In the State of Illinois, if you have suffered a work injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the law requires that you report your injury to your employer. Moreover, it is not only important to report your work injury, but to do so as soon as possible, ideally immediately after the accident: The longer you wait, the more ammunition it can give your employer or their insurance carrier to deny that your injury occurred while on the job or to dispute your claim. The following is a brief introduction to the workers’ compensation system in Illinois and the importance of reporting work injuries as soon as possible:
What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Before delving into the process of reporting a work injury, it is first important to have a general understanding of workers’ compensation and the benefits to which you may be entitled to if you get injured while on the job in Illinois.
Workers’ compensation is a system of benefits that is legally mandated for all injured workers in the State of Illinois, with a few exceptions. The workers’ compensation laws in Illinois require that employers pay certain benefits to their employees for injuries and illnesses they have sustained during the course and scope of their employment.
Generally, there are three main benefits that are potentially available for injured workers under the Illinois workers’ compensation system:
- Medical Benefits – Payment for reasonable and necessary medical treatment that relates to your work injury.
- TTD (Temporary Total Disability) Benefits – Weekly payments issued by your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier in the event that your doctor has stated that you are unable to work because of your injury. These benefits are typically equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wages.
- PPD (Permanent Partial Disability) Benefits – Compensation for the permanent nature of a work injury. These benefits are typically obtained once you have finished your treatment and have reached maximum medical improvement (which is another way of saying that you are as good as you are going to get from a medical standpoint). PPD benefits can be obtained as a lump sum payment through a settlement or weekly payments through an arbitration award.
One other important consideration to keep in mind is that workers’ compensation in Illinois is a NO FAULT system of benefits. So an injured worker does not need to prove that his or her employer, co-employee, or anyone else was at fault for the work injury. As long as the injury occurred in the course of employment, the employee should be covered.
45 Days to Report a Work Injury
While employees who get injured in the course and scope of their employment are typically entitled to the workers’ compensation benefits described above, the employee is required under Illinois law to report his or her work injury in a timely fashion. Therefore, it is essential that if you get injured on the job, you report your work injury to your employer as soon as is humanly possible.
In Illinois, you must notify a boss, a foreman, or some other person acting in a supervisory capacity within 45 days of your work injury. Failure to properly report your work injury within this 45-day window can result in your case being disputed and denied by your employer, and any benefits to which you would otherwise have been entitled could be lost forever.
However, just because you have 45 days to report your work injury does not mean that you should wait that long to do so. Ideally, you should report any accident that occurs at work the very same day that it happens. The longer you wait to report an accident or injury, the easier it will be for your employer to dispute or deny your claim.
Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have sustained a work injury or have questions about your rights under the workers’ compensation system in Illinois, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.