- If you are injured on the job your legal rights are protected by the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. It is illegal to discriminate in any way against people bringing claims under this Act.
TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS 1.) You must report the accident or illness to the company (supervisor, company nurse, Workers' Compensation Coordinator, etc.) within 45 days. Just because you report an injury or illness does not mean you have to file a claim at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission immediately. In most cases, you have 3 years to file your claim. 2.) You should not agree to put your Workers' Compensation injury or illness on "group insurance benefits" by inventing a different history for your condition. Doing this may make it impossible to prove a work-related injury later, and deny you benefits you deserve.
3.) Insurance adjusters, Employees' Health Service people and rehabilitation experts work for the company, not you. In many cases their advice is aimed at saving money for the company and can hurt you.
4.) You can have a Workers' Compensation claim even though you did not have an obvious accident. Some illnesses, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, hearing loss, heart attacks, or strokes may be caused by physical or mental stresses without one identifiable accident. Other conditions such as asbestosis, lung disease, etc. may be covered by the Occupational Disease Act. All these conditions can be worth money to you.
5.) Certain job accidents may be the basis for a civil lawsuit as well as a Workers' Compensation claim, if injuries were caused by the negligence of a party who is not your co-employee. These include car accidents, machine-related injuries, chemical exposures, etc.
6.) A lump sum settlement ordinarily closes all benefits resulting from an accident or illness. An arbitration award at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission keeps open many potentially important benefits.
7.) Always consult with your lawyer before signing any forms. BENEFITS TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITYWeekly TTD benefits are 2/3rds of your average weekly wage calculated by your earnings the year before your accident date. Non-mandatory overtime is not included. TTD continues while you are unable to work and under a doctor's care.
MEDICAL TREATMENT Your employer must pay the cost (as determined by the Workers' Compensation Commission Medical Fee Schedule) of treatment by two doctors of your choice and any additional medical treatment these two doctors refer you to. Your employer also has to pay for emergency medical treatment. If you pick a third doctor, however, your employer does not have to pay for this treatment
Important Note: For injuries occuring on or after September 1, 2011, the law regarding medical treatment has changed. An employee still has the right to see one doctor of their choice and visit specialists referred by the primary doctor. However, the law allows businesses to set up a network of prescreened doctors employees can choose from. Employees have two choices of doctors within the employer's network. If an employee opts out of the network, they relinquish one doctor choice.
PERMANENT DISABILITYPermanent disability is determined by the extent of your recovery. Various options depend on the type of your injury or illness and your ability to return to work. These include:
1.) Permanent partial disability benefits compensate you for the effect of your injury after you return to work.
2.) Disfigurement payment depends on the severity of the permanent scarring on certain parts of your body.
3.) Wage differential can be paid if you suffer a permanent reduction in wages due to work-related injury or illness.
4.) Permanent total disability benefits are paid if you cannot return to work. Weekly benefits continue until you return to work or until your death.
5.) Death benefits result from a fatal injury on the job and are paid as weekly compensation to the spouse, children, and/or dependent heirs. This can be the greater of 25 years benefits or $500,000.00.
This is a brief outline of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. Please contact Wittenberg, Dougherty & Maglione, Ltd., if you have specific questions regarding this information. Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
The following information is provided by Wittenberg, Dougherty & Maglione, Ltd., as a very brief summary of how a Workers' Compensation Claim begins and is resolved in Illinois. The process can be very complicated and may require legal representation. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding this summary.
Application for Adjustment of Claim
The first step in a Workers' Compensation Claim is the filing of an Application for Adjustment of Claim at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (formerly known as the Illinois Industrial Commission). After this occurs, the Claim is assigned an Arbitrator and given an initial status date. The Claim will appear on the Arbitrator's status call every two months and will be automatically continued for three years unless it is motioned up for trial or other reasons.
Hearing before an Arbitrator
If the Claim is not settled it can be tried before an Arbitrator at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. The Arbitrator is the finder of fact and law and will issue a decision after all the testimony is heard and evidence is presented.
Review by Commission Panel
The Arbitrator's decision can be appealed and will be heard by a panel of three Commissioners at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. After hearing the parties oral arguments and reviewing the briefs, the Commissioners issue their decision.
Appeal to the Circuit Court
In certain cases, the decision of the Commissioners can be appealed to the Circuit Court. After reviewing the parties briefs and a hearing, the Circuit Court issues a decision.
Appeal to the Appellate Court
The Circuit Court decision can be appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court Industrial Commission Panel. After briefs are reviewed and oral arguments heard, the Panel will issue a decision.
Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court
In some instances, the Appellate Panel may find a case significant enough to be submitted to the Illinois Supreme Court for review. The Supreme Court issues its decision after briefs are reviewed and oral arguments heard. The decision is usually final and binding case law throughout Illinois.