If you were injured while working, you likely have a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides free medical care for work-related injuries and a partial wage if a worker cannot do their job while they recover. It also provides disability payments for permanent injuries and death benefits if a worker suffers a fatal injury.
With a few exceptions, all employers must offer workers’ compensation to their employees. Unfortunately, the workers’ compensation claims process can be confusing and sometimes difficult. Engaging a seasoned personal injury attorney with experience handling workers’ compensation issues could help you obtain the benefits you need.
Injured workers cannot sue their employers for negligence, but they could sue any third party whose negligence contributed to the accident. A Palatine workers’ compensation lawyer from The Kryder Law Group could investigate an accident and determine whether a third party might have full or partial responsibility for it.
Workers’ Compensation Claim Basics
Any injury a worker suffers on the job could form the basis of a workers’ compensation claim. The injury does not need to be related to the worker’s job function. A slip and fall in the company cafeteria or injuries sustained in an accident while driving to a meeting could be the subject of a workers’ compensation claim.
An employee must report the injury to their supervisor and seek medical treatment. The employer provides a choice of at least two physicians that the injured worker could select.
The worker is entitled to free care until their injury reaches the state of maximum medical improvement, which means it will not benefit from further treatment. If the injury prevents an employee from working, they could claim worker’s compensation benefits to pay a portion of their lost wages. A capable Palatine workers’ compensation attorney could help an employee file their initial claim.
Contesting Denials and Pressing Appeals
Sometimes the workers’ compensation insurer denies a claim. Reporting the injury to a supervisor could help a worker prove their injury resulted from an incident at work. Even if an employee did not immediately speak with their supervisor about the injury, a skilled Palatine attorney could help a worker contest the denial of a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, 820 Illinois Compiled Statutes 305/1 allows a worker to file a petition for an expedited hearing on their claim.
If an injury lingers, the workers’ compensation program might offer the worker a disability payment. The amount and duration of the payment depend on the disability rating the doctor assigns. Workers can appeal their disability ratings if they disagree with them.
Another common situation arises when a doctor believes an injured employee is fit to return to work, and the employee disagrees. If the doctor recommends a return to work to either the worker’s current position or another job that accommodates the injury, a worker could appeal that decision. Often, the employer or the insurer will require the worker to undergo an independent medical exam (IME). A well-practiced legal professional from The Kryder Law Group could help an injured worker prepare for their IME.
Bringing a Lawsuit Against a Third Party
Workers’ compensation pays for an injured employee’s medical care and a partial wage. However, the worker may have suffered losses that worker’s compensation does not reimburse. In such situations, a lawsuit could provide additional compensation to an injured worker.
Workers may not sue their employers for their injuries (unless the employer violates the law by not carrying workers’ compensation insurance). However, if a third party’s negligence contributed to the incident that caused the injury, the worker could sue a third party. Depending on the circumstances, third parties that might be liable include:
- Manufacturers of defective products
- Employees of other companies
- Independent contractors
- Property owners
If a third-party lawsuit is viable in a particular case, the injured worker could sue for the portion of their wages the worker’s compensation program does not pay. In addition, the worker could seek financial recovery for their inconvenience, physical pain, emotional suffering, disability, and other effects of the injury.
A Palatine Workers’ Compensation Attorney Could Help You Get the Benefits You Need
The workers’ compensation program provides valuable benefits to people who suffer on-the-job injuries, but the rules and procedures are complicated. A worker might experience significant frustration trying to access their benefits.
A Palatine workers’ compensation lawyer from The Kryder Law Group knows the system and could help make it work for you. Reach out to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney from our firm.