Injuries are all too common within the workplace. For many, the unpredictable nature of work injuries generally presents a major emotional and financial disruption in a worker’s life that can be devastating. That is why it is important to remember that regardless of your job or career, whether you are a minimum wage worker or a high salary executive, an undocumented immigrant or a U.S. citizen, if you have been hurt at work, you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits under most state laws.
As a general rule, if you have been injured on the job or while performing job duties, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages and medical costs arising from that injury and should consult with a personal injury attorney in Chicago. However, all too often this is not the case. Employers or their insurance companies are consistently unwilling to comply with their legal obligations and employ creative ways to deny claims and save money. A Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
Common Work Injuries
A workplace injury could happen in a variety of ways, but the most common are:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dangerous or defective equipment
- Repetitive motion tasks
- Unsafe working conditions
- Car accidents
- Exposure to hazardous substances
- Workplace violence
You May Qualify For Benefits
You are entitled to a variety of different benefits when recovering compensation for your work injuries. Here at Costa Ivone, LLC we understand the financial and emotional disruption that a work injury can bring to your life, which is why our network of experienced attorneys investigate every detail of your claim to see if you qualify for any of the following benefits:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
- Wage Differential Benefits
- Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits
- Survivors’ Benefits
- Open Medical Benefits
If you are injured at work, you have a legal right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits regardless of immigration status or socio-economic backgrounds.
Regardless of the safety regulations in place or how cautious you are when you proceed with your daily work duties, you can still suffer injuries while on the job. There are thousands of work-related injuries that happen each and every year all across the United States, and Illinois workers are among the many of those who suffer injuries while performing their daily job duties. States oversee workers’ compensation, ensuring that their citizens have access to the coverage they need if they are hurt while on the job. Workers’ compensation is designed to provide medical coverage benefits and cover a portion of lost wages while you are unable to work from the on the job injury. Legislation focusing on workers’ comp is very specific. The laws overseeing work-related illnesses and injuries are very strict and are precise in nature. If you have been hurt at work you should consult with an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney so you can make sure your rights are protected, and that you are treated fairly throughout the claims process.
The information displayed here is about legal issues and legal developments. Such material is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. This informational material is not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact our office for advice on specific legal problems, as laws are constantly changing.
The Basics of Workers’ Compensation
When it comes to workers’ compensation in Illinois, special insurance coverage for workers is required. Employers are required by law to purchase the insurance while the insurance company must fund the workers’ compensation benefits when employees file claims. When a dispute is involved, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission protects the rights of workers while enforcing workers’ comp laws. If you are hurt in the capacity of your job or you suffer a medical condition because of exposure to toxic fumes or chemicals, you need to follow the proper protocol to protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation to which you are entitled after suffering such damages or losses.
Workers’ comp benefits in the State of Illinois cover the costs of medical care that is necessary or required to either reduce the injury impact or to lead to a full recovery. Workers’ comp also covers either partial disability benefits or temporary total disability benefits in addition to vocational rehabilitation services, or death benefits. Benefits received from workers’ compensation are non-taxable. However, the laws overseeing workers’ compensation are clear, and you as well as your employer must follow specific guidelines in order to ensure the claim is handled properly and in a timely manner.
Disability Benefits in Illinois
When disability benefits come into play, temporary disability benefits in Illinois are paid at 66 2/3% of your regular average weekly wage, but no more than the maximum amount established by the state. The state’s maximum benefit established as of January 2017 is $1,435.17 weekly. This cap is updated every 6 months, so the latest figures are available on the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission website. After three days of work have been missed, temporary disability benefits kick in. If you miss more than 14 days of work, you will also be paid for the first three days of missed work as well.
If you are unable to work, permanent disability is based on calculating 66 2/3% of the difference in wages received before and after the injury or by looking at what is called the “schedule of injuries” which indicates how many weeks of payments you are eligible to receive for those specific injuries. If you have suffered permanent disfigurement, you are eligible for up to 162 weeks of workers’ comp benefits paid at a weekly rate of 60% your average wages. These workers’ compensation laws are very clear when it comes to setting the amount you could receive as reimbursement for lost wages. A local workers’ comp lawyer can help you determine how much you stand to receive.
Finding the Right Advocate
Like other insurance companies, workers’ compensation might not be willing to approve your claim or pay you the full amount of damages that you deserve for your work-related injuries. To ensure your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly, consult with experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. Costa & Ivone, LLC is a young, but dynamic Illinois law firm skilled in handling workers’ compensation for hard-working residents just like you. With a proven track record of successfully helping clients obtain the benefits to which they are entitled, a workmans’ comp lawyer in Chicago can help you proceed with your claim.
Notifying the Correct Parties After an Accident
If you are working your regular shift at work and you suffer an injury, whether it be an company auto accident or a construction accident, you should contact your supervisor as quickly as possible so an accident report can be filled out. When you notify your supervisor or employer, you need to make sure they know where the accident happened, what you were doing when it happened, how it happened, and the date and time of the accident. While you can either notify your supervisor in writing or verbally, it recommended by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to file the notice in a written format so you can have a paper trail proving notification was made. Just letting fellow employees know what happened is not sufficient. Instead, make sure you notify management or a supervisor.
In order to be eligible to claim benefits and to keep your workers’ comp rights in place, you are required to make notification of the accident to your supervisor within 45 days of the date of the injury. The longer that you wait to make proper notification, the longer your benefits for your injury will be delayed. If you wait longer than 45 days to notify your employer, you could lose all of your workers’ comp benefits or the right to pursue a claim for the injury in question. However, the law offers a few exceptions for this particular rule.
Exceptions to the 45-day reporting period include cumulative trauma injuries such as repetitive stress injuries or illnesses that develop slowly. In those cases, you must report the condition to your employer as quickly as possible after you are aware that there is an injury or condition, that you are aware it is related to your work, and that you have suffered a disability from the work-related condition. If you have been exposed to radiation and suffered an injury, you have 90 days after you suspect or are aware of your unsafe radiation exposure to file the proper notice with your employer.
Longer Deadlines to File
There are still other injuries or conditions that progress much differently so it is longer before you know that you have suffered an illness or injury. If you wish to file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, you either mail or hand the written Application for Adjustment of Claim. You must include a proof of service that indicates you have provided your employer with a copy of the application. This application needs to be filed within three years following your disablement or injury for most injuries or conditions.
If you have previously received compensation for this condition, you need to file it within two years of the last compensation payment you received if the condition ended and disablement returned. However, once against there are some exceptions.
Exceptions to the three-year rule include injuries resulting from asbestos exposure, such as asbestos or mesothelioma, in which you have 25 years after the last exposure to pursue a workers’ comp claim. You have five years after the last exposure for pneumococcus and 25 years after the last exposure for radiation-related injuries or conditions. Diseases such as berylliosis, which is caused by silica dust inhalation, has three years from the date of the last exposure. In cases where your employer is paying for your medical care and either permanent or temporary disability benefits as expected, you don’t need to file this application with the State Commission.
Your Employer’s Obligations
After you have notified your employer that you have suffered a personal injury on the job, your employer is required by law to provide you with a list of medical providers that are approved for workers’ comp claims. Your employer must notify for workers’ compensation employer to get the claims process started. If your work-related injury has caused you to be unable to work for more than three days, your employer must either approve your claim and start payment of temporary disability benefits or provide you with written explanation of why your claim was either denied or why it was delayed for further investigation. In those cases, they must tell you what additional information is needed from you to proceed with the claims process.
Within 30 days of receiving notification about your condition or injury, your employer has to file an accident report with the State Commission. This is Form IC45, which is also called the Employer’s First Report of Injury. Filing this report with the state doesn’t necessarily result in any action being triggered by the Commission. If your employer fails to respond to your notification of injury, you will have to personally file a claim with the State Commission. A Chicago workplace injury attorney could put pressure on an employer to give proper notification of a claim.
Appealing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Denial
Some of the more common reasons for denying a workers’ comp claim in Illinois are failing to let your employer know about the condition or injury within 45 days of it happening and the failure to prove that the injury you suffered was the result of work or happened in the course of work. If your employer was, however, notified of your injury within the 45-day time limit and then your claim was denied by your employer you can file a petition asking the State Commission to review your claim. At that point, the Commission will conduct a hearing and then make a ruling regarding your claim and whether or not it should have been granted approval.
Get the Help You Need with a Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorney
There are a number of communications to send when you are looking to file a workers’ comp claim. It can be overwhelming, especially if you are focused on your physical recovery. Leave the paperwork to a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer who has experience in these types of cases. Call now to discuss your options.