My name is Kirk Moyer and I’m an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who just opened a new office in Lake County, Illinois. I regularly meet with clients that have been injured at work. While every workers’ compensation case involves a different set of facts, the underlying process and laws are the same.
In this article, I explain what you can expect if you have been injured at work and I review the 5 types of workers’ compensation illinois requirements you need to follow.
What are the Illinois Workers Compensation Laws?
Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program. The program covers employees that are injured in the course of their employment. All 50 U.S. states have their own workers’ comp laws and regulations. In Illinois, workers’ comp law is governed by the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is responsible for overseeing workers comp cases in the state.
As a general matter, Illinois workers’ comp law covers all injures employees suffer while performing their job duties. As long as the employee is acting within the scope of his or her employment, he or she is entitled to workers’ comp benefits regardless of whose fault the accident was.
Illinois law sets forth the five types of workers compensation coverage that employers are required to carry. Illinois workers compensation coverage must include the following benefits:
- Reimbursement of medical expenses
- Temporary total disability benefits (TTD). These benefits are given to an employee where he or she is unable to return to work while recovering. TTD benefits are typically equal to 2/3 of the injured employee’s average weekly wage.
- Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD). TPD are given to injured employees where they are unable to work their normal job but are capable of serving in a light duty role. TPD benefits are equal to 2/3 of the difference between the average amount the injured employee was earning pre-injury and their current earnings.
- Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD). PPD benefits are given to an injured employee that has suffered some permanent impairment or disfigurement but is able to work in a reduced capacity.
- Permanent total disability benefits (PTD). PTD are paid to an employee that is rendered permanently unable to work.
How do I file a workers’ compensation case in Illinois?
Illinois workers’ comp law is highly complex. Not only is the law confusing, but there are many procedural requirements and pitfalls that can lead to the dismissal of your case. As an experienced workers’ comp lawyer Lake County Illinois, I have witnessed insurance companies taking advantage of individual litigants and inexperienced lawyers. I have many clients that come to me for assistance after they have run into some difficulty in their cases. For this reason, I do not recommend that you file your own workers’ comp case.
That being said, it is helpful to know, even before you have been injured, the general process for filing a workers’ comp case in Illinois. The following is a list of the basic steps of a workers’ comp case.
We mentioned above that you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits regardless of fault if you are injured at work. The most important thing, anytime you are injured, is to seek immediate medical assistance. Inform your supervisor and co-workers of your injury so they can call for help. If the symptoms arise after you have left work, seek treatment at an emergency room or physician as soon as possible. Retain all of your medical records to provide to your attorney.
Notifying your Employer
You should notify your supervisor that you have been injured as soon as possible. Under Illinois law you have 45 days following the injury to notify your employer. If you fail to notify your employer your workers’ comp claim may be denied. Your employer is required to give you instructions on how to properly notify them of your injury.
Filing your Application for Adjustment of Claim
You must file your Application for Adjustment of Claim within 3 years from the date of your injury. Note that there is an exception to this rule. If it has been more than 3 years since the date of the injury, you may still be able to file if it has been less than 2 years from the date that you last received benefits.
The Application is the official document that you file with the Workers’ Compensation Commission in order to begin your case. The Application includes important information about your case, such as:
- The location of the accident
- The date of the accident
- Information about your family
- Employer’s name
- A description of how the accident occurred
- A description of the part of the body that was injured
- A description of the nature of the injury
- The date that you returned to work
While some of this information may seem fairly straightforward, the Application is generally prepared by a workers’ compensation lawyer. Even though you may have been injured in and/or reside in Lake County, your Application is filed with the Commission’s main office in Chicago. There is no filing fee required. Learn more at the Illinois workers’ compensation commission website.
Assigned to an Illinois Workers Compensation Arbitrator
Once your case is filed it will be assigned to an arbitrator. The arbitrator is generally located in the area where your injury occurred. The arbitrator is responsible for reviewing your case and deciding issues where they are in dispute. The amount of time required to complete your case varies.
It is not uncommon for workers’ comp cases in Illinois to take in excess of a year to resolve. However, there are several things that can be done to process your case quicker. One method is to file a Petition for an Immediate Hearing along with your Application for Adjustment of Claim.
In order to do this, your attorney must prepare your entire case at the outset. Most workers’ comp lawyers in Illinois are unwilling to put in the extra work. We routinely file Petitions to expedite our clients’ cases. We attempt to settle every case for the maximum amount. Where the insurance company refuses to budge, we will take your case to trial.