According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 3 million American workers were hurt on the job in 2013. All injured employees have a legal right to workers’ compensation. This compensation covers lost wages for the full period of disability, as well as the cost of medical treatment and any vocational retraining that might be required. Because workers’ compensation law varies from state to state, it is important to know how this coverage applies to out-of-state workers who file a claim in Illinois and to injured employees who pursue medical treatment in another state.
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When may an out-of-state worker file a claim in Illinois?
Illinois law is applicable to injured workers in the following situations:
- People who are injured in the course of employment within Illinois
- People whose primary place of work is in Illinois
- People who were hired according to a contract made in Illinois
If one or more of these descriptions can be applied to the injured worker, then Illinois workers’ compensation law is in effect and the employee may file a claim in Illinois.
How are medical claims paid outside the state?
Some workers who claim benefits in Illinois may choose to pursue medical treatment outside the state. Illinois law has recently changed to accommodate the increasing number of such cases. For claims filed through June 2011, out-of-state medical treatment is paid either at 76 percent of the full amount charged or according to the standard fee schedule in the worker’s current state of residence. If these two figures are different, the injured worker receives the higher of the two amounts. For claims filed from July 2011 onward, out-of-state treatment is paid according to the Illinois fee schedule or the fee schedule in the state of residence, whichever is lesser.
Claims filed outside Illinois
When an Illinois worker files a claim in another state, compensation for medical treatment is paid according to the law of that state, even if the worker chooses to undergo all or part of the treatment in Illinois. It is crucial for employers, insurance providers and medical professionals to know where a claim was filed. Interested parties can contact the Public Information Unit of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to find out whether or not a claim has been filed in the state.
As the American labor force becomes more geographically mobile, it is increasingly likely for a workplace accident to happen outside an employee’s state of residence or official place of employment. To find out more about the complicated laws that govern workers’ compensation across state lines, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney.