Employers do their best to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees, from implementing safety regulations and determining if employees should wear PPE to providing ergonomic equipment and wellness resources. An injured or ill employee affects the company’s bottom line; having healthy, happy employees is in the employer’s best interests. In Illinois, they are also required by law to carry worker’s compensation insurance in case someone is injured or becomes ill thanks to their job.
Worker’s compensation can cover a wide range of injuries and illnesses so long as you can prove they are related to your work. You need to become familiar with how to document and gather evidence and how to get help from a lawyer.
Understanding Worker’s Compensation
Did you know that worker’s compensation is an insurance program that protects both you and your employer? It covers your medical expenses and other costs, such as lost income. Additionally, it protects your employer from being sued due to your damages.
Worker’s compensation offers a tier of coverage, including:
● Medical expenses: Costs like doctor’s visits, medication, and physical therapy
● Lost income: Calculated from your wage at the time of injury or diagnosis
● Temporary disability benefits: When you cannot return to work for a longer period, such as six months
● Partial payments for total disability: In case you cannot work as a result of your injury or illness
● Vocational rehabilitation: In case you cannot return to your prior job
● Death Benefits: If you lost a loved one due to a work-related injury or illness
What To Do if You Are Injured or Become Ill From Your Job
For injuries, contact your direct supervisor first and then leave to seek medical attention; you will need to do the opposite for illnesses, as you need a diagnosis. You should also provide any evidence and documentation, such as photos of your injury and the accident scene and copies of your medical records.
While your employer’s insurance is reviewing your claim, you should seek the assistance of a worker’s compensation attorney.
Why You Should Seek Help from a Lawyer
Finding a reputable and experienced personal injury attorney is essential. Personal injury lawyers can assist with paperwork and deadlines. They can also represent you in benefit or settlement negotiations. If the insurance company offers an unfair settlement, an experienced attorney will recognize the tactic and protect you from signing.
A personal injury law firm with experience in Chicago worker’s compensation is well-versed in the claims process and can guide you through each step. They will ensure everything is filed correctly and help you attain maximum compensation. Most importantly, they’ll protect your rights through the entire process.
Undertaking the Worker’s Compensation Claims Process
We already discussed the first steps, filing a claim through your employer, seeking medical attention, contacting a lawyer, and gathering evidence.
Next comes the decision process. If your claim is initially denied, don’t panic— you can appeal. Let your lawyer contact the company for details, and then use the provided information to bolster your claim and try again.
If your claim is approved, you are eligible to receive benefits. Your lawyer will help you understand how to calculate lost wages and receive which level of benefits you are due.
If your employer’s insurance still attempts to withhold benefits despite a robust claim with lots of evidence, your lawyer will help you file a complaint with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The IWCC will review your claim and all evidence, and your case can be escalated from a single arbitrator all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court.
As the heart of the Midwest, Chicago is a city that values hard work and dedication. However, even the most diligent workers can find themselves in need of compensation after an injury on the job. Fortunately, Chicago has robust worker’s compensation laws in place to protect employees and ensure they receive the support they need to recover and return to work.
Whether you’re a construction worker, office employee, or any other type of worker in Chicago, you should know your rights and seek the compensation you deserve if you’re injured on the job. With the right legal representation and a deep understanding of the local laws, you can get back on your feet and continue contributing to the vibrant and bustling city of Chicago.