Workers’ compensation is an important system that helps guard American employees against the effects of a job-related injury or illness. When workers are hurt on the job, it protects them and their families until they are able to return to work. If they are permanently disabled, it replaces their lost wages until retirement age. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is a set of laws that establishes the rights and responsibilities of injured workers and their employers in Illinois.
History of the Act
American workers’ compensation in its present form dates to the early 20th century. After a series of catastrophic industrial accidents such as the Triangle Factory fire in New York, state legislatures began to realize the need for centralized risk management and benefits for injured employees or bereaved relatives. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act was one of the very first state workers’ compensation acts in America. It was passed in 1911 and became effective in 1912. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the state system currently deals with more than 40,000 settlements every year.
Employers’ responsibilities under the Act
According to the Act, employers in Illinois must follow a strict set of guidelines when a worker is injured or killed. Required steps include all of the following:
- Provision of emergency medical care (if necessary) at the expense of the employer
- A thorough accident report to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission
- Full notification of the insurance provider
Employers must take action on these three steps as quickly as possible. Fatal accidents must always be reported to the IWCC after no more than two work days, as an Algonquin worker comp attorney is aware.
Types of benefits according to the Act
Workers are entitled to a range of benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The lowest rung on the ladder is temporary partial disability, which may be awarded to workers who spend time on light or modified duty after an injury. Temporary total disability is paid when an employee must miss work completely for at least three days. Permanent partial disability is paid if a worker loses use of a limb or another important body part. Completely disabled workers may be eligible for permanent total disability payments until they transfer to Social Security coverage. Death benefits are also paid to survivors of people killed by workplace accidents and illnesses.
Understanding the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act can be complex. Injured employees often find it useful to consult with an Algonquin worker comp attorney to discover more about their rights.