Work Injuries

Workers' Compensation Claims

After getting hurt at work, the first thing you should do is get medical care. The next step is to formally tell your employer about the accident and injury to start your workers’ compensation claim. Through a workers’ comp claim, you can receive compensation while you’re out of work and healing. If you’re unable to go back to work in the future, you also can receive a portion of your wages.

Are you unsure of how to handle a workers’ compensation claim? Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is here to help. Contact us through our online form or call (312) 236-2900. We’ll start with a free, no-risk consultation.

Who Can Make a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

You can make a workers’ compensation claim if you are an employee of a business that provides workers’ compensation insurance. Most employees in Illinois are covered by workers’ comp insurance. If you discover you aren’t covered by workers’ comp when you think you should be under the law, talk with a lawyer right away.

If you are an independent contractor and not an employee, then you’re likely not covered by workers’ comp insurance. If you believe the business employing you is responsible for your injuries, talk with a lawyer. You might have the right to file a lawsuit against the business or other at-fault party.

When Can You Make a Workers’ Comp Claim?

You can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits when you suffer an injury or condition that arises out of and in the course of your employment. Generally, the law covers injuries that are caused entirely or in part by your job. If you aren’t sure whether workers’ comp covers your injury or medical condition, consider contacting an attorney for an independent review of your situation.

How to Start a Workers’ Comp Claim

If you get hurt at work, you should tell your employer right away. Also, if your doctor diagnoses you with a medical condition connected to your job, then tell your employer as soon as you can. Illinois law gives you a 45-day limit to inform your employer about an injury or diagnosis. But you should tell them as soon as possible, otherwise, your benefits might get delayed. You can give notice in writing or orally. Make sure to convey what happened and the time and date the accident occurred.

What Happens After You Tell Your Employer About an Injury

Once you notify your employer of an injury or medical diagnosis, it must:

  • Provide you with any necessary first aid or medical care;
  • Inform the insurance provider or workers’ compensation administrator of your claim; and
  • If you’re out of work for more than three days, begin paying benefits or give you a reason why your claim is denied.

Your employer also must submit Form 45, “Employer’s First Report of Injury,” to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC).

If your employer approves your claim, it will pay for all your reasonable and necessary medical expenses and calculate your workers’ compensation benefits. You should receive benefits at the same interval you received your wages, such as weekly or biweekly checks or deposits.

What to Do if Your Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied

If your employer is not paying your benefits, contact your employer directly. You might be able to clear up a misunderstanding. But if days or weeks pass and your employer is still not paying your benefits, then talk with a lawyer. Your next step is to file a claim with the IWCC and request a hearing.

It’s helpful to have an attorney guide you through a claim with the IWCC. There are specific steps you have to follow, like filing three copies of the Application for Adjustment of Claim and a Proof of Service, showing you serviced a copy of the claim to your employer. An attorney will make sure all of the forms are filled out and filed correctly.

Take Your Claim to Trial

The IWCC will give your claim a case number and assign an arbitrator. Every three months, your case is assigned to a status call. During this call, either party involved can request a trial. If no one wants to take the case to trial, then it’s continued for another three months.

A trial is not the same as a trial in court. The arbitrator conducts the trial, where both sides get to present evidence. Your lawyer will present evidence that you suffered an injury or medical condition, and it’s covered by your workers’ compensation insurance. The arbitrator will give you a decision within 60 days of the hearing, which will state which benefits you’re entitled to if any.

For some issues, the arbitrator can’t decide until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). If your issue is that you’ve been wrongly denied benefits, an arbitrator can decide if you are entitled to benefits. But if you are asking for benefits due to a permanent disability, you have to wait until your doctor says you’ve reached MMI.

Typically, you have three years from the date of your injury or two years from the date of your last payment of Temporary Total Disability or medical bill to file a claim with the IWCC, whichever date comes later.

Appealing an Arbitrator’s Decision

You and your employer each have the right to appeal an arbitrator’s decision. It isn’t final. When you appeal, a panel of three commissioners reviews your claim and the decision based on the transcript from the trial and the evidence. You and your employer may each submit written arguments to the panel, which will then hold a hearing where each party can present brief oral arguments. The panel will issue a decision within 60 days.

Appealing the Panel’s Decision

If you still disagree with the decision, you can take your claim to civil court. If you haven’t been represented by an attorney up to this point, now is the time to call a lawyer. Let an experienced workers’ comp prepare you to litigate your case in the circuit court and higher.

Can You Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?

No, you can’t be fired, harassed, or in any way discriminated against or retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe your employer is retaliating, contact an attorney immediately.

Got Questions About a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Don’t hesitate to ask an Illinois workers’ comp lawyer about how to move forward with your claim. Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is here to make sure you get the benefits the law entitles you to. If you aren’t sure of where to start, we will get your claim off the ground. If you haven’t gotten the benefits you’re entitled to, we’ll review your circumstances and take your claim to the IWCC. We’re here to help. Call us at (312) 236-2900 or use the online form to request your free initial consultation.

https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/iwcc/Documents/handbook.pdf

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