If you’ve been injured at work and need to take time off to recover, you may be able to seek benefits from your employer. The compensation you receive would likely fall under workers’ compensation; however, the process can be complicated. If you need legal guidance, we suggest working with a Joliet workers’ compensation lawyer.
Even if your employer is legally obligated to provide you with injury benefits, it’s important to remember that they and their insurance provider are not on your side. As such, they may try to take steps to reduce the compensation you’re owed. In order to avoid that, it’s important to work with reliable legal representation. At Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP, we represent Illinois’ injured workers with the goal of helping them secure their professional and financial future. If you’ve been hurt at work, we’re prepared to do the same for you.
Common Work-Related Accidents
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employees in 2018. The majority of injuries resulted from slips, trips, and falls, and contract with objects and equipment.
In regard to the most dangerous occupations in related to injury cases, retail salesperson, first-line supervisors of retail sales, stock clerks, laborers and freight, stock and materials movers, and automotive service technicians and mechanics top the list. Of the workplace accidents in 2018, more than one-third required a visit to a medical facility. The median number of days away from work was eight days.
That same year, 5,520 workers died on the job. Nearly a quarter of those individuals worked in construction—where the deadliest accidents include falls, getting hit by an object, electrocutions, and getting caught in or in between equipment or machinery.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes guidelines and regulations for ways employers should keep employees safe, negligent employers often fail to abide by those laws. As a result, businesses and companies are frequently cited for violating OSHA’s standard—which include standards for fall protection, hazard communication, respiratory protection, ladders and scaffolding, machinery guarding, eye protection, and more.
If you’ve been injured while working, your first steps are to report the incident to your employer and seek medical attention. Once an official report has been made and you’ve sought treatment so you have an idea of what your recovery looks like, you can begin looking into workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Laws in Illinois
To understand your workers’ compensation rights, you first need to be aware of the state laws that apply to your claim. In Illinois, employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for nearly everyone they employ. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), approximately 91% of Illinois employees are covered under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
It’s important to note that there are some situations where an employee is not eligible for workers’ comp benefits, including:
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries suffered while committing a serious crime
- Injuries suffered while not on the job
- Injuries suffered while violating company policy
In most other situations, however, benefits should be available in the event of an injury. In addition to providing workers’ comp benefits, employers in Illinois are also required to post a notice explaining employee rights, maintain records of work-related injuries, report injuries involving more than three lost days of work to the IWCC, refrain from discriminating against an employee who is seeking workers’ comp, and refrain from charging employees for any part of the insurance premiums or benefits.
In the event you’re injured on the job, you have 45 days to report the accident; however, it’s best to promptly notify your employer via a supervisor or member of the management team. In the notice, you should include, in writing, the date and place of the accident, along with a brief description of what happened. It’s important to note that you may have additional time to file in the event you have a slow-developing illness or cumulative trauma.
When you seek legal guidance for a work injury, your Joliet attorney will explain the applicable state laws to you and how they could potentially affect your claim.
Maximizing Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Once you’ve notified your employer of your accident, you can file a claim with the IWCC. You will need to mail or give your employer an Application for Adjustment of Claim and provide the IWCC with proof that you provided your employer with the required information. For most injuries, you have three years after the accident to file for benefits, except in the event of asbestos-related injuries, pneumoconiosis, radiation exposure, or berylliosis. If you’ve developed an occupational disease, your attorney can explain how long you have to seek benefits, as every situation is different.
Once you file your application, your employer has to give you a list of approved medical providers and notify their insurer to begin the claims process. If you are unable to work for more than three days because of your injuries, your employer has to either accept your claim and start paying temporary disability benefits or send you an explanation of why your claim is being denied.
If your claim is approved, the benefits you receive could cover medical and rehabilitative expenses, temporary total disability benefits equal to two-thirds of your average gross weekly wage, temporary partial disability benefits, permanent total disability benefits, or job retraining.
In the event your claim is denied, you have the legal right to petition the claim for review with the Workers’ Compensation Commissions. The Commission will hold a hearing in order to make a determination for your claim. In the event this happens, you’ll want to have an attorney by your side so they can help facilitate a settlement or request a formal hearing. They’ll help you prepare evidence so you have a strong chance of winning when your claim is heard at trial.
Legal Assistance From Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP
Sustaining an injury at work can completely upend your life. Not only are you having to worry about medical expenses and healing, but bills can pile up quickly—especially when you’re unable to work. While you can file a workers’ compensation claim on your own, we recommend working with a Joliet workers’ compensation lawyer. This way, you’ll be sure to receive full and fair benefits for your injury and not make any missteps along the way.
Even with an established workers’ comp system, filing a claim can take time. When you work with Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP, we’ll guide you through the process and make sure to tackle any potential hiccups along the way.
The sooner you get in touch with an attorney after a work injury, the better. Then, your lawyer will have ample time to investigate your accident and examine your medical records and corresponding expenses to determine if you’re owed more than what you’re offered through workers’ compensation. If that’s the case, you may be eligible to file a work injury claim—especially in the event negligence from a third-party contributed to your accident.
To get started with your workers’ comp application and to learn more about your rights after a work injury, contact our law firm today. We’ll provide a free, no-obligation consultation to review your situation and help you determine the best way to secure your future.