Illinois state law, in the form of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases Act, requires most employers to carry insurance for potential workers’ compensation claims from injured employees. Consequently, this system enables injured workers’ to file claims to receive compensation for lost wages and medical costs due to a workplace accident.
Pursuant to collecting deserved benefits to cover damages from a work-related injury, there is a specific process for injured employees to execute. However, before anything else, injured employees should prioritize seeking the medical treatment they need. Whether through an employer-sponsored doctor or not, the timing of the claim process should not compromise the health of the injured employee.
Notifying and filing
The first step in the filing process for the injured employee is to notify the employer of the injury at work. If this step is not taken care of, a filed claim will likely be deemed invalid. In most cases, employer notification must take place within 45 days of the injury.
The second step in the process is to file a claim, called an Application for Adjustment Claim, with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, which oversees workers’ compensation cases in the state. While the recipient party of this claim is the IWCC, the claimant must deliver it to the employer.
The deadline for filing an Application for Adjustment Claim with the IWCC ranges based on the type of injury the employee sustained. For injuries that lend themselves to more immediate diagnoses, such as fractures or sprains, claims must be filed within three years of the injury. Other injuries may fail to manifest effects for years, such as respiratory disorders. The law makes specific provisions for filing claims in the case of exposure to radiation or asbestos, for example.
In addition to the filing process for injured employees, employers are responsible for making the employee aware of approved medical providers, filing an accident report with the IWCC and coordinating with its insurer to initiate the workers’ compensation claim process. Employers are accountable to ensure that these tasks are undertaken in a timely manner.
After both the injured employee and the employer have undertaken their respective responsibilities, it is possible for the employer to deny the injured employee’s claim. At this point, the claimant may appeal the denial to the IWCC, which will seek to resolve the dispute. An arbitrator will initially try the case, but it may then be appealed to higher courts. Injured employees may wish to seek representation from a workers’ compensation attorney for the important interaction with the employer’s insurer.