If you have been injured on the job in Chicago, you need to find a way to cover your expenses while making sure you can get back to work as quickly and safely as possible. For many employees, this means filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. You can use workers’ compensation to cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages; and, since workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system in Illinois, you can file for benefits regardless of the cause of your injury (with only very limited exceptions).
If you believe that you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you can use this checklist to help ensure that you receive the full benefits you deserve:
1. Write Down the Date and Details of the Accident
Remembering the date of your accident is critical to determining both: (i) how long you have to report the accident to your employer, and (ii) how long you have to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Write down the date of the accident, write down as many details you can remember, and be sure to keep any photos you took of the accident scene or your injuries.
2. Report the Accident to Your Employer
While you have up to 45 days from the date of the accident to inform your employer of your injury, you should not wait any longer than necessary to file a report.
3. Find Out if Your Employer has a Preferred Provider Program (PPP)
If your employer has a Preferred Provider Program (PPP), then you may need to see a doctor who participates in the PPP (however, there are limited options for opting out of an employer’s PPP). If you don’t, you could end up being personally liable for your injury-related medical expenses.
4. Seek Prompt Medical Attention
Seeing a doctor promptly is important to protect your health and your legal rights; and, if you are entitled to workers’ compensation, your benefits will cover any emergency medical treatment you receive before you file your claim. Again, make sure you see a doctor in your employer’s PPP, or take the appropriate steps to opt out of the PPP, if necessary.
5. Learn More about Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities
In addition to reporting your injury to your employer within 45 days, you must formally file for benefits within three years of the date of the accident. In order to collect workers’ compensation benefits, you must adhere to certain other responsibilities as well. For more information, we encourage you to read:
- 10 Facts About Filing for Workers’ Compensation in Illinois
- Should I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim or a Personal Injury Claim?
- What Injured Workers Need to Know About Illinois’ “No-Fault” Workers’ Compensation System
6. Speak with a Local Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Securing workers’ compensation benefits isn’t easy, and there are numerous missteps that can limit your financial recovery. In order to ensure that you maximize your compensation, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. At Jackowiak Law Offices, our workers’ compensation attorneys bring decades of experience to representing injured workers in Chicago, and we do not charge any fees or costs unless we win your case. To learn more in a free and confidential consultation, please call (312) 795-9595 or tell us about your accident online now.