Workers Compensation Attorney in Chicago, IL
At Malman Law, our experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys understand that filing claims can be a tricky and confusing process. For a variety of reasons, many injured employees don’t think to file for damages sustained at work. Or if they do file, they are often forced to compromise for a much lower amount than what they are entitled to. Understanding your rights is crucial, and our experienced work accident attorneys can help you do that.
Employers and insurance companies both hope you don’t know enough to file a proper claim. After all, they have no incentive whatsoever to pay you for the time you need off of work, for your medical bills, and other costs incurred from an on-the-job injury. That is not to imply that claims adjusters are mean, terrible people – but we do want to illustrate to you that your financial hardships are not a great concern for them.
You need an advocate that is acting in your best interest. Our Chicago work injury lawyers have been successfully dealing with less-than-faithful insurance companies, unhelpful employers, and others since 1994. We are passionate about the rights of injured workers, and we have made it our life’s work to secure compensation for individuals going up against large corporations. We have expert knowledge of the law. We have represented thousands of cases since we began our firm, and we have a great deal of positive verdicts under our belts. Our adept Illinois workers comp lawyers make sure that you receive the money you need to move past your injury and begin working again.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does Workers’ Compensation cover?
Workers’ Compensation covers work-related injuries or occupational illnesses. “Work-related” means that the injury arose in whole or in part from your job. Your malady doesn’t have to have been caused by your occupation in order for you to qualify for coverage – in fact, you may qualify even if your work simply aggravates a pre-existing injury that was not work-related.
Most employees working in the state of Illinois qualify for Workers’ Compensation, and if you are covered, your coverage begins on your first day of work. Since Workers’ Compensation benefits are typically paid regardless of fault, it is relatively unlikely that you will become embroiled in a dispute over “whose fault it was.”
Although Workers’ Compensation is a national program, certain rules do vary from state to state. In Illinois, Workers’ Compensation is governed by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
What benefits can I receive from Workers’ Compensation?
If you qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits, you can receive:
- Remedial medical treatment
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) payments designed to provide you with living wages while you are off the job due to your injury
- Temporary Partial Disability to supplement your income if you are reduced to part-time status due to your injury
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) and Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits to compensate you for long-term disability
- Vocational rehab benefits if your injury forces you to undergo vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits for qualified survivors if you do not survive your accident or illness
What should I do if I suffer an injury or illness that I believe is covered by Workers’ Compensation?
If you sustain an injury or illness that you believe qualifies for Workers’ Compensation benefits, you should:
- Inform your employer in writing of the time, date, and nature of your injury within 45 days of its occurrence (an oral notice is legally sufficient but not ideal). Don’t provide any unnecessary information or sign any documents presented to you by your employer.
- If your employer chooses to deny your claim rather than commencing the payment of benefits, demand a written explanation for the refusal if your employer does not voluntarily provide you with one.
- If your employer denies or ignores your claim, retain a Workers’ Compensation attorney and have him help you file an Application for Adjustment of Claim and a Proof of Service with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. There is no filing fee required for these documents. The Commission will assign an arbitrator to your claim.
- Contact the Commission to request a trial if your employer persists in his or her denial of your claim or if your benefits are not forthcoming for any reason.
- Attend the trial and prove your claim before the arbitrator. You may be represented by an attorney. The burden of proof is on you to prove that your claim is valid. If you win the case, the arbitrator will issue a binding order to your employer to pay your benefits.
Remember that it is illegal for your employer to fire you, penalize you, or harass you for exercising your Workers’ Compensation rights.
Does a statute of limitations apply to Workers’ Compensation Claims?
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation statute of limitations is different from the general Illinois personal injury statute of limitations. You must file for Workers’ Compensation benefits within three years of the accident or onset of the illness that gave rise to the claim (versus only two years under ordinary Illinois personal injury law), within three years of the date of death if you are applying for survivor’s benefits or, if you are disputing the early termination of benefits, within two years of the date that you last received benefits. If your claim involves a repetitive injury, the calculation of the deadline will become complex and may require the assistance of a Workers’ Compensation attorney.
Should I settle my claim?
It depends on the circumstances. Since settling your claim almost always means that you will be entitled to no further benefits arising from the same accident or injury, it is best to consult with your attorney before signing any settlement agreement. If you have not filed a claim yet, be careful not to allow your employer to trick you into missing the statute of limitations deadline for filing a claim by promising a settlement and then subjecting you to endless unexpected delays.