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Common Questions About Illinois Workers’ Compensation

The McHenry workers’ compensation lawyers at Taradash Johnson Janezic focus on helping injured workers get maximum compensation and benefits after an on-the-job accident. The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get regarding Illinois workers’ compensation laws.

How do I file a workers’ compensation claim?

Injured workers are generally required to promptly notify the employer or manager about any work-related injuries or illnesses within 45 days of the accident, injury or illness. Your employer should then help you file a claim with the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

How long do I have to file a claim?

State workers’ compensation laws in Illinois specify that employees should notify their employers of an injury:

  • As soon as practicable, within 45 days of an accident
  • Within 90 days of radiological exposure
  • In the case of an occupational disease, as soon as the injured worker becomes aware of the condition (such as back or neck pain caused by repetitive lifting of heavy loads)

Once an employee has made this report, the employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer should cooperate by advising the employee on how to get medical treatments paid and filing a claim with the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance provider.

What if an employer refuses to file a workers’ comp claim?

Once an employer has been notified in a timely manner about the injury, that employer should initiate a claim with its insurer and/or begin making payments to the injured employee. If the employer or the employer’s insurer does not pay as required, the employee or his or her attorney should ask the employer why benefits are not being paid. If the employer (or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer) still does not pay any benefits, the employee can file a claim at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, which should respond if the employee follows the procedures to request a hearing.

What should I do if my employer’s insurance carrier denies or reduces my claim?

If your employer or its insurance carrier fails to provide workers’ compensation benefits following an on-the-job accident, or if it reduces the amount of the benefits, you may want to file a claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). You, as the injured worker, will be required to prove that you are entitled to the requested workers’ compensation benefits. If there is a dispute between you and your employer about the claim, an arbitrator with the IWCC will conduct a trial and issue a decision within 60 days.

Can I file a lawsuit against my employer?

Workers’ compensation laws prohibit an injured worker from filing a lawsuit against his or her employer in most cases. Workers’ compensation laws do not preclude lawsuits against negligent third parties, however. For instance, if a factory worker is injured while on the job as a result of defective equipment, the injured worker may be able to seek personal injury damages from the equipment manufacturer. Similarly, if an employee is injured in a work-related car accident, he or she may be able to recover compensation from the negligent motorist.

What is the process of a workers’ compensation claim?

In a nutshell:

  • An injured worker should get first aid or emergency medical care if necessary and notify the employer of the time and place of the accident.
  • The employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer should advise the injured person of any limitations or direction as to where to get medical care.
  • If the worker must miss work for more than three days, the employer or the employer’s insurer should begin making temporary total disability (TTD) payments to the injured, absent employee.
  • If the employer or its insurer refuses to pay for necessary treatment or to provide TTD payments, the injured worker may file a claim with the state’s workers’ compensation commission.
  • The parties should then follow established processes for resolving the dispute.

How long does the workers’ compensation claim process take?

In normal circumstances, arrangements and provisions for medical care should begin as soon as the employee reports the injury to the employer. TTD payments should begin after a worker has missed work for three days or longer.

If a dispute develops and legal action becomes necessary beyond making a report to the employer, the resolution time may vary. Once a disputed case is resolved in an employee’s favor, a lump-sum payment of back benefits should come to the injured employee promptly. If the disability continues, the workers’ compensation insurer may offer the employee a settlement in place of ongoing monthly payments. Timelines vary. For efficiency and best results, work with an experienced, results-oriented local attorney with a strong track record.

What workers’ compensation benefits are available?

Illinois workers’ compensation laws provide for the following benefits, depending on the extent and nature of the employee’s injury or illness:

  • Medical and rehabilitative expenses
  • Temporary total disability benefits equal to two-thirds of the employee’s average gross weekly wage if the employee is unable to work while recovering
  • Temporary partial permanent disability benefits equal to two-thirds of the difference between the average amount the worker would be able to earn in his or her pre-injury job and the net amount he or she earns in a light-duty job while recovering
  • Permanent total disability benefits if there is a loss of use of a part of the body
  • Vocational rehabilitation

How much does it cost to pursue a workers’ compensation claim?

Filing a workers’ compensation claim comes at no cost to you. At Taradash Johnson Janezic, we provide legal services to injured workers under a contingency fee basis and only collect fees once you have obtained compensation or benefits.

If you suffered a work-related injury or illness, contact our office at 815-669-4635 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers.