Have You Been Injured on the Job?
Accidents and injuries happen everywhere, even on the job. This is especially true in certain manual labor positions, such as:
- Working in construction
- Jobs that require the use of heavy machinery
- Inventory stocking
- A driver delivering packages
- Working for a moving company
- Any job that requires heavy lifting
But the fact is, accidents can happen even in relatively tame work environments. For example, an office. Sitting at a computer all day can create injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or vision problems. Or there could be a slippery floor or a staircase that may result in a fall.
Work Comp FAQ
Here are the answers to several frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation in Illinois:
Why is There Work Comp?
Because work injuries are so common, most states have created employment laws that require participation in a workers’ compensation insurance system, paid for by employers, that compensates employees in the event that they get injured on the job.
The purpose of such workers compensation programs is to provide a sure means for workers to obtain a remedy for the financial impacts of work-related injuries. It is also meant to avoid the inconsistent applications, results, and costs that comes with attempting to compensate employees through personal injury lawsuits.
What Law Governs Workers’ Compensation in Illinois?
In Illinois, the first workers’ compensation law was enacted in 1912. The law which currently governs workers compensation is called the Workers’ Compensation Act. Claims are overseen by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Under the current law, employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance policies, or, if they meet certain requirements, they may self-insure. The premium rates are dependent upon the type of business and the number of employees. For example, businesses or jobs that carry a higher risk of injury will pay a higher premium.
If you sustain an injury or contract a disease that is related directly to your employment, you may make a claim for compensation against your employer’s workers’ compensation policy. Further, you can do this without having to prove or show that the accident was a result of negligence. Workers compensation applies even if you were the cause of the injury or partially at fault.
What Benefits Can I Receive Under Work Comp?
Depending upon the nature, endurance, and severity of your injury, Illinois workers’ compensation benefits can cover:
- Medical expenses
- Ongoing medical care
- Temporary disability benefits
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefits.
- And, if there is a fatality, the survivors of the employee may be able to receive death benefits
What Should I Do if I Am Injured at Work?
If you become injured in the course of your employment, you should always report the accident, injury, or condition as soon as possible to your employer. This is important even if an injury seems minor. This, because injuries that appear minor at first can become much more serious in the coming days or weeks.
For example, an injury that may seem like just a strained muscle can turn out to be a symptom of permanent nerve damage. Or a sore low back from lifting a heavy object could be a disc herniation that needs surgery.
Further, you should always have a job-related injury evaluated by a medical professional. This is the only way to find out the extent of your injury, and what can be done to recover. This is particularly important for stress or repetitive motion injuries. Here, making changes in the ergonomic environment may not only cure the injury, but help to prevent injuries to others. Further, to preserve the long-term ability of a worker to keep and carry on in his or her job.
Finally, waiting too long to report an injury on the job may foreclose your right to claim any workers’ compensation benefits.
When Should I Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago?
Short answer: you should consult with a Chicago work injury attorney ASAP.
The purpose of Workers’ Compensation Insurance is to avoid the difficulties of seeking a remedy through a lawsuit. However, it does not mean that filing a claim and obtaining benefits will be smooth sailing. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.
Workers’ compensation laws and insurance contracts can be confusing. And, obtaining the right level of benefits requires more than just filling out paperwork. It often requires the help of a lawyer to fight for your rights.
While the intent of workers’ compensation is to provide you with protection, insurance companies are experts at minimizing their exposure. Even when insurance companies seem to be responsive, problems can arise that lead to delays, limitations, or outright denials of claims. These problems can be devastating when medical bills are piling up or you are unable to return to your original job to earn an income.
When any of these problems arise, you need the advice and advocacy of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Chicago to make sure that your rights are protected. This is particularly true when the work comp insurance carrier is represented by seasoned adjusters and lawyers.
What Issues Could Arise in my Work Injury Claim?
Problems can arise in many ways. For example:
- Even if the workers’ compensation insurance company pays out some benefits to you, it may be paying out less than what you are entitled to.
- Or they may deny a benefit to which you lawfully should receive, such as disability pay.
- The insurance company may give you erroneous information about which doctors you may see to treat your injury.
- They may limit the type and number of medical treatments that you may receive. Or they may even claim that your injury is not due to your job and deny your claim completely.
An experienced Illinois workers compensation attorney can protect and enforce your rights. He or she will review your claim to make sure that you are getting full compensation for your injury.
What Are Possible Third-Party Claims?
Your attorney can also assess whether you may have legal claims in addition to those provided through workers’ compensation. For example, if you suffer an injury in a car accident while carrying out company business. Here, you may have two separate cases. You may have a workers’ compensation claim, and also against a third-party claim against a negligent driver.
And if disputes arise as to where, whether, or how you got your injury, or regarding the extent of your injury or extent of treatment necessary, leading to a hearing before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, having an attorney represent you will be indispensable. This is due to the complications of these laws and regulations, and the technical procedural rules that apply at such hearings.
Should You Contact a Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Consequently, if sustain an on-the-job injury in Chicago, contact the work injury attorneys at Abels & Annes. We are here to help you with your claim. We understand the causes and impacts of work accidents and injuries. Also, we know the laws and regulations related to workers’ compensation in Illinois.
If you suffer a serious work injury in Chicago or in any of the surrounding communities, contact Abels & Annes at (312) 924-7575, or simply use our online case evaluation form right here on this website. If you want to avoid problems from the outset, or if you run into any difficulties with a workers’ compensation claim, do not wait until your problems become unmanageable. You can talk to qualified and competent Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys today at Abels & Annes.
“This firm was great to work with. Very fast and understanding. Every time I called I was able to receive an update about my case and always had a polite conversation. I was able to get through my case with less stress then I anticipated. I will be sure to come back if I am ever in need of their services again.”
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