Workers’ compensation works by providing benefits to employees who suffer from a work-related injury or illness. In Illinois, many employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees and provide benefits if they are unable to work, regardless of who is at fault for the illness or injury. Illinois laws have been updated with a rebuttable presumption that essential workers who contract COVID-19 are presumed to have contracted it at work and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation is insurance that is funded by the insurance companies involved. Employers pay premiums to their insurance providers and are not allowed to charge employees for premiums or benefits. If there is a dispute over entitlements to benefits, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) enforces the state’s worker’s compensation laws and protects worker rights.
Benefits Under Workers’ Compensation
In Illinois, workers’ compensation is required to provide certain benefits to workers who are injured on the job. The IWCC reports that depending on the type and severity of the injury, benefits may include:
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
These provide two-thirds of the employee’s average gross weekly wage while the employee is unable to work. They are paid after three days of work are missed, and if more than 14 days of work are missed, the first three days of lost wages are paid as well.
Temporary Partial Permanent Disability Benefits
These are paid if workers cannot do their normal jobs but can work at a light-duty job while recovering. Benefits equal two-thirds of the difference between the average earnings of the pre-injury job and the net earnings on the light-duty job.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
These are paid if there is a loss of use of a part of the body. Benefits are two-thirds of the difference in wages from before and after the injury.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If someone loses their ability to move their limbs, they may be unable to work in any capacity and would be eligible for these benefits.
Job retraining and medical benefits are also available. Workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable. Workers’ compensation generally covers all injuries and illnesses that are caused or made worse by work-related activities, even if these happen outside of the workplace. Illinois employers are required to keep records of work-related injuries and report them to the IWCC if they involve more than 3 lost days of work.
How to Apply for Workers’ Compensation
IWCC reports that Illinois employers are required to post a notice in each workplace that states workers’ compensation rights for employees. If you are injured and entitled to compensation, you should take the following steps:
Get Medical Help
Get your injury diagnosed and treated. Additionally, make sure there is documentation that will help prove your claim.
Report Your Injury
Notify your employer, supervisor, and human resource department of your injury within 45 days. It is best to do this in writing. Include the date and location of the accident, a description of the accident and resulting injury, the body parts impacted, and your contact information.
You may lose your benefits if you wait more than 45 days unless you have a slow-developing illness or a cumulative trauma injury—such as a repetitive stress injury or injury from radiation exposure.
Hold on to Evidence
Keep records and document your injuries, visits to doctors, and medications you are taking. Also, keep a diary of how your injuries are impacting your life.
File a Claim with the IWCC
If your employer does not approve every part of your claim, you may choose to appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Fill out and file an Application for Adjustment of Claim. You must be able to prove that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and that you did everything properly in your application. If there is a dispute between you and your employer, an arbitrator with the IWCC will conduct a trial and issue a decision within 60 days.
You should also stay in contact with your employer to check the progress of your claim and to complete any additional necessary documentation.
You Have the Right to Get Legal Assistance
When workers’ compensation benefits are paid out, employers’ insurance premiums go up, so it is not unusual for employers to deny your claim or fail to compensate you properly for your losses. The legal procedures and issues involved with Illinois workers’ compensation claims can be complicated, so if treatment is being denied or benefits have not been approved, you may want to retain legal assistance.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Kryder Law Group, LLC are available to help you get benefits by ensuring that all forms and procedures are completed and followed properly. If you are having problems getting benefits or your claim was denied, we can:
- Investigate your case and gather evidence
- Interview eyewitnesses
- Negotiate with insurance companies to facilitate your settlement
- Request and represent you at a formal hearing
- Represent you at a hearing, if necessary
We provide a free consultation to clients in order to examine the facts of your individual situation and to determine your options. Our clients are our top priority, so call the Kryder Law Group, LLC (312) 223-1700 today to get started. We can also answer any questions you may have about how workers’ compensation works.