his or her family against the hardships from injury or death arising out of the work environment. The worker’s employer is also protected because the employee receives money and medical benefits in exchange for forfeiting the right to sue the employer. Questions of negligence or fault are normally not at issue.
Keep in mind that in order to benefit from workers’ compensation, you must be an employee of the company you are working for. The self-employed and contractors typically do not fall into the ‘employee’ category. In order to apply for benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you either have to be injured in Illinois or hired in Illinois. If you were hired in Illinois, but were injured on the job in another state, you still qualify.
A wide variety of injuries and occupational diseases are covered by worker compensation, but, according to a recent Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the top 10 disabling injuries are:
- Overexertion caused by excessive lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying or throwing
- Falling on the same level
- Falling to a lower level
- Injuries sustained while bending, climbing, reaching, standing, sitting, slipping or tripping without falling
- Being struck by a falling object such as a tool
- Highway accidents
- Injuries caused when a worker is caught in or compressed by equipment or objects
- Being struck by an object (e.g., walking into a door)
- Repetitive-motion injuries (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Workplace violence
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that those who are injured in accidents that arise out of the course of employment are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This generally means that the Act covers injuries that result in whole or in part from the employee’s work.
In order to qualify for benefits under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act, you must be able to prove each of the following elements:
- That on the date of accident, your employer was subject to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation or Occupational Diseases Act;
- That you were employed by the company on the date of the accident;
- That on the date of accident, you sustained injuries [or acquired a disease] from usual and customary work activity;
- That your medical condition was either caused, aggravated, or accelerated by the injury or exposure alleged on the date of accident;
- That you gave the employer notice of the accident or exposure within 45 days of the date of accident; and
- Your earnings during the 52 weeks before the accident.
After you have established your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, and all of your medical care is complete, you may still have to prove the following:
- That the medical care received was necessary to cure or relieve the effects of your injury or illness.
- The total amount spent on your related medical care.
- The dates of all lost time caused by your illness or injury.
- You were unable to perform light duty, or its unavailability.
- The nature and extent of your injury [permanent, disfigurement, career-ending wage loss, total disability, death, etc.]
- The merits of rehabilitation and re-training.
What Should I Do If I Get Hurt?
If you are hurt on the job, the first thing you should do is report your injury to your employer immediately, even if it appears to be minor. Make sure you fill out an accident report as soon as possible, and give the report to a manager or human resources the same day. If you are able, keep a copy of the report.
The time limit for giving notice of injury to your employer is 45 days. If you do not report or document your injury to your employer, you could seriously endanger your right to obtain workers’ compensation.
What Happens If My Employer Doesn’t Pay?
If your employer refuses to pay for your medical care and time away from work, your attorney will contact your employer to determine why benefits are not being paid. Many times, poor communication can cause delays and misunderstanding. If your employer still refuses to pay benefits, you have a right to file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Commission will only become involved if the employee files a claim and follows the procedures to request a hearing. The time limit for filing a claim with the Commission is three years after an injury, death, or dismemberment, or within two years of the last payment of a medical bill.
Hire An Illinois Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation cases can be complicated. By hiring an attorney to represent your workers’ compensation case, you will ensure your claim stays on track. An experienced attorney will hold your employer accountable, help you prove your eligibility under the law, appear at hearings and present evidence, and help you navigate the entire process so you can concentrate on getting well.
If you have been injured in a workplace accident or someone you love has been injured or killed on the job, contact St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer Chris Dixon. Chris will preserve your rights and benefits under the law. Chris is recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and Life-Time Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.