Have you suffered a work-related sickness or injury in Illinois? If so, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and lost income.
The majority of employers in Illinois are obliged to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Therefore, the vast majority of injured workers in Illinois can file a claim. The process is not simple, however, and you should start by seeking help from a workers’ comp attorney in Chicago.
Worker’s compensation in Illinois includes:
Take note that workers’ comp only covers injuries that are related to your job, such as repetitive use, a stroke or heart attack due to work, or similar job-related physical or psychological problems. The insurance also covers a pre-existing condition that worsened in the course of your employment.
You must have been working at something, onsite or off-site, directly related to your employment. For example, you are not compensated if you were injured during a company softball game or picnic.
Workers’ compensation benefits are tax-free, so you don’t have to pay taxes on the compensation you receive.
As of 2022, the maximum benefit per week for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability is $1,792.73 while the minimum benefit amount is $672.28. (The cap is revised every six months; a list of the maximums can be found on the website of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the state’s workers’ compensation regulations.)
A recipient of PTD or death benefits is entitled to receive a cost-of-living adjustment periodically. Death benefits are paid over a span of 25 years or are paid in a sum of $500,000, whichever is greater.
Total temporary disability (TTD) benefits are paid in minimums based on an employee’s average wage weekly or a scheduled rate, whichever of the two is lower.
When you are injured on the job, you must notify your employer promptly. You also need to receive medical treatment immediately so you have proof of your injury. Tell the medical provider that your injury is work-related, so they know who is responsible for paying for your medical care.
You’ll also need to provide your employer with information about your medical treatment and the address of the health care provider.
When reporting a work-related injury, you need to include the following details:
Although the notice may be given orally or in writing, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission prefers that you file it in writing. (Note – informing a non-management colleague does not constitute informing your employer.)
You must tell your employer of an injury within 45 days in order to protect your benefit rights. A delay of over 45 days may result in the loss of all workers’ compensation payments.
Only a few exceptions exist to this rule: If you have a slow-developing disease or injury, or a cumulative traumatic stress injury, you must report your condition to your employer as soon as you’re aware of the condition.
This form is unnecessary if your employer is paying for your medical care and temporary or permanent disability compensation, as promised. You must file a claim, however, if you need the State Commission to force your employer to pay you benefits.
Note – it is still a good idea to fill out the form and file it, especially if you run into a situation where you unexpectedly stop receiving your benefits. Alternatively, if you expect that your employer may need an incentive to pay you benefits in the future (such as compensation for back surgery), you should submit the documentation.
For the majority of injuries, the Application for Adjustment of Claim must be filed within three years from the date of the accident or the discovery of the disability.
You must submit the application to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) and your employer. Send the form by mail or deliver one copy of the filled-out application to your employer and three copies of the completed application to the IWCC’s address.
The IWCC is located at: 100 W. Randolph Street, #8-200 in Chicago, IL 60601.
Once you report a work-related injury to your employer, they must supply you with a list of approved medical providers and notify their insurer to begin the claims process.
If your injuries have prevented you from working for more than three days, your employer must either accept your claim or begin temporary disability benefits within 14 days.
Otherwise, they must offer you a written explanation of why your claim is being refused or delayed while an investigation is conducted (along with any information they may still require).
Within 30 days of being notified of your injuries, your employer must also submit a Form IC45 to the IWCC if your injury has limited your work time to three days.
Common reasons for denying a workers’ compensation claim include failing to notify your employer of an injury within 45 days or failing to prove that the injury or illness was caused by and occurred in the course of your employment.
You may petition the Workers’ Compensation Commission for a review if you notified your employer of your injury within 45 days, but your company denied your claim. The Commission will perform an investigation and decide on your allegation.
In contentious cases, the Workers’ Compensation Commission recommends that the majority of employers and employees get legal counsel. A lawyer can facilitate settlement negotiations and/or request a formal hearing. A lawyer can also assist in preparing evidence for a claim’s trial or deliberations.
Whether you need a lawyer to file a dispute or represent your claim to expedite filing, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation. In Illinois, contact Malman Law to learn more about your rights in Chicago when filing a workers’ compensation claim. Call (312) 629-0099 right away.