Can I Lose My Job If I Sue for Workers’ Comp in Illinois?

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Can I Lose My Job If I Sue for Workers’ Comp in Illinois?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

You may be fired when you’re receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, you cannot lose your job because you submitted a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois. If you’re fired for this reason, you may have to sue your employer for unfair firing or discrimination.

That is why you should have your bases covered legally and retain the services of a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer if you have been fired or have questions about your benefits. Not only will you get your questions answered, but you can proceed more successfully with the claim process.

So, what is workmans’ compensation, and how does it work?

Workers’ compensation insurance covers the costs whenever an employee is injured in the workplace or develops an occupational disease. In Illinois, most employers must carry the insurance.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Workers’ compensation insurance covers hospital bills, medical care, and lost wages.

Basically, workers’ comp represents a no-fault system that allows workers to receive compensation from their employer without having to prove negligence. Therefore, an employer reduces their liability when they sign up for the insurance.

An At-Will Employment State

Illinois is an at-will employment state. This means you don’t have to give notice to end a job unless you’ve signed an agreement. It also means that your employer can fire you for any reason as long it is not discriminatory or retaliatory in nature.

The state’s Workers’ Rights Acts safeguard a worker from getting fired as the result of being part of a protected class – due to age, gender, or national origin.

If you make mistakes on the job, don’t follow company policies, or can’t work in the same capacity as you did before you got sick or were injured, your employer may have probable cause to let you go.

Employers Are Not Obligated to Hold Your Job When You’re Receiving Workers’ Comp

In Illinois, an employer is not required to hold your job while you’re recovering from a work-related illness or injury as a workers’ comp recipient. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act does require employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers so they can perform their job duties with relative ease.

Therefore, your employer may have to find another assignment for you until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and you can resume your regular duties.

What Not to Do While on Workers’ Comp 

It takes time to obtain compensation from a workers’ compensation program, depending on the severity of your injuries. Making smart decisions during the claim process can enhance the chances of a positive outcome.

An injured victim must learn what to do while on workers’ compensation benefits and avoid common mistakes. Here are a few things you should avoid while processing a workers’ compensation claim:

Assume You Know the Extent of Your Injury

Injured victims who obtain immediate medical attention stand a better chance of getting a settlement for their injuries. Many people assume some injuries based on the level of the pain or their initial assessment.

You may develop the need for compensation if a minor injury develops into a complication. An insurer can question the severity of your injury if you fail to get immediate medical attention. Workers should, therefore, seek prompt medical attention whenever they sustain a job-related injury.

Visiting a health provider has several benefits to your workers’ compensation claim. First, a doctor will perform a comprehensive health review, which can unveil a potential complication. In addition, the doctor will generate a health record vital for filing a claim.

Miss Medical Appointments

A doctor creates a treatment plan to improve your condition over several weeks or months. Injured victims who adhere to the treatment plan by attending medical appointments have a better chance of recovery. 

On the contrary, your workers’ compensation claim may be suspended or denied if you fail to adhere to a treatment plan. If something necessitates rescheduling a doctor’s visit, make up for the missed appointment as soon as possible.

Failure to Consult Preferred Doctor

Many people believe they must visit the doctor prescribed by an insurer. However, you can consult your primary healthcare provider and any other doctor they refer to you. You can also request a second opinion if you’re not satisfied with the report of an independent medical examiner.

A medical provider chosen by an insurer may display a conflict of interest. Since the insurer’s goal is to minimize the payout as much as possible, the recommended health provider may downplay your injuries.

Consult a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you’re getting quality treatment and assessment. A doctor who values your welfare will be willing to discuss the extent of your injuries and details of the accident at length.

Exaggerating an Injury or Leaving Out Details

You must explain the injury and the accident details to the doctor and the insurance provider. Giving a complete account of the accident and the injury improves the chances of obtaining a fair settlement for your injuries.

You should disclose essential dates, locations, pre-existing conditions or illnesses, and developing symptoms. Most importantly, you should provide an accurate and complete account of the injury.

Accurate or complete information may help you obtain a fair settlement value for your losses.

Not Hiring an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney

While many injured workers obtain compensation without a hurdle, working with an experienced attorney enhances the chances of a fair outcome. As such, consider hiring a workers’ compensation attorney familiar with the law and who has a proven track record of winning similar cases.

Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits and Getting Fired

Even if you get fired when you receive workers’ compensation, you can still receive the benefits until you reach MMI and are released by your physician. Until that time, you’ll either receive temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits.

Signs of Employer Retaliation

In Illinois, the state’s Workers’ Rights Act mandates that an employer provide a reason for an employee’s termination. If that reason is unclear after you’ve filed a claim, you need to speak to a workers’ compensation attorney.

Also, the following signs may be signals that you were illegally let go after you filed a claim.


If you’re fired soon after you file a workers’ comp claim, and you can establish a clear connection between the dismissal and the claim, you may have to retain legal counsel.

Negative Comments About the Claim

If an employer makes disparaging remarks about your workers’ comp claim, they may be retaliating or showing prejudice toward the action. For example, they might state that you faked the injury or that the claim is placing an unnecessary burden on their business.

A Positive Performance History and Solid Work Record

If you’ve received good performance reviews before you submitted the claim and you’re fired after filing for the insurance, your employer may be retaliating against you.

Speak to a Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

Don’t try to figure out the reasons for getting fired if you’re receiving workers’ comp. Speak to a workers’ comp attorney about your situation immediately. In Illinois, contact Malman Law and schedule a consultation right away.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by President and Founder, Steven J. Malman who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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