When an injured employee in Illinois sustains a workplace-related injury, the extent of workers’ compensation benefits available to him or to his beneficiaries is an important consideration. A range of factors will determine how much workers’ compensation will ultimately be distributed, from the amount of time missed to the magnitude of medical costs.
The first question is whether or not workers’ compensation will be received at all. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases Act, injured employees are entitled to benefits on the basis of a workplace injury. Not only must a causal relationship between the workplace and the injury be established, but it also must be shown that the injury occurred while the employee was actively engaged in the duties of employment.
Failure to prove that performing the duties of employment caused the injury in question represents a reason why a claim for workers’ compensation may fail to yield benefits. Other reasons include failing to punctually notify the employer or file an Application for Adjustment Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Range of scenarios
Assuming that all administrative responsibilities are punctually performed and the causal relationship between the workplace and the injury is established, the question advances from “if” to “how much.” In response to this question, the Act provides language for the range of possible injury scenarios:
- Reasonably required medical care
- Temporary total disability (TTD)
- Temporary partial disability (TPD)
- Permanent total disability (PTD)
- Permanent partial disability (PPD)
Specifically, injured employees are entitled to medical care that is reasonably required to cure or relieve the effects of the injury. TTD benefits are awarded to the injured employee while he is off work, recovering from the injury. TPD benefits are awarded during recovery while working on light duty. PTD benefits are awarded when the employee is permanently no longer able to work. Finally, PPD benefits are awarded when a permanent disability or disfigurement is sustained, yet the employee is still able to work.
Recourse if employer is uninsured
An additional factor that may influence how much compensation is received in response to a claim is whether the employer is insured for workers’ compensation. If not, the only recourse for injured workers is the Illinois Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund, which takes in monies through fines imposed on uninsured employers and distributes them to injured employees of uninsured employers. However, because this fund is not unlimited, awards may not match what might have been available if the employer would have been insured.