Injured on the Job in Illinois? Four Things You Should Do Immediately
Approximately 200,000 work-related accidents occur in Illinois each year. Of those accidents, fewer than 50,000 are reported to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits paid by employers, to employees who are injured while conducting work-related duties. There are certain requirements that must be fulfilled to qualify for workers’ compensation under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. If you have experienced a work-related injury, below are four things you should do right away.
1. Report Your Injury
Once an injury occurs at work, report the incident immediately to a supervisor. Illinois law requires an injured employee to notify the employer of the incident within 45 days of the injury in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Moreover, only employees are eligible to claim compensation benefits if injured on the job. If you are an independent contractor who is injured while working, you will not be eligible to file a claim. If you are unsure of your work status, contact a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney who can help to answer this question. Similarly, your injury must have happened within the scope of your regular employment, even if the incident occurred off-site. If the injury occurred while you were at work but you were engaged in an activity that was not related to your scope of employment, you may not be able to recover. A worker may be entitled to benefits, however, even if the accident was his or her fault.
2. Seek Medical Treatment
If you have been injured on the job, seek medical attention immediately. Your health and well being are critical and should take priority. A doctor with a good reputation will not only assist you in your journey to recovery but will also provide their expert opinion as to your injuries. This includes providing essential information during the claims process before the arbiter, such as an opinion on how and why you were injured, how severe your injury is, and the best course of treatment. Equally as important is your adherence to the doctor’s orders. Not only will your recovery be smoother and easier, but doing exactly what your medical professional instructs will diminish the likelihood of the insurance company denying your benefits because you exhibited behavior that contradicts your claim.
3. Keep Track of Everything
Many successful workers’ compensation claims are won on the details. Keep a copy of everything, including the written notice that was given to the employer when the incident occurred. As soon as the incident occurs, keep a thorough log of the particulars of the accident, including all medical visits and records, witness contact information, and any other information that may be useful evidence during the claims process.
4. Maintain Transparency
It’s important that your attorney is aware of all details – good and bad – regarding your possible workers’ compensation claim. The more information you provide up front, the better the advocacy will be. In an Illinois workers’ compensation case, an arbitrator – not a judge – will decide disputes, hold hearings and preside over the case. The Illinois Department of Employment Security sets the weekly benefit rates for those who qualify for compensation and the types of benefits include medical expenses, temporary total disability and permanent partial disability. More important, there are statutes of limitations that can bar your claim forever if missed.
You want an attorney who is well respected, knowledgeable and dutiful to your case. If you have been injured at work, contact an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney today who can discuss your case. The expert attorneys at Bizzieri Law Offices can inform you of your legal rights, including whether or not you are eligible for worker’s compensation, and will fight to get you the justice you deserve.