Table of Contents
- How Does Workers' Compensation Work In Illinois?
- Navigating The Claims Process
- Finding The Right Lawyer For The Appeals Process
- What To Do As An Employer When An Employee Is Injured
- What Injured Employees Should Do To Apply For Worker's Compensation
- What Are Some Common Workers Compensation Claim Injuries?
- Eye Injuries
- Cumulative or Continuous Trauma
- Sprains and Strains
Illinois has a highly diverse economy. It has major agricultural hubs and natural resources that are mined and exported across the world. At its center is Chicago, a global city influencing global finance, trade, and culture.
As a bustling state, it employs millions of individuals, and worker's compensation is a vital concern amongst its employees and laborers.
Here's everything you need to know about workers' compensation in Illinois.
How Does Workers' Compensation Work In Illinois?
Workers' compensation is a critical part of workplace safety. It provides financial benefits to workers who have been injured due to an accident or occupational hazard while on the job. This helps workers make ends meet as they recover from their injuries.
It also serves as an important preventative measure. By making employers accountable for their workers' health, companies are incentivized to create safe working environments where accidents are less likely to occur.
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (IWCC) evaluates workers' compensation cases and reserves the right to review those cases on appeal.
The commission also resolves disputes between workers and employers related to workers' compensation benefits, such as disagreements over how much money should be paid out. By providing workers with protection against workplace injuries, workers' compensation enables workers everywhere to feel safer in their daily employment and more secure in their future.
To successfully make it through the workers' compensation claims process with IWCC, workers need to file the proper forms, including a proof of claim form that must be filed promptly within a year from the date of injury.
Furthermore, good record-keeping practices will help alleviate stress during this process as additional paperwork might be requested that can include medical records or documents regarding lost wages.
Navigating workers’ compensation claims can sometimes feel overwhelming, but preparing organized documentation beforehand will make for smoother sailing as you go along in your filing journey.
Finding The Right Lawyer For The Appeals Process
Choosing the right legal counsel when filing for workers' compensation is vital to a successful claims process. Your lawyer can provide beneficial insight into how an arbitrator typically views workers' compensation cases and will assess the validity of your claim before moving forward.
It's important to ask your lawyer questions about what next steps should be taken towards getting ahead of your workers' compensation appeal – for example, ensuring you meet all of the deadlines outlined in the information packet you receive.
An attentive lawyer that can help guide you through the complexities and paperwork of filing a workers' compensation appeal can make an invaluable difference during this time.
What To Do As An Employer When An Employee Is Injured
Employers must provide coverage - typically through an insurance company or a workers' comp fund - to employees suffering an injury or occupational illness due to their work.
Furthermore, Illinois state law requires employers to post workers’ compensation notices in certain workplace areas with information on how to file a claim and details of workers' compensation benefits. It’s also required that employers report to the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission any work-related injuries they become aware of within a reasonable timeline.
If an employee has died due to a workforce-related incident, the employer must report this within 48 hours. Knowing and following these laws can help keep everyone safe and protected.
What Injured Employees Should Do To Apply For Worker's Compensation
To apply for workers' compensation, you must notify your employer as soon as you are injured. However, the notification must be written and received within 45 days of the date of injury, or it may affect your workers' compensation benefits.
In addition, workers should properly document their injuries and report them to their doctor or specialist to ensure they are included in any applicable workers’ compensation claims. Workers should keep track of all the medical bills associated with their claims, as this documentation will help them qualify for workers' compensation benefits.
If an employee's claim isn't correctly filed, they might not qualify for workers' compensation due to technicalities.
What Are Some Common Workers Compensation Claim Injuries?
Workers' compensation is an important safeguard for workers when they are on the job. Unfortunately, injuries happen at the workplace, no matter how hard employers work to prevent them.
Workplace injuries are fairly common and have resulted in over 4,000 avoidable deaths in 2020. Fortunately, workers' compensation helps cover workers for some of the more common types of injuries that can occur.
- Lacerations are cuts or skin wounds often caused by sharp objects like machinery and tools. They account for over 30% of workplace injuries but can be easily prevented with the right safety measures and training.
- Contusions happen from blunt-force trauma, such as falling objects that result in a bruise. It can be as light as only a skin bruise or as serious as a bruise affecting the muscles and bones.
- Eye injuries result from foreign objects or dust particles in the air. This can be easily prevented by wearing the right safety gear, especially workplace goggles or face shields.
Cumulative or Continuous Trauma
- Cumulative or Continous Trauma Syndrome (CTS) is caused by repetitive motions over a period of time, which puts workers at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries resulting from continuous wear and tear of muscles.
- Fractures commonly happen to workers who do physically demanding jobs or those working in construction. When not properly attended to, these can lead to permanent disabilities.
- Burn injuries can occur in different settings due to chemical spills, mishandled equipment, and improper use of tools. Creating a safe workplace is crucial to preventing these avoidable accidents.
Sprains and Strains
- Sprains and strains are usually the results of overexertion or awkward postures, which often affect workers in healthcare and manufacturing. Observing proper form and taking breaks in between shifts can avoid these injuries.
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission (IWCC) plays a vital role in helping workers in the state of Illinois access workers' compensation laws and protect their rights in case of injuries and work-related disabilities.
Employers, and employees, must remain vigilant in the observance of these laws to keep a vibrant economy running.
Do you want to learn more about your employee rights? Read our comprehensive Guide to Workers' Compensation Benefits.