In the state of Illinois under the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act, most injured workers qualify for worker's compensation benefits when a work related accident, injury or illness occurs. Unfortunately, however, many employers and their insurance companies are unwilling to adequately compensate employees for their injuries and workers are often forced to take legal action- sometimes requiring the assistance of a worker's compensation lawyer.
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To make matters even more difficult for workers who are injured or become ill on the job, the internet is full of numerous myths and misinformation that can cause injured workers to accept reduced benefits or forfeit their worker's comp benefits altogether. Injured workers in Crystal Lake and the surrounding communities should familiarize themselves with the facts surrounding worker's comp in Illinois, and avoid making costly mistakes that could be detrimental to their case.
Myths that Can be Devastating to Your Illinois Worker's Compensation Case
Injured employees who are not familiar with worker's compensation laws in Illinois may be inclined to believe various myths and misinformation about filing a worker's comp claim, but doing so could actually damage their case. While it is vital for inured workers in Crystal Lake and the surrounding areas to contact a worker's compensation lawyer with specific questions about their case, reviewing the truths behind common worker's comp myths can give employees a better understanding of what to expect.
- Myth #1- Injured Workers Must Prove Who was at Fault: This is likely one of the most widely believed myths about worker's compensation in Illinois, and although commonly believed, it is simply not true. The state of Illinois is a "no-fault system". Regardless of who was responsible for the accident, if a worker was injured on the job or became infected with a disease during the performance of his or her job duties, he or she will qualify for worker's compensation benefits in most cases.
- Myth #2- Workers Can be Fired for Filing a Worker's Comp Claim: Under the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against, coerce, restrain, or otherwise interfere with an employee that has filed a worker's compensation claim.
- Myth #3- Employees Should Wait to Determine the Severity of their Injuries Before Reporting them to the Employer: In the State of Illinois, injured workers have 45 days to report an injury to their employer. Failure to report an injury within the required time frame could result in the claim being denied. Additionally, failing to report an injury right away opens the door for employers and insurance companies to place doubt that the injury occurred at work.
- Myth #4- An injured Employee is Required to Give the Employer and the Insurance Company Information: It is not recommended, and certainly not required, that an injured employee give statements pertaining to the worker's compensation case to the employer or insurance company. Doing so could not only damage the chances of the employee obtaining worker's comp benefits, but could interfere with the worker's chances of winning a Third Party Claim as well. Workers should refer any questions to their worker compensation lawyer in Crystal Lake.
- Myth #5- Any Attorney Will Do: Just as consumers wouldn't hire a washing machine repairman to work on their car, injured workers should not hire just any attorney to handle their worker's compensation claim. Employees should look for an attorney who is familiar with the worker's compensation laws in the state of Illinois, knowledgeable about the potential benefits that may be available to the worker, and experienced with handling work-related injury cases.
- Myth #6- Workers Who File Worker's Compensation Claims are not Eligible for Other Benefits: In some cases, injured workers are entitled to other benefits in addition to worker's comp. If a faulty piece of equipment (ladder, tool, etc.) causes the injury, or the injury is due to someone's negligence, the worker may be entitled to "damages", which include entirely different benefits than the worker's comp claim. Additionally, workers who are severely injured may qualify for Social Security Disability, which is completely separate from worker's compensation. An experienced worker compensation lawyer in Crystal Lake can help injured workers determine what additional benefits they may be entitled to.
- Myth #7- Worker's Compensation Does Not Apply if the Employee Dies as a Result of the Work Related Injury or Illness: When an injured worker loses his or her life, the family not only has to deal with the trauma of losing their loved one, they also often face expensive medical bills, funeral costs and lost wages from the deceased. Fortunately, the worker's spouse, minor children, and certain other family members may be entitled to survivor's benefits that can help relieve some of the financial burden and stress incurred.