Injured workers in Illinois need to focus on getting the necessary medical treatment to get their lives back on track. Illinois has a no-fault workers’ compensation system that provides compensation coverage for workplace injuries, regardless of who is at fault.
If your employer denies your compensation claim, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer from Nessler & Associates can protect your legal rights during the compensation process. Our attorneys can offer legal guidance as you file your claim for benefits and help you understand Illinois’ workers’ compensation laws.
Common Accidents Leading to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workplace injuries aren’t limited to specific industries or jobs. Employees are at risk of injuries, from minor connective tissue strains to more serious chemical exposures or catastrophic bodily injuries.
Injuries can happen whether you work in an office, construction site, retail store, or manufacturing facility. In Illinois, some of the most common workplace injuries include:
Slip and fall injuries
A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere, from a slippery aisle to an icy parking lot. Slip and fall injuries may result in severe injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
Repetitive stress injuries
Employees often perform repetitive tasks every day, like working at a cash register or assembly line. An employee can suffer repetitive motion injuries over time and become seriously disabled.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most well-known type of repetitive stress injury. Other common repetitive stress injuries are trigger finger, bursitis, and tennis elbow.
Contact with equipment and objects
Employees risk injury by working near large equipment and heavy machinery. Crush injuries can result from becoming caught between items.
Motor vehicle accidents
All types of workers use vehicles in Illinois, including truck drivers, delivery drivers, bus drivers, and traveling salespeople. Motor vehicle accidents are among the most common workplace incidents. Transportation incidents accounted for 2,260 non-fatal workplace accidents in 2018 and 34% of fatal workplace accidents in 2019.
Occupational illnesses and injuries
Toxic substances and air pollutants may cause long-term illnesses like respiratory diseases and skin conditions. Other occupational hazards can include exposure to environmental heat while working in construction and repair. Noise exposure and improper safety equipment can result in hearing loss at work.
How Long Do I Have to Report a Work Injury?
An injured worker must notify their employer within 45 days of the workplace accident. When an employee realizes they have an occupational disease, they must notify the employer as soon as possible. Delays in reporting can cause delays in receiving compensation for your workplace injury.
After receiving the report, the workers’ comp representatives review the medical conditions to decide eligibility for temporary or permanent partial disability benefits.
In addition, the employee must seek medical attention as soon as possible. Under Illinois law, you may see a doctor of your choice, though your employer has the right to request an additional independent medical evaluation by their preferred physician. If your employer is part of a preferred provider program (PPP), you must select a doctor from that network.
Your lawyer at Nessler & Associates can help you navigate the medical evaluation and gather the documents required to submit to the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Overview
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) oversees workers’ compensation claims and follows the rules set up through the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. The IWCC estimates that the act covers 91% of employees in Illinois.
Most businesses in the state are required to buy workers’ compensation insurance. They also have the option of self-insuring, meaning companies are responsible for paying claims directly to injured employees.
Limited liability company members, sole proprietors, corporate officers, and company partners are exempt from obtaining workers’ compensation policies. State law permits these companies to buy workers’ comp insurance, but they are not legally required to purchase it. You can review if your employer has any exemptions from the law with your workers’ comp attorney that may affect your compensation.
What Kinds of Workers Compensation Benefits Can I Receive?
Workers who have been injured on the job in Illinois are entitled to receive these types of benefits from their employers.
Workplace injuries require employers to pay for reasonable medical treatment. These forms of treatment include first aid, hospital visits, medical devices, and prescriptions. The company may be obligated to cover home adaptation expenses, such as a wheelchair ramp if workplace injuries result in a disability.
Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits
If their employer cannot accommodate them, the employee may receive TTD benefits while on leave, recovering from a work-related injury, or performing light-duty work.
The benefits are based on two-thirds of their average weekly wage up to a certain maximum. Injured employees receive TTD payments from their employers until they return to work or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Temporary partial disability (TPD)
Employees who suffer injuries on or after June 28, 2011, may be eligible to receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits while working light duty at reduced pay.
The TPD benefits are calculated on two-thirds (66⅔%) of the difference between the average earnings of the employee’s previous jobs before their injuries and their current earnings from their light-duty job.
If the employee cannot return to their job, the employer must pay all maintenance expenses and incidentals necessary for the employee’s physical, mental, and vocational rehabilitation. Career counseling, job search management, and training at a recognized learning institution are all forms of vocational rehabilitation.
Permanent partial disability (PPD)
Permanent partial disability benefits are available to employees with permanent injuries or disfigurement who can work. The employee must achieve maximum medical improvement (MMI) to be eligible for PPD compensation.
PPD benefits are also available as a wage differential award if the employee’s new role pays less than their job before the injury.
Permanent total disability (PTD)
Employees with a permanent disability are eligible for permanent total disability benefits. They receive a weekly benefit equal to two-thirds (66⅔%) of their average weekly income for life, subject to minimum and maximum limits.
If an employee dies from their injuries, their surviving family members receive $8,000. Death benefits are primarily paid to spouses and children under 18. Parents may receive benefits if there are no primary beneficiaries.
If there are no fully dependent parents, payments may be made to people who were at least 50% dependent on the employee at the time of their death.
What Issues Could Arise in My Work Injury Claim?
When filing a claim for workers’ compensation, you might encounter issues with the workers’ compensation insurance provider in several ways.
- Employers and insurance companies may deny your claim outright to prevent you from getting all your benefits.
- The workers’ compensation insurance company may not offer you the maximum benefits you are entitled to, including your medical care.
- The insurer may attempt to argue that your injuries were not a result of the workplace accident but from pre-existing conditions as a reason to deny your comp claim.
- The insurance company may offer an initial settlement that does not cover all of your medical care and loss of wages from your injuries.
Working with an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure you get the maximum compensation for your injuries. Having a skilled attorney from Nessler & Associates working on your behalf is critical when the workers’ compensation insurance carrier is represented by attorneys and adjusters knowledgeable in talking with claimants.
Is it Worth it to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Working with a workers’ comp lawyer can be very valuable since they understand Illinois workers’ compensation laws and can negotiate with insurance companies. Our workers’ comp attorneys know how to give adequate notice and ensure that your medical condition is appropriately documented from the start.
Collect medical records
Your lawyer can collect medical opinions from your treating physicians and conduct an independent medical examination to prove your job-related injury.
Negotiate the settlement offer
Workers’ compensation attorneys can estimate your case value by considering the extent of your injuries and whether you suffered permanent injuries.
Represent you at your workers’ compensation hearing
Upon reaching MMI under Illinois law, your claim may go forward to a hearing. To prepare for trial, your lawyer can get medical records, depositions from your medical providers, and other documentation. Your workers’ comp attorney can also help you appeal the decision.
Consult with you regarding third-party claims
You may have a personal injury claim against a third-party whose negligence caused your job injuries. For instance, a defective product may have caused your injury, resulting in a possible product liability claim.
If there’s any disagreement about the cause of your injury, it’s worth it to hire a workers’ comp lawyer. They can also advise you if you may file a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ comp claim.
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Lawyers You Can Trust
The workers’ compensation attorneys at the law firm of Nessler & Associates can help you get the medical benefits and financial compensation you deserve in your claim. With our help, you can prepare your case, gather the necessary documentation, and negotiate with the insurance company. To schedule a free consultation, please call us at 800-727-8010.