Overview of the Workers’ Compensation Process In Illinois
If you have been victim to an injury while at work, you will need to report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. In most cases, you have 45 days to file a report, though it is generally recommended to report the accident immediately. Under recent changes to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act in 2011, your employer may require that you be examined by medical provider chosen by your employer. But, before making any decisions, speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Malman Law today.
Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if and when the following three conditions are met:
- The employee is injured while at work,
- The employer is bound to workers’ compensation policies (very common among Illinois employers), and
- No exceptions are applicable (for example, drinking on the job, or intentionally injuring oneself).
If the claims process is delayed by the employee or if mistakes are present within your claim then these benefits can be lost. Typically, if the aforementioned three requirements have been met, then a worker should be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
These workers’ compensation benefits cover a variety of work-related injuries. The employee seeking to claim compensation is required to have been working when the incident occurred, though the accident does not have to be directly related to the workers’ everyday duties. Under state law, employees can become eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from the date when employment began. Common among workers’ compensation claims include injuries related to:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Railroad accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Warehouse and factory accidents
- Incidents with machinery, equipment, and tools
- Slips and falls
If Death Occurred, Spouse and Children May be Eligible for Survivors’ Benefits
Equally important as the workers’ compensation benefits available to the employee and his or her family when injury occurs are the benefits available to the surviving family members and dependents when death occurs. Tragically, this does happen among American workers; luckily, the workers’ compensation system accounts for this benefit to family members, just as with many other benefits.
Within workers’ compensation, the term “survivors’ benefits,” also called “death benefits,” refers to the employer’s obligation to pay recoupment payments to the family of a worker who died on the job. The purpose of these funds is to assist the family and dependents of the worker, whose income and other support has been suddenly removed.
While navigating the workers’ compensation system can be difficult, we have compiled a list of questions that our workers’ compensation attorneys most often hear regarding survivors’ benefits. This list is by no means all-inclusive, and should only be considered alongside actual legal advice regarding your personal situation. The most common questions include:
- To whom can benefits be paid?
- Can a spouse ever lose these benefits?
- How is the compensation amount determined?
To Whom Can Benefits be Paid?
In the event that the work-related injury or disease results in the death of the employee, his or her spouse and dependent minor children are entitled to full benefits. Benefits are paid to children under the age of 18 – or until age 25 if a full-time student, or if physically or mentally handicapped for the duration of the incapacity.
If the deceased has no eligible spouse or child, the benefits are paid to his or her parents. If the deceased has no eligible spouse, children, or parents, other survivors may receive the benefits, including partially dependent children, grandparents, grandchildren, or other heirs who were at least 50 percent dependent on the employee.
Can a Spouse Ever Lose These Benefits?
If the spouse remarries and there are no children involved at the time of the remarriage who could claim benefits, the spouse may claim a final lump sum payment equal to two years compensation, equivalent to two-thirds of the employee’s gross weekly average pay.
How is the Compensation Amount Determined?
The average is based on the employee’s wages during the year before the injury or exposure, and is subject to certain limits. The survivors’ benefit is limited to $500,000 or weekly benefits for 25 years – whichever is a larger amount. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission periodically updates workers’ compensation benefit levels, which can be found here.
Contact Malman Law Today
Seeking survivors’ benefits can be an emotionally, mentally, and financially difficult time for all involved. The compassionate attorneys of Malman Law have handled many cases involving workers’ compensation claims, and can help you and your family seek rightful compensation for the loss of a loved one. Do not delay in contacting us – you can call our offices or contact us online conveniently. We offer free, no-obligation initial consultations and are available 24/7 to provide complete transparency in the legal process for victims who’ve lost loved ones. We want to help you, just like we have helped so many other families. Reach out to us immediately to learn more about survivors’ benefits.