When you get injured at work, you only have a limited amount of time to file a claim for financial compensation. While the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides important protections for employees who suffer job-related injuries, it also establishes strict rules that employees need to follow, and failure to follow these rules (including the time limit to file a claim) can cost injured workers their claims for benefits.
Two Deadlines for Workers’ Compensation Claims in Illinois
In Illinois, there are two deadlines that injured workers need to meet in order to maintain their workers’ compensation benefits eligibility. These are: (i) the deadline to report the injury, and (ii) the deadline to file a claim for benefits.
1. Deadline to Report Your Injury
When you get injured at work, you must report your injury to your employer within 45 days of the accident. You should report your injury in writing, and your employer may have a form for you to complete under company policy. Your supervisor or human resources (HR) liaison should be able to help you, and if you face any resistance with regard to reporting your injury you should speak with an attorney promptly.
If you are suffering from an occupational illness rather than a job-related injury, this 45-day deadline does not apply. In the case of a job-related illness, you must notify your employer “as soon as practicable after [you] become aware of the condition.”
2. Deadline to File a Claim for Benefits
Reporting your injury or illness to your employer is not the same thing as filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Once you report your injury or illness, you must separately file a claim for benefits through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Under Illinois law, you have three years from the date of the accident to file your claim for benefits.
Deadline to Seek Compensation Outside of Workers’ Comp
As we have previously discussed, due to the limits on workers’ compensation benefits (in most cases, workers’ comp covers injured workers’ medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages), in addition to determining whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you should also find out if you have a personal injury claim. If you have a personal injury claim, you can seek full coverage for your loss of income as well as additional compensation for your emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other financial and non-financial losses.
In Illinois, the deadline (or “statute of limitations”) for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. However, in order to preserve key evidence and make sure you can recover maximum compensation as quickly as possible, you should speak with an attorney about your case right away.
Schedule a Free Work Injury Consultation at Jackowiak Law Offices
If you have been injured at work in Chicago and would like to speak with an attorney about maximizing your financial recovery, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in confidence, please call (312) 795-9595 or request an appointment online today.