If you live or work in Chicago and have been injured on the job, one of your first steps should be to find out if you are eligible for workers’ compensation. In Illinois, workers’ compensation provides no-fault benefits to workers who are unable to work due to job-related injuries, and employers have an obligation to review and process their employees’ benefit claims in good faith.
What You Need to Know if You Have Been Injured on the Job
Unfortunately, even if you are clearly entitled to workers’ compensation, securing medical and disability benefits can still be a challenge. You need to make sure you understand your rights, and it will be equally important to familiarize yourself with the mistakes that could jeopardize your claim for benefits. Here are 10 facts to keep in mind when filing for workers’ compensation in Illinois:
- In Illinois, most workers are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In order to be eligible, you must be legally classified as an “employee,” which usually means that you receive a regular paycheck and a W-2.
- Even if your employer pays you as an independent contractor, you could still be entitled to benefits. If your employer has misclassified your employment, this should not affect your claim for benefits.
- As a “no-fault” system, workers’ compensation pays for job-related injuries regardless of who was to blame or what factors were involved in the accident. There are only limited exceptions, such as if you were intoxicated or engaging in horseplay when you were injured.
- In addition to paying for accident-related injuries, workers’ compensation provides benefits for overuse injuries as well. This includes overexertion (such as lifting a heavy object) and repetitive stress (such as typing on a keyboard).
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim (technically called an, “Application for Adjustment of Claim”) does not involve filing a lawsuit against your employer. All claims are processed through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and most employers have insurance that specifically covers workers’ compensation claims.
- If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, this is not the end of the road. Insurance companies routinely deny injured workers’ claims without justification, and you have the right to file an appeal.
- While you have up to 45 days to report your injury to your employer, you do not want to wait any longer than necessary. You also do not want to leave out key facts or misrepresent what happened, as both of these mistakes could lead to denial of benefits.
- Workers’ compensation benefits typically fall into three categories: (i) medical, (ii) disability, and (iii) vocational rehabilitation. When filing for benefits, it is critical to make sure you know the full amount you are entitled to recover.
- If your employer is required to have workers’ compensation coverage, you are entitled to benefits from your first day on the job. You cannot be denied benefits based upon your tenure or the fact that you were “in training” at the time of your injury.
- You should not pay anything out of pocket when you hire an attorney to handle your workers’ compensation claim. Your attorney should handle your case on a contingency-fee basis, which means he or she only gets paid if you win.
Speak With a Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free
If you have been injured on the job in Chicago, we encourage you to contact us for a free and confidential consultation. We can determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation, and we can fight for the benefits you deserve. You can reach us 24/7, so call (312) 795-9595 or request an appointment online now.